In Plain Sight: Daddy Issues Galore

Tonight’s stellar antepenultimate episode of In Plain Sight, “The Medal of Mary,” features our first real look at guest star Stephen Lang as Mary’s long-lost father, James Wiley Shannon, but also the return of Marshall’s father Seth. Everyone’s got daddy issues, and while the action revolves around Mary’s father and his secrets, Marshall’s father has some important moments and does some truth-telling of his own. This is one of the show’s best episodes ever, because it combines great character development and backstory illumination in both the main plot and subplots with really clever storytelling and suspense in the witness plot. And if you were despairing a bit about how certain relationships might end up after the past few episodes, well, I’ll be curious to hear what you think after this one.

For a taste of the important moments I’m talking about, check out this clip, which includes one of my favorite Marshall lines ever:

And if you need a little more to tide you over until tonight, we also heard from Stephen Lang himself about the intriguing James Shannon and his experience on the show:

On James Shannon’s expectations around his reunion with Mary:

“First of all, I’d say that not every motive has been revealed at this point but, you know, the only thing he can really deal with or control is his own needs – the reasons he needs to do something – and, you know, I guess he just reached the point in his life where he really has to come to terms and kind of confront some of the consequences of the way he’s lived his life. And so, I just don’t believe that he has any expectations. Of course you have a fantasy or dream – that after being on the lam for 30 years, you’re going to be welcomed with a hug and a kiss, but I think realistically it’s not going to happen and he probably knows that.”

On playing such a long-awaited character:

“I find it challenging to first of all to play a character who’s been talked about for a long time. I guess the core fans of this show have been waiting for a long time and they have feelings about him and resentments about him as they identify with Mary. To try and argue as it were his side of the story, you know – to defend his life, to defend his character – that’s the challenge – to also be believable, convincing as Mary’s father.”

And on James Shannon’s morality:

“What makes a good salesman? He has an ability to lie. To some extent his life is a lie but the earmark of a great liar is that he believes it himself, and he’s very convincing at that. . . . but eventually [the lie is] going to work its way out and the fundamental goodness – which is not even the main part of the guy but it’s there – it’s a reaction against it and he has to kind of deal with it. So I really don’t worry too much about whether I trust him or whether he’s a good man, whether he’s a bad man. I just try and inhabit him and find his point of view and not judge it so much – just as he wouldn’t his own self.”

Trust me, In Plain Sight fans DO NOT want to miss this episode. It airs tonight (Friday, April 20) at 10/9c on USA.

(Photo courtesy of USA Network.)

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