In Plain Sight

Film
Recommended
5 out of 5 stars
MERIT BADGE McCormack showsoff her credentials.
Photograph: Michael Muller/USA Network MERIT BADGE McCormack showsoff her credentials.

Time Out says

5 out of 5 stars

On the broadcast networks, June may be a wasteland strewn with the returns of The Mole, Nashville Star and Moment of Truth, but on cable it marks the arrival of a second season that TV junkies have come to count on for at least one kick-ass new series a year. In Plain Sight may not have the depth of Mad Men or The Wire—summer arrivals both—but it sure beats the pants off Army Wives and The Closer.

Mary McCormack (Private Parts), who has needed a showcase part for a while now (she was a little too late to the party on The West Wing), is ideally cast as Mary Shannon, a U.S. Marshal charged with introducing protected witnesses to their new lives in Albuquerque and…well, what more do you need? When a series comes out of the gate with so much confidence, such a strong ear for dialogue (Elmore Leonard is an obvious and huge influence) and such a good sense of how to deploy guest stars (The Wire’s Wendell Pierce is put to excellent use in the third episode), little else is required. But we get more anyway, via a killer supporting cast that includes Frederick Weller as Mary’s partner, Cristián de la Fuente as her boyfriend, and Lesley Ann Warren and Nichole Hiltz, respectively, as her spacey mom and sister. This is, without apology, a traditional case-of-the-week show, but one that seems unlikely to grow repetitive anytime soon—the writers obviously have vivid imaginations and a long list of reasons why the Feds would want to protect a given witness. McCormack’s tough-gal shtick is awfully addictive, and seeing it applied to material this sharp is a treat and then some.

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