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The USA Network Is Double the Fun On Friday Nights

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Friday nights just got a lot brighter entertainment wise with the return of Fairly Legal and In Plain Sight on the USA Network. Legal is back for its second season while Sight is starting its fifth and final season. If Legal could evolve into a fully satisfactory series like Sight then there would definitely be double trouble on Friday nights.

Legal got off to a rough start last year. Sarah Shahi, who plays mediator Kate Reed, never really fulfilled her promise in the role. She was too cute, too quirky, too full of herself. Plus the role was written so that she dominated the series and rolled over all the members of the supporting cast which included Virginia Williams, Michael Trucco and Baron Vaughn.

The basis of the show is that Kate's father has died, leaving the law firm he established to Kate, her brother and his fairly new wife Lauren (Williams). Kate decided to stop being an attorney at the firm and took on the role of mediator. This did not sit well with her stepmother, who promptly fired her from the firm.

Kate was also married to Assistant District Attorney Justin Patrick (Trucco) but as this season starts they are in the middle of a divorce. She loves him but she wants to leave him. She also wants to stay with the firm but not be a part of the firm. This makes her role of mediator a little difficult to understand.

This season Shahi appears to have turned her personality as Kate back a notch. She isn't quite as extreme and she is allowing her heart to shine through more than last year. Kate also seems to be coming to terms with Lauren's role in her life. Now her relationship with Justin, well that's another story.

The story lines seem to be a little more inclusive of all the members of the cast rather than just spotlighting Shahi. In addition to the regular cast members Gerald McRaney is back as Judge David Nicastro. McRaney is always a welcome addition to any cast. Plus we have Ryan Johnson joining the cast as Attorney Ben Grogan. In short order Grogan becomes firmly entrenched in Kate's life and career. Baron Vaughn still adds comic touches as Kate's assistant Leo.

Having seen the first few episodes I am willing to give this series another chance. It didn't win a spot in my regular viewing lineup last year but with its new attitude and cast adjustments it might do it now. Fairly Legal might become one of my fairly favorites.

One show that is definitely on my can't miss list is In Plain Sight. Mary McCormack and company have held me enthralled for all the past seasons and this show about the Witness Protection Program just keeps getting better and better.

McCormack plays tough talking, rough acting Mary Shannon. She is a Marshal with WITSEC stationed in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her partner is Marshal Marshall Mann (Frederick Weller). Their boss is Stan McQueen (Paul Ben-Victor). Mary's mother Jinx is played by Lesley Ann Warren.

This year Mary is a single mother of a brand new daughter, and is trying to juggle motherhood and her career. Marshall is still involved romantically with a member of the Albuquerque Police Department and Mary is trying to adjust to this too. Up till now she has always been number one in Marshall's life. Admittedly just as a friend.

As this season progresses it is hoped Mary and Marshall's relationship will be resolved, as well as her relationships with the father of her baby. There is also talk that Mary's father, who abandoned the family many years ago, will be coming back into the picture.

It is a nice turn that In Plain Sight has announced it is ending and that some of the storylines will be wrapped up. That might diminish some of the sorrow of losing characters who have turned into friends of the viewers.

McCormack and her cast have always delivered unique entertainment and it will continue until the last show is shown. Then with regret we will have to bid Mary, Marshall and all the regulars a fond farewell.

Fairly Legal airs on the USA Network Friday nights at 9, followed by In Plain Sight at 10. Those are two hours of quality television you will want to watch.

Jackie K Cooper
www.jackiekcooper.com