It’s been two years since I last checked in with Mary Shannon (Mary McCormack) and the In Plain Sight crew, but three since I was really watching the show. Nevertheless, with the series ending I felt some obligation to check back in one last time to pay my respects. Granted, I only felt able to do that if it were with an ulterior motive — like as a topic for my column — but nevertheless I did come back one more time. The impossible is possible after all.
On a side note, I have to give An her due for an awesome job reviewing the show these last two seasons. The cases were always interesting, but Mary is one tough nut to crack, and I’m impressed by how An managed to really explore her character as it developed … or didn’t. Great job.
That’s kind of where we intersect with my thoughts on the series finale: Mary’s character. I was not surprised — if a little disappointed — to discover that Mary has continued to be the same non-functioning human being that she’s been since the beginning of the second season. The worst is how horrible she is to Marshall (Frederick Weller); it’s like how abusive Mitchell is to Cam on Modern Family, except that Mary and Marshall aren’t a couple (which is better). It took Marshall practically hitting Mary over the head with a hammer before she was able to stop being obsessed with herself and listen to what he’d been trying to say for so long. And talk about how blind she had to be not to see it. Come on, Inspector!
I don’t know if they’ve been gone all this time, but I should have expected that Brandi (Nichole Hiltz) and Jinx (Lesley Ann Warren) would be back for the end. Too bad the same couldn’t be said for great cast members Rafe (Cristián de la Fuente), Pete (Joshua Malina), and Dershowitz (Todd Williams). But at least the great Stan McQueen (Paul Ben-Victor) was present; congrats on the awesome promotion!
The bells and whistles changed in two years: Mary’s a mom, although she’s not with her child’s father; Brandi’s pregnant (and no longer with Pete); Mary’s deadbeat criminal father came back … and got killed; Marshall’s engaged (good for him). But that’s just the scenery, the backdrop. Mary’s still self-centered, heartless, and she continues to treat everyone around her like garbage. I did not miss that.
As for the case-of-the-week, it actually wasn’t a question of good or bad (it tended toward the latter) so much as that of surprise. That was the final case of the series? Maybe there were parallels to be drawn between Casey’s (Anna Osceola) story and Mary’s … I don’t know, I wasn’t looking for hidden meaning. But talk about a weak case! Where was the danger, the people coming after the witness? Where was the intrigue, the mystery, the investigating bad guys or going that extra mile to keep the witness from doing something that could break their cover and/or put their life in danger? Even Mary’s emotional connection with the witness, something she excelled at in season one, was paper thin. Weird way to close out a series.
But close out it did. So long, In Plain Sight … once upon a time we knew you well.
Thanks, Aryeh. While we both agree that the finale sucked, I disagree about Mary. When is she ever selfish? Rude, yes. More accurately, she’s direct. Selfish, no. Especially considering she continuously gives her house to her family and her self to her witnesses. Yes, she takes from Marshall without reciprocating, but he understands that he’s the only one who gives her emotional support. And she actually needs someone in her life who gives without taking (or expecting anything in return).
The scene where Mary overtalked Marshall was poorly written and not in character of the Mary for the past three seasons. Like I said in my review, everything in this episode went back to the pilot and not in a good sense.
Mary McCormack co-wrote this with John Cockrell and William Fredrick. I’ve noticed that some actors can do an excellent job portraying their characters, but when it comes to writing them or overtly improvising too many lines they reduce the character to the basic traits and lose subtle nuances. I wonder if that’s what happened here.