Monday, March 22, 2010

45 Minutes Week 12 - In Plain Sight

There is only one reason I decided to give this show a chance, and it's thanks to Aaron Sorkin.  Mr. Sorkin is that rare breed of television writer who has the ability to not just write the best dialogue ever spoken, but to create and maintain characters you give a damn about.  Anyone can create an engaging lead to revolve a show around, but in Sorkins hands even smaller roles become living, breathing people.

Having just finished a marathon session of The West Wing, I was left playing a giant game of "where did they go next?"  A person such as Rob Lowe gets tons of publicity when departing early (By the way, good choic Rob!), but many of the character actors such as Joshua Malina, Dule Hill, Richard Schiff, and Mary McCormack just go back to work, quietly.

Have I ever said how much I love Imdb?  What did people do before this came along?

Well, Dule Hill found his way onto a well deserving lead role on the show Pscyh.  I've caught a few episodes and they have always been pleasant.  Not great, but good.  I've spoken of this before but the USA network is doing a damn fine job of creating new shows worth watching.

One show in particular, and the subject of today's 45 minutes, is In Plain Sight.  It stars Mary McCormack, (you guessed it, from The West Wing) as Mary Shannon, a US Marshall  who's job it is to relocate people in the Federal Witness Protection Plan.

From the show's intro:
Since 1970, the Federal Witness Protection Program has relocated thousands of witnesses, some criminal, some not, to neighborhoods all across the country. Every one of those individuals shares a unique attribute, distinguishing them from the rest of the general population. And that is, somebody wants them dead.

I have only watched the pilot episode, but it was rock solid television.  The cast were introduced well, and the acting is strong.  Fred Weller is excellent as her partner Marshall Mann.  Yes, he's a male US Marshall with the name Marshall Mann.  I get a kick out of that, move on.  Her sister is played by Nichole Hiltz, and she's very believable as an undereducated , drug addled, young woman who is trying to get through life on her looks alone.  It's would be easy to hate her from the start, but Mary is so protective of her, I realize there must be a reason.

But the highlight of the family is Lesley Ann Warren as Mary's mother Jinx.  She steals every scene she's in.

Notice I haven't talked about the Witness Protecting yet? 

I get most of my witness protection knowledge from gangster movies, where its usually just hinted at as a way to get criminals to talk.  The only piece of entertainment I've ever watched where WP was dealt with as a reality was My Blue Heaven, that 80's movie with Rick Moranis and Steve Martin.  Something tells me that wasn't an entirely accurate representation.

This show feels real.  And the detail that nailed it down for me was the young Russian woman who Mary is dealing with at the beginning of the episode.  Mary has just shown this poor woman, who was only a receptionist, not a criminal, the beat down room that she's going to call home.  Mary is on her way to go get her some groceries when the young woman reminds her that the US Government still owes her a new pair of breasts for her co-operation.

I firmly believe our government would offer boobs for testimony.

That is why I will watch the first season.

*I'm also lead to believe that other West Wing Alumni I mentioned way back at the beginning will be making appearances on this program.  Double bonus.

For a great trailer, one that really nails the humor of the show, click here. I would have loved to embed it, but apparently whoever TXCANY is, he doesn't believe in embedding code.

The new season of In Plain Sight premiers on the USA Network Wednesday, March 31st at 10pm.

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