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Resisting the urge to hit the sheets

May 24, 2012

In Plain Sight’s Marshall and Mary…who’ve never seen each other naked.

As I write this, In Plain Sight, one of two televisions shows I regularly watch broadcast its finale last night. For as long as men and woman have been together in stories and formed bonds, there’s been a strong will they or won’t they vibe with any couple that features strong chemistry.

In Plain Sight was fun because of the premise of the show–because of the characters. Mary Shannon can never tell anyone who she really is or what she really does because she hides witnesses for a living. And because she’s been personally burnt by both her parents (Mom was an alcoholic and Dad ran off two days before her seventh birthday), the job gives her an excuse to build a wall around herself so no one can hurt her again.

Mostly, the show was fun because Mary McCormack (Mary Shannon) and Frederick Weller (her partner, Marshall Mann) worked well together. In the show, they were each others’ best friends–something that was called out a number of times. (In real life, McCormack is the godparent of Weller’s daughter–born before the show started, so that helps, too.)

From the beginning, fans of the show have wanted Marshall and Mary to wind up together. It never happened, and that’s the right thing.

Instead, Marshall, who was about to get married to someone else, said to Mary that if she called, he would come. Every time. So he needed her not to call. He needed her to stand on her own so he could be happy with his new bride-to-be. He asked her to release him. And Mary, who figured Marshall deserved to be happy, said she would. She said that she wanted his happiness more than anything, effectively agreeing to that release.

The writers could have taken the easy way out. Marshall could have walked away from his fiance, a perky cop named Abigail, confessed his true love for Mary, and the viewers would have had a prefabricated happily-ever-after ending as sickening sweet and phony as a one-pound slab of maple sugar candy at a Stepford Wives reunion.

Instead, they did what the show–which is anything but sickeningly sweet and phony–and the characters demanded. They stayed friends and stayed out of bed.

Any time there’s chemistry between two characters of the opposite sex, there’s a strong temptation to put them together. Sometimes it’s the right thing to do. But sometimes it’s just the easy thing to do.

In Plain Sight got it right. How about you?

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One Comment
  1. May 27, 2012 5:36 am

    I liked the show, but not always Mary. She was very hard and in many ways selfish (and sometime in the name of “doing” for others), especially about Marshall, in my opinion. It would have been good to see him fall out of love with her and it bite her a bit. I didn’t see the last season so don’t know how it went yet. Luckily, I still have time!

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