Mary McCormack & Fred Weller on Season 4 of "In Plain Sight"

By Jamie Ruby

In Plain SightSunday marks the season four finale of the popular USA Network Drama In Plain Sight. A lot has been going on this season - Mary (Mary McCormack) was surprised to find out she was pregnant, her sister Brandi (Nicole Hiltz) is about to get married, and her partner Marshall (Frederick Weller) started dating Detective Abigail Chaffee (Rachel Boston).

Recently the stars of the series, McCormack and Weller, sat down with the media to discuss the upcoming season finale as well as be candid about Mary and Marshall's romantic feelings and Mary's own pregnancy.

USA Network Conference Call
In Plaing Sight:
Mary McCormack and Fred Weller

August 2, 2011
1:00 pm CT

Mary McCormack & Frederick WellerQUESTION: Is Mary as dense as she seems about Marshall's feelings. Does Marshall think she's being dense?

FREDERICK WELLER: The answer is, no. Marshall thinks that Mary is afraid of her feelings and that it - she's got many layers of self defense over them.

MARY MCCORMACK: I agree with that.

QUESTION: You said, Fred, in a DVD commentary that you and Mary argued over shooting a particular scene. What kind of things do you typically argue over?

MARY MCCORMACK: Do we argue, Fred? We've never had an argument while we're shooting a scene, did we?...When did we argue over a scene?

FREDERICK WELLER: I don't know. I think at some point you mentioned during a commentary some argument or other...


FREDERICK WELLER: No, there are many times when Mary is callus and unfeeling and...

MARY MCCORMACK: Mary the character?

FREDERICK WELLER: No, Mary McCormack, who...


FREDERICK WELLER: ...really makes Mary Shannon...

MARY MCCORMACK: Seem warm and cuddly.

FREDERICK WELLER: ...look like a sensitive woman probably.

MARY MCCORMACK: Oh, dear...This is not fair. I don't like where this is going.

QUESTION: Matt Nix of Burn Notice has said that romantic leads getting together only kills off a show if their only relationship question poses "will they hook up?" So, what kind of questions do you think also plague Marshall and Mary?

MARY MCCORMACK: There's a lot of conditionals.

FREDERICK WELLER: What other sources of mystery? Well, I mean, I think that certainly Mary's character is - I don't think we'll ever (plumb) those depths entirely. I think if Mary and Marshall hooked up they would not exactly - it would not exactly be a frictionless relationship, so that would cause drama...I mean, a hook up would have to be, I think it's just a temporary think that gave rise to other issues.

What do you think, Mary?

MARY MCCORMACK: No idea. It's too big a question for me. I - it's too big. I have no idea. I don't know, I'm not good at that. That's like a writer's question.

QUESTION: Mary, when is your baby due in real life?

MARY MCCORMACK: September 16.

QUESTION: What do you think will happen to your characters if we were to visit them five years from now?

MARY MCCORMACK: Oh my Lord, I don't know. I really don't know. I'm not very understanding today. I have no idea where I'd be...

FREDERICK WELLER: I know - I think they'd have to be...We are probably still arguing.

MARY MCCORMACK: She's probably still in the same job, right? I mean, I imagine that's a job that's going to stick. She likes that job.

FREDERICK WELLER: Arguing about different stuff, probably be having hooked up and moved on to other people. She's - I don't know, she - Marshall's trying to keep her from making her child a total wreck.


QUESTION: [What] do you think the one thing that Mary and Marshall are going to take away from this year, besides a baby?

MARY MCCORMACK: Takeaway from this year? Well...

FREDERICK WELLER: Pregnancy sucks?

MARY MCCORMACK: ...I'm so careful about giving anything away because the finale is so exciting and a lot happens. I mean, obviously in the Finale my sister's getting married, so you know it's Brandi so things don't always go according to plan. And so, you know, I think she's - probably she'll use birth control from now on. She's learned about that in a real way.

Let's see, she's learned AA seems to work, her mother's still sober, which is a miracle. What else has she learned? I mean, that Marshall's an even better friend that she thought, which is, you know, hard to believe because he's really stepped up with the whole pregnancy thing and - golly, I don't know.

I mean, I think for Mary this season, I think one of the things that's been fun for me this seasons is that her family has sort of not been the mess ups that they've been traditionally. And so, she's sort of had to figure out who she was when she wasn't looking after them, you know?

And I think that's been an interesting thing for season four because for the first three seasons she's been like bitching about how she's the only adult in the family and she has to clean up their messes, and all of a sudden they're sort of - she's the one that - she's the hot mess. You know, she's the one who's knocked up and single and they're sort of getting on with their lives.

