In Plain Sight/Law & Order: Criminal Intent : Two For the Road

We are now on the road to summer for our TV viewing. It is the summer when the cable networks give us the best and brightest in TV programming, and the USA Network leads the way. A prime example is that in order to get us on to this road to summer the USA Network is starting us off with new episodes of In Plain Sight and Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

In Plain Sight is an audience favorite. It presents stories about U.S. Marshal Mary Shannon (Mary McCormack) who works in the Albuquerque/Santa Fe area of the Witness Protection Program (WITSEC). She and her partner Marshal (Fred Weller) -- and yes that does make him Marshal Marshall -- take people in jeopardy into the program and keep them protected and available for upcoming testimony in trials.

What makes the show above average is Mary's private life. She has just broken up with her boyfriend Rafael (Christian de la Fuente) and has finally gotten her mother (Lesley Anne Warren) out of her hair. Now if she can just keep her sister Brandi (Nichole Hiltz) calm she might just have some time for herself.

But things never stay calm very long for Mary. She seems to attract trouble both at work and at home. She is a grumpy, grating person but she also has her soft monuments. Of course they are few and far between, but they do exist.

McCormack is perfect for this role and shows us the full personality of Shannon, warts and all. Through her acting talent McCormack makes us want to see more and more of this character, and the audience cheers for her at every turn. Weller, Hiltz and especially Warren provide strong support and make this if not an ensemble cast at least a creatively supporting one.

Also back for the "road to summer" is Law & Order: Criminal Intent. For the past two years Vincent D'Onofrio and Kathryn Erbe have been missing from the cast. Jeff Goldblum and Saffron Burrows were the leads on the show. With this season D'Onofrio and Erbe are back heading up the cast and the show is made all the better by their return.

At the Major Case Squad there is a new leader, Joseph Hannah (Jay O Sanders) and he has requested the return of Detectives Goren (D'Onofrio) and Eames (Ernbe). Goren is known to still have some problems playing well with others but Hannah thinks he is worth the risk.

D'Onofrio is perfect in the role of the quirky detective. He has the right mannerisms and even shifty eye problems that would be inherent in a character such as this. This is not your typical character or even your typical actor playing the role but it all works. And because D'Onofrio is so good as Goren he makes Erbe essential as Eames. She is the leveling part of this equation and she plays her role with quiet strength and protectiveness towards Goren.

In Plain Sight and Law & Order: Criminal Intent are two shows that will make you forget your regular network favorites are in reruns. Tune in to the USA Network on May 1 for Law & Order: Criminal Intent at 9 and In Plain Sight at 10. Get into the habit of watching these two shows and you will not have the summer rerun blues at all.