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'In Plain Sight' - 'When Mary Met Marshall' Recap

by Allison Waldman, posted Apr 8th 2010 12:32AM
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(S03E02)
In its third season, 'In Plain Sight' has become one of the best dramas on cable. In a pool that includes 'Mad Men,' 'Burn Notice,' 'Breaking Bad' and 'Justified,' to name a few, that's some damn good company.

Granted, 'In Plain Sight' isn't as lofty as some of those others, but the characters are sharp, the writing is excellent for this genre, and it's a show that you can look forward to watching each week. Try saying that about some network dramas. More on tonight's episode and remembering when Hello, Kitty rings were cute, after the jump.

The calling card for "When Mary Met Marshall" was supposed to be when Mary met Marshall. However, the producers upped the ante on 'In Plain Sight' when Allison Janney was cast in a major guest spot. Even though she didn't appear till the second half of the show, she was just like Allison Janney -- superb.

But before we get to her, the set up of the show was how Mary landed in the Witness Protection Program. Believe it or not, Mary was once even harder and more ornery than she is now. She brushed her teeth outside her car and spit out the paste with bottled water. Back in 2003, her view of WitSec was that it was WimpSec. Marshall, of course, was more sensitive, much like he still is.

Their charges were a young couple, Henry and Claudia, who rushed into the program and were compelled to get married. Actually, it was Mary's advice that urged Henry on, only Mary assumed Henry would break up with Claudia. Seven years later, they were at each other's throat. Mary predicted it and reminded Marshall over and over again. She was anxious to sing the 'I told you so' song which, apparently, they pull out when one is right and the other's wrong. Marshall got his chance by the end of the show.

We get some real insight into Mary's contrary personality. She hates helping the needy, but that's not only her personal life situation with Brandi and Jinx, but also her professional life as a U.S. Marshal. That was increased exponentially when she became a WitSec officer. Marshall pegged her from the get-go. To his credit, he urged Stan to get her transferred to their office by the time they closed the case in 2003.

Brandi is back to lying like crazy. Even if she turns out to be doing something good, or at least good from Brandi's point of view, the mendacity is out of control. Peter should run in the opposite direction no matter how great the sex is. She asked for $20,000 for community college tuition.

Now about Allison Janney. She made an instant, strong impression as Allison Pearson, and not just because she towered over Paul Ben-Victor. Wasn't it great how she dropped the reference to a meeting with POTUS? That's 'West Wing' speak for President of the United States, and a reminder that Allison and Mary were co-stars on that Emmy-winning drama. You know, back when NBC had some of the best dramas on TV.

Allison, the character, was there to kick the office into shape. When the case heated up and Mary felt Pearson was in the way, she acted like Mary and shoved her aside metaphorically. Once the dust settled and the case was successfully closed, it was Pearson's turn to call out Mary for being rude and disrespectful, but like most people, she recognized that Mary's good at her job. Too bad for Mary, Allison is sticking around (as her schedule allows). That latter bit is good for us fans, too, because Janney might be back for more than just next week's show.

Other points of interest

-- They did a very good job of jumping between the past and the present. Mary's bangs in 2003 were a perfect tip-off; good job by the hair and makeup personnel.

-- Marshall's name is a family tradition; five generations of Marshall Mann's. Mary mocked it, of course, and assumed he was gay. He probably thought the same of her, because she was mega-butch in 2003, even more than now.

-- Dialogue we like:
Marshall: "Thank you, Mary Sunshine, but it's their decision."
Mary: "They might as well hold hands and go to Lilith Fair."

Mary to Henry, after he set up a fake break-in to get intimate with Claudia: "You were a nice guy once, but now you officially suck."

[Watch 'In Plain Sight' on SlashControl.]

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Pat

I'm going to miss Christian de la Fuentes ' Raph, even though I agree his character deserves better than the treatment he got from Mary.

April 23 2010 at 5:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kallie\'s mom

I love the show, but this article is poorly written. And Marshall's name isn't a tradition, the job is. It's not five generations of Marshall Mann, it's five generations of US Marshal Mann. Mary asked if he chose the job because of his name and he said "No, it's a family tradition". Although I'm convinced tradition isn't a good reason for choosing a job, either. I loved Mary's comment about her family business being alcoholism and bank robbery.

April 08 2010 at 9:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
J-Sim

Couldn't stand Allison Janney here. Looks like she's fallen far enough and USA is counting on her past star power. Definitely preferred the interaction last year with the secretary.

April 08 2010 at 4:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Becky

This is absolutely one of my favorite shows.
My husband & I have a standing date to watch it together.

I find it so odd that USA is owned by NBC/Universal yet the difference in the programing is like night and day.

April 08 2010 at 2:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
LW

Is the actress portraying Brandi, Nicole Hiltz, pregnant and taking some time away from the show? This was explain Brandi's sudden trip back east. The shot framing and blockng had her behind another actor, computer or mixing bowl.

April 08 2010 at 8:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
marali

There are any number of "buddy"or "partner" shows out there but this one stands out HANDS DOWN. Love the quotes mentioned and could throw in a dozen more. Marshall's understanding of Mary transcends what could become a trivial relationship.

USA is churning out some great shows. I could take or leave many of them but PUHLEEEEASE keep this show going.

I love Psych, Burn Notice, Royal Pains and Criminal Intent but "In Plain Sight" is a cut above the rest.

As a fan of 'Lost', I have to disagree that the time disparity was handled well or with some finess. It wasn't but who cares? The show is that good...

April 08 2010 at 7:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Alana

As an avid fan of true HD, I must say, this show looks absolutely spectacular now that it's using true HD equipment.

Also, as an avid fan of this show, I have to say I agree that in its third season it's managing its best work. I truly look forward to watching Mary and Marshall do their thing. The dialogue is such that while watching this episode I said to the television, "I love this show."

Great episode. Wonderful to see how Mary got into WitSec. I never would have guessed in a million years that Marshall was in before Mary, but it makes total sense. My favorite line was Mary telling Stan, since his meeting was a day later than he thought, he would have time to buy the monocle and top hat to go with his suit. Classic.

April 08 2010 at 7:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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