So, that's been the fun thing for me this season, for me and, you know, the character.

FREDERICK WELLER: Okay, I learned stuff.

Mary McCormackMARY MCCORMACK: What'd you learn, pal? People want to know.


FREDERICK WELLER: I think Marshall learned that while he thought that Mary's obstreperousness could not get any worse. He found out that there is no ceiling on it, having been with a pregnant Mary for a while. Look it up, obstreperousness, I'm talking to you, Mary.

MARY MCCORMACK: Show off. That's a show off. Honestly, it's unbelievable.


QUESTION: Fred, did you have to do an awful lot of research on all of these things regarding pregnancy, or did you know a lot of the things?


QUESTION: You certainly are proficient in talking about it.


MARY MCCORMACK: He doesn't know that much.

FREDERICK WELLER: ...a fair amount of those books.


FREDERICK WELLER: I mean, we reference a book in the script called The Birth Partner, which is one of several that I was forced to read for my daughter's birth. My - you know my son, after you've had one you kind of feel like you know it, and then you forget everything.

But yeah, I - that - I have some experience with - I won't say dealing with obstreperous or irrational pregnant ladies because sometimes my wife doesn't - she doesn't read my press, but sometimes somebody will point it out to her, so just being a birth partner that's all.


QUESTION: And it really - it looks like that you might be heading towards keeping the baby. How do you feel about that?

MARY MCCORMACK: Both ways both ways are dramatic. I don't actually know what they're going to do at this stage, I really don't. But, I do know that I'm sort of excited to play it either way. I mean, I think giving a baby up for adoption would be incredible, in terms of sort of, you know, dramatic stories, and the keeping it obviously has, you know, crazy, you know, sort of opportunities for her to - I mean, the thought of her raising a child is - sounds fun also.


QUESTION: Tell me, your character is so opposite of who you really are because you love having babies in real life.

MARY MCCORMACK: I do love having kids. We're a lot alike in other ways, but...I don't like having them.

QUESTION: it for you to play somebody who's so totally opposite from you?

MARY MCCORMACK: No so - oh, she's so similar to me in other ways that I think it's easy. I mean, unfortunately I am very grouchy and judgmental and...

QUESTION: No, not Mary McCormack?

MARY MCCORMACK: ...opinionated and - I am. So, I - it's not hard to sort of extend that to children for me. Plus kids can be annoying.


QUESTION: ...Do you think there's any possibility that he is ever going to realize what his true feelings are for Mary in the show?

Frederick WellerFREDERICK WELLER: I don't think Marshall is in denial about his true feelings for Mary at all. I think he's completely aware of...I think he knows. I think he's come very close to telling her.

MARY MCCORMACK: Saying it, yeah.

FREDERICK WELLER: I think she probably knows too. I think she - I think he thinks that she reciprocates those feelings as much as she can. I don't know - Fred doesn't know if Mary McCormack agrees, but...

MARY MCCORMACK: No, I agree with that. I think she's - I think Mary Shannon is able to be - to compartmentalize in an unhealthy way, you know, and push things out of the front of her brain and push them to the back of her brain for comfort and ease, so survival. But, I think deep down she's sort of is aware of stuff, but she's able to sort of just push it away, you know, and make noise and fill her life with other things that are easier, simpler.

QUESTION: Mary, how uncomfortable have you been going to work as a pregnant woman in real life?

MARY MCCORMACK: You know, it was not easy, I've got to say. I think I'm pretty tough and I thought it would be easier than it was. It was really - it was hard. I'm old too. I forget how this pregnancy game is sort of a young girl's game, so I'm a little out of my league. Yeah. It's all right. It's a small price to pay. I mean, it was a lesson in humility watching the episodes now. I'm like, "Wow, that's a big back." But you get on with it.

QUESTION: Did you have any special changes for your dressing room or, you know, anything different to accommodate the pregnancy?

MARY MCCORMACK: No, no, I didn't get that big. I mean, I got big, but they didn't have to blow out a wall or anything. I am quite big now though. It's where I'm in the final month, so it's getting ugly.

QUESTION: Mary and Fred, when you found out they were going to write your pregnancy into the show, were you kind of hoping that Marshall would be written as the father?


FREDERICK WELLER: No, I don't think...

MARY MCCORMACK: It seems that we'd missed so many fun steps if that were the case. I mean when we made that decision, so it had to be someone - you know, we needed to - I think if it had been Marshall we would have skipped so many steps and I think the audience would have felt robbed.

FREDERICK WELLER: Yeah, it's just - yeah, I don't think...could happen. We'd have to hook up episode two or three of the season, and then what? You know...

