Change never goes well with fans of a show, and that was the case with season three of In Plain Sight. Between seasons two and three, there were some major behind the scenes changes, including the creator of the show leaving. That was reflected in what we saw on the screen. Some fans hated the changes, but I actually liked them.
For those unfamiliar with the show, it centers around Mary Shannon (Mary McCormack), a marshal in WITSEC, the witness protection program. Along with her partner, Marshall Mann (Frederick Weller), they protect witnesses who have been relocated to Albuquerque under the eye of their boss Stan McQueen (Paul Ben-Victor). In this season, they deal with an informant reluctant to enter the program, a thief trying to go straight, a witness who has just awaken from a three year coma, and a bomb making witness.
Meanwhile, Mary's family life is finally going well. Mother Jinx (Lesley Ann Warren) has sobered up and gotten a job. Sister Brandi (Nichole Hiltz) is doing well in college and has a steady boyfriend (Joshua Malina). That's not to say that her private life isn't without drama. Her love life is still in turmoil and there's her half-brother Scott (Aaron Ashmore) who Brandi has managed to track down. What does he want?
While I have enjoyed the previous seasons, I was very tired of the family drama. Jinx and Brandi were self-destructive, and Mary enabling them grated on my nerves. I liked the fact that this aspect of things was fairly stable for a change. For some fans, this was the biggest point of contention for the season.
On the other hand, they wrote Eleanor Prince (Holly Maples) out of the show. She'd been brought in during season two as a foil for Mary in the office, someone who wasn't cowed by her like the men are. I loved their dynamic and really missed it, but it makes sense Holly would leave the show since she is the wife of the series creator.
While these changed generally led to a lighter season than the first two, this is still the most serious show I watch on the USA Network. (I watch all but their Law and Order spin off.) Yes, we've got Mary's wise cracks and tough talking attitude for laughs, but the situations that the witnesses find themselves in are often serious. I mean, this is a show about people uprooting themselves because of crime. That's a serious subject. And watching Mary helping those who need it yet being tough when they need it too is one of my favorite dichotomies of the show.
What really makes this show work is the acting. Mary McCormack is able to balance the two sides to Mary's character perfectly. One minute, she's snarky and the next she's compassionate, and I buy every second of it. Frederick Weller is really given a chance to shine this season as well, and his character of Marshall seems more real as a result. The rest of the cast does fine as well, and the guest stars always work well with the series regulars.
There were only 13 episodes in season three, but all of them are here in full screen and surround sound on 3 discs. In the way of extras, we get two commentaries by Mary McCormack and Frederick Weller plus deleted scenes and cast interviews.
For me, season three of In Plain Sight found the perfect blend of some comedy with the more serious drama the show has always had. I'm hoping this continues in season four.