In praise of In Plain Sight
by Allison Waldman, posted May 24th 2009 1:31PM
In Plain Sight has become one of my favorite TV shows. I didn't think that way last year, its rookie season, when the show lurched a bit to try and find balance between Mary's professional life as a U.S. Marshal in the Witness Protection Program and her dysfunctional personal life with an alcoholic mother, a troubled younger sister with a drug-dealing boyfriend, and an on-again/off-again relationship with a hot Latin minor league baseball player.
When it went well, it was very satisfying, but the show seemed to be struggling to find its tone. Well, this season is a whole new thing. Perhaps there were changes behind the scenes, perhaps the first year was about shaking out all those story strands and building a stronger foundation, perhaps it was simply the actors getting more comfortable in their roles. Whatever the case, In Plain Sight is now hitting on all cylinders.
The appearance of two former West Wing stars -- the same show in which Mary McCormack made her mark -- has added to the show. Joshua Malina is a semi-regular now, a potential new love interest for Brandi named Peter Alpert, someone she met at an A.A. meeting she was attending for Jinx. It's a character completely different from his roles on The West Wing or Sports Night, and Malina's a major plus to this show.
In a guest role last week as a tenacious New York rabbi with a penchant for detective work, Richard Schiff was superb. He was in New Mexico, horning in on Mary's protecting an Orthodox Jewish man who'd gotten involved with the Albanian mob. Despite the best efforts of Marshall and Mary to keep Avi Rosenzweig hidden, Schiff's character found him with a specific goal in mind -- to get him to divorce his abandoned wife so she could move on with her life. He was there to get a "get" -- the Hebrew term for the divorce. It was a very unusual story, one I've never seen on a detective/procedural, and it was fascinating because it was really about the characters, not the case.
There was also great dialogue. The back and forth between the rabbi and Mary crackled (was Aaron Sorkin doing some script doctoring?). Mary couldn't help but admire the dogged, determined New Yorker. At the end of the show, there was even a hint that he might return to help Mary find her long missing father. I sure hope so.
If you haven't been watching In Plain Sight, or you have and didn't think it was worth sticking with it, here's my recommendation. Try it again. It's getting better and better.