MARY MCCORMACK: And that hadn't happened. I mean, we'd already shot - we were already - timing wise that couldn't have worked anyway, but I think also it would have been a - I just think it would have rushed - accelerated something that's sort of fun to draw out.

FREDERICK WELLER: I think that Mary and Marshall should and will hook up at some point, but it's a little bit like the Escape from Gilligan's Island. I mean, what comes after it is going to be tricky.

MARY MCCORMACK: Yeah, that's true. That's a good reference as well.

FREDERICK WELLER: Cheers. I mean, it was before my time, obviously.

MARY MCCORMACK: Oh, yeah. Yeah, right.

FREDERICK WELLER: I - you know, I barely remember Cheers, but...

MARY MCCORMACK: Right. Oh, bless your heart. Listen to them laugh, Fred.

QUESTION: Fred, you spew out so many interesting details on this show, what have you learned?


MARY MCCORMACK: You mean about all of his trivia?

QUESTION: Yeah, have you learned anything or is some of that you?

FREDERICK WELLER: No, some of it's me, yeah. I mean, occasionally, you know, like the fact that there's a layer of porcelain and conch shells is me, but anything medical science involving, you know, giving myself a tracheotomy, or whatever that was on season one, that's something I'm Googling right then and there. And I did learn a few terms that I remember for a few days, but it's gone now.

MARY MCCORMACK: So, Fred's a big reader. A lot of the times the literary quotes and stuff is your ideas.

FREDERICK WELLER: Yeah, like the humanity stuff, the literature stuff, yeah.

MARY MCCORMACK: The writers are really sweet about being collaborative and Fred will often say - and you know we had different showrunners come through, so they're very trusting and smartly. I think they're very trusting of Fred's sense of Marshall, you know, because it's not - it's a really - Fed and I talk about this a lot, but it's a really tight - it's sort of a tightrope, his character.

You know, he can't just be filled with - I don't know, how would you describe it, Fred? I mean, it's not that he's just nerdy.

FREDERICK WELLER: No, he's can't go to that cliché. I mean, he's a complicated guy. He's very curious and he's interested in everything.

MARY MCCORMACK: Right. But, they've been very sweet about - I mean, if Fred has an idea, like I think he would have read a lot of this guy or if he has a better idea for a line they're really collaborative, which I think is great.

QUESTION: Can you both talk about [what] Mary's pregnancy did for the show and the characters?

MARY MCCORMACK: Oh, you know, I mean, when I - I knew I was pregnant. Obviously, I got pregnant sort of right before I showed up for the season, but I couldn't really tell anyone. I told Fred of course right away, but I didn't tell anyone else because I was afraid at my age, you're, you know, it's obviously really risky.

And so, when I told the President of the Network and then the showrunners, we told the showrunners together, it was further along and we had to make a decision fast about what we were going to do. And Jeff Wachtel, who I think is really - has such a keen sense of story and drama, he's the President of USA, he sort of said, "You know, this is, in a weird way," I mean we discussed first my wishes and whether I was willing to write it in, and I was.

And then, we started talking about the pros and cons story-wise and character-wise, and he was sort of excited about it, you know, as long as I was comfortable with it. He was excited about the opportunities that it would create for season four, because I think, you know, shows have to - his point was line in season four he looks to - he looks for showrunners or he looks for the creator to shake things up, because otherwise things can get pretty stale.

So, it timed out that it was a nice moment for something really big to happen, you know?


MARY MCCORMACK: And so we all decided to do it, and then we had to move fast, story-wise. I think the writers had a ten-day hiatus already scheduled, which worked out great, because they rewrote a bunch of stories and came up with, you know, Mark being the father of the baby and what it would mean, and how it would change the shape of the season, so they had to work really fast and they did a great job.

Mary McCormack & Fred WellerQUESTION: Mary, in what ways have the storylines been a challenge for you in terms of your own views of motherhood?

MARY MCCORMACK: You know, I don't find it very challenging to her point of view on kids. Even though I love having kids and I - it's the one thing in my life I always knew I wanted to do was be a mother. And I mean, so I'm different than she is that way, but I relate to her I think so easily in so many other ways that it doesn't feel like a leap for me.

It just doesn't feel like a leap for me. I sort of feel so comfortable playing her and I know exactly what her - you know, even David Maples when he created the show, I think in the second episode you have me looking at newborn and going, "What's with babies?"

You know, I - so from the start I've always known her point of view. She just doesn't like kids. She doesn't see the upside, you know? So, it's been very clear for me and I've tried to sort of touch on that at least once a season throughout. So, this is a perfect development - character development for season four because it's - she's just the least maternal person in the world, so for her to be faced with this thing growing inside of her is excellent.

