Danger Gal Friday: Mary Shannon, In Plain Sight

This week’s Danger Gal Friday post is on U.S Marshall Mary Shannon from USA Network’s summer cop show In Plain Sight. If you haven’t seen the show, check out the promo trailer on Hulu.

Mary ShannonMary’s tough, tough on just about everyone, but she keeps her witnesses safe. She’s a hard person to get close to, as her minor league baseball player boyfriend could attest, but that’s due in part to always having had to take care of her family despite them always letting her down. Just like with her witnesses, Mary is the dependable, stable person in their lives. She’s the one who gets them out of trouble when they mess up.

In the New York Post Mary McCormack, who portrays Shannon’s Witness Security (WITSEC) Marshall, says “[S]he isn’t very comfortable with anything mushy like feelings. . . it’s like sitting on your wallet – it doesn’t hurt, but it’s not comfortable.”

This series has found a way to combine the tough-as-nails lady cop stereotype with a more nurturing aspect, which is why Shannon makes it onto the Danger Gal list. The glib humor of the show pulls it away from taking itself too seriously, and I hope the show continues to mature. The early episodes were cleaner than most shows’ first seasons, so I expect the writing to continue improving. For a bit of trivia, Wikipedia notes the following about the show:

On June 15, 2008, Mary McCormack made a guest appearance in the episode “Contract” of Law & Order: Criminal Intent as Mary Shannon. At the time of the original airing, In Plain Sight followed Criminal Intent on the USA Network; Det. Mike Logan (Chris Noth) makes a remark about what there is to do in Albuquerque at 10:00 on a Sunday night, referencing In Plain Sight’s timeslot.

I appreciate that Shannon isn’t some reed thin waif with no muscle tone playing a role where we’re supposed to believe she can take care of herself in a rough situation. I like that McCormack is over 35 and not playing the role of woman obsessed with procreation and finding a mate. She doesn’t seem like the settling down type, and Shannon is OK with that. The men in Shannon’s life respect her, even if they don’t always understand her, as an article in TV Guide points out:

Adding more complications are the men in her life: sometime boyfriend Raphael (Cristian de la Fuente); her partner, Marshall Mann (Frederick Weller); and her fawning boss, Stan (Paul Ben-Victor). They all crush on her and she bullies them mercilessly “just as she does in real life.”

“Fred would say that our relationship is the same off screen,” McCormack jokes. “He carries a mirror in his pocket to check his hair, so I give him the hardest time. He’s kind of the girl and I’m kind of the boy…”

So what is it about the Marys “McCormack and Shannon” that captivates the people around them? Maples thinks he knows: “She has this physical presence that makes you believe she can kick someone’s ass.”

At an athletic 5-foot-8, McCormack cuts an imposing figure. “Even at my skinniest, my hips and shoulders are wide and my can is what it is,” she says with a laugh. Her physicality has occasionally worked against her in Hollywood, however. “I’ve certainly lost tons of roles because I’m not the right size,” she says.

Plus, Marshall (who is also a Marshall) is dang cool too. He’s the only person who really gets Shannon.