QUESTION: Fred, what are you looking forward to with Marshall in the future? What would you like to see him do or get into?

FREDERICK WELLER: Well, I'd like to see him get into some kind of romantic relationship with Mary, but not something that's too cozy or long lived. I just feel like it's got to happen at some point.

QUESTION: Without the danger of the Gilligan's Island theme?

FREDERICK WELLER: Without the danger of - yes, I don't want to jump to shark. I mean, I think that the more drama would ensue as a result of that. I don't think that they would - they're certainly not going to start getting along better than they do now, which is pretty questionable already, you know what I mean? And there's plenty of room for conflict and trouble.

QUESTION: Fred, I was wondering, aside from Mary, can you tell us about another In Plaing Sight: cast member who you really enjoy working with and who really inspired you this season?

FREDERICK WELLER: I like Maury - oh, you mean regulars or guests?

QUESTION: Either one.

FREDERICK WELLER: Well, in terms of regulars I think Mary will agree with Paul Ben-Victor is...

MARY MCCORMACK: Yeah, we love PBV.

FREDERICK WELLER: ...just astonishing to watch. He's a great actor and he's just really lovable funny and...

MARY MCCORMACK: Yeah, we love him.

FREDERICK WELLER: ...he's amazing. In terms of guests, I like Maury Sterling who came on - who made a second appearance, I think based on the quality of his first appearance, right Mary?

MARY MCCORMACK: I think it was planned all along to have that...


MARY MCCORMACK: Yeah, character come back, but I think he came back in a much bigger way, because Maury was so good, you know? And actually, I mean, I've heard rumblings of maybe he surfaces again just because everyone enjoyed him so much, so who knows.

FREDERICK WELLER: He's funny. And then...

MARY MCCORMACK: He is really funny and fun to work with.

FREDERICK WELLER: ...Bryan Callen's great too.

QUESTION: Mary, just in general how do you think of the average woman watching In Plaing Sight: this season can relate to your character, and in what ways do you think that she's an inspiration to women?

MARY MCCORMACK: Well, I mean I think like women - I think part of the reasons she's always been appealing to women is that women are - you know, we know the truth. We are grouchier and meaner and more judgmental than I think we've been allowed to be, you know, that we've been portrayed over the years. I think women are - you know, it's like even the success of bridesmaids, I think women have - you know, we know we're gross and angry.

And I think - you know, I think it's just sort of been our secret for a long time, so it makes sense that it's - there's something cathartic watching a woman say what she's feels and be, you know, ambitious and angry and sort of grouchy once in a while, because I think you know we are that way.


SCIFI VISION: Hi. So, have you started filming season five yet?



MARY MCCORMACK: I'm not sure when we're starting yet. We don't really even know - we don't know anything yet. We're sort of in - just been promoting the finale.

SCIFI VISION: Going back to something you said a little bit ago, so was the character of Mark, then that whole relationship had already been in place before you got pregnant in real life or...

MARY MCCORMACK: Oh, yeah. I know the story was planned and we were - yeah, he was definitely coming back and we were probably going to hook up, but it work out timing-wise that when I told everybody that I was pregnant we were like, "Geez, Louise, who could it be? Is it Faber's? Is it," and then we thought like, "Oh, no timing-wise maybe it works out perfect if it's Mark's," so it worked out great.

And it's kind of, I think - I think it worked out even just story-wise because it sort of, you know, a pure accident. You know, there was nothing really deeper and, you know, with Faber it might have been sort of confusing. He had that wife and kids and it was the whole thing. It just would have opened up a whole other set of really dramatic stories, whereas with Mark it was like, "Oh," you know, it's one of those things that happens in life that you just go, "Oh, my Lord." You know, it was lighter.

SCIFI VISION: Fred, at least going by the characters, I'm kind of surprised Mary didn't on the show, but the real Mary - when she's pregnant, does she boss you guys around and make you get stuff or does she not make your life miserable?

Mary McCormackMARY MCCORMACK: That's a good question.

FREDERICK WELLER: I'm sorry, I didn't understand. You're asking if...

MARY MCCORMACK: Did I make your life miserable because I was pregnant or was I easy? Careful.

FREDERICK WELLER: You know, no. Interestingly, while I made a comment earlier that Marshall was surprised to see that Mary Shannon was capable of getting even more obstreperous than she already was, I find that Mary McCormack is maxed out on that front. So, she really can't get anymore abrasive.

MARY MCCORMACK: That's it. Even pregnancy doesn't make it worse.

FREDERICK WELLER: It's redlined. Yeah, it's redlining.

SCIFI VISION: What's something for both of you that people would be surprised to know about you?

MARY MCCORMACK: Oh, my gosh. Holy Toledo, I don't know?

FREDERICK WELLER: Geez, surprised to know about me?


SCIFI VISION: Hidden talent maybe, or something like that?

MARY MCCORMACK: A hidden talent? I can palm a basketball. Not for long, but I can palm one. I have crazy drag queen...

FREDERICK WELLER: Yeah. Well, you've done on that show...

MARY MCCORMACK: ...I have like drag queen hands. Yeah, but people thought it was a stunt on the show. I can actually do it.

FREDERICK WELLER: Is that right?

MARY MCCORMACK: I have man - I have crazy man hands. There you go, I'm done. What do you got, Fred?

FREDERICK WELLER: Oh, God. Geez, I don't know. I'm...

MARY MCCORMACK: Fred speaks German, fluently.

FREDERICK WELLER: That probably wouldn't surprise them who watch the show. You know, I'm not a fast reader and Marshall's, I think, probably a very fast reader, so that's...

MARY MCCORMACK: That is such a boring answer.


MARY MCCORMACK: Are you serious. That's it?

FREDERICK WELLER: I - give something.

MARY MCCORMACK: That's your big confession? I said I have drag queen hands and you said I'm not a fast reader? Oh, call TMZ. I'll teach you how to read.

SCIFI VISION: I love your sense of humor.

MARY MCCORMACK: (Unintelligible). I mean, see what I'm dealing with?

SCIFI VISION: Have there been any deleted scenes that you guys would have like to have seen stay in the show?

MARY MCCORMACK: Geez, that's a good question.

FREDERICK WELLER: That is a good question.

MARY MCCORMACK: I'm trying to think. No, I don't. I can't think of any that I - I mean, sometimes once in a while I'll go, "Oh, shame that scene's gone." And then - but now in the moment I can't think of any, so obviously nothing that was so upsetting that it stuck with me.

FREDERICK WELLER: I think we have lines that we'd like to see in the show; lines that get cut from the script even occasionally, or stuff that we add-lib on the on the set that doesn't line up.

MARY MCCORMACK: Yeah, but actual scenes, I don't think so.

QUESTION: Fred, since Marshall's not in denial about his feelings, how do you think he justifies his relationship with Abigail with himself?

FREDERICK WELLER: Well, it's a bit of a - I think he's sort of licking his wounds with her a little bit. I mean, he likes her. I think he's surprised that he likes her. They get along. They have fun times. But, I think that - I think he knows there's something missing. I think - I don't think he's always aware of it, but I think he's a romantic at heart and I really - I feel like he's got this undeniable longing for Mary and I think that it's always lurking there.

But, he's got to move on and he's got needs, afterall, so - for companionship and so forth, so...

MARY MCCORMACK: Don't' say needs.

FREDERICK WELLER: Needs, don't say needs?

MARY MCCORMACK: I'll throw up. Oh, my God, I'm going to throw up.

FREDERICK WELLER: He's got carnal urges...


FREDERICK WELLER: ...can I say carnal urges?

MARY MCCORMACK: Just stop. Can we stop, please?

FREDERICK WELLER: I mean, you know, he can't be a monk forever.

QUESTION: But you think he feels like it's unfair to Abigail on a certain level?

MARY MCCORMACK: Yeah? Do you ever think of that?

FREDERICK WELLER: Yeah. Yeah, I think probably so, yeah. But, she's - yeah, she's young.

MARY MCCORMACK: She's young.

Frederick WellerFREDERICK WELLER: Yeah, sure. It's complicated. It's messy.


QUESTION: Mary, do you know the sex of the baby?

MARY MCCORMACK: I don't know the gender. No, I don't know the sex.

QUESTION: Have you picked out names for a boy and a girl?

MARY MCCORMACK: We haven't. We are in denial, like Mary. Like Mary, exactly. I don't know why we haven't. We just haven't. It's no good, but we have to.


QUESTION: Do you have a favorite name that you might want to spring on your husband?


FREDERICK WELLER: Yeah, he could find out in the press.

MARY MCCORMACK: We haven't actually - yeah, exactly. No, we haven't actually talked about names. We need to do it. We need to deal with it. We're in a bit of denial about the baby.

QUESTION: If it's a boy, what about Frederick?

FREDERICK WELLER: Yeah, how about Fredrick?

MARY MCCORMACK: Frederick it is then. It's done. Thank you all. I appreciate that. What would I do without this call?

Frederick it is, or Frederica.


Latest Articles