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

Mary McCormack and Fred WellerBy Jamie Ruby

Tomorrow In Plain Sight returns with its fifth and final season, comprised of eight episodes. The series follows two U.S. Marshals, Mary Shannon and Marshall Mann, who work for the witness protection program (WITSEC) and help relocate Federal Witnesses.

In the season premiere, "The Anti-Socal Network," Mary returns to WITSEC after maternity leave. The marshals must protect a witness who could possibly take down a powerful secret society.

The two stars took time to talk to the media about the upcoming season.

USA Conference Call
In Plain Sight
Mary McCormack and Fred Weller

March 12, 2012
4:00 pm CT

SCIFI VISION: So Fred, I like your new look on Twitter. What's up with that? (He posted a photo of himself in drag on Twitter)

Mary McCormack and Fred WellerFREDERICK WELLER: My new look?...I'll be honest with you, I - oh yes, yes, yes. You mean the drag? Yes, oh thank you, yes.

MARY McCORMACK: Who tweeted that Fred?

FREDERICK WELLER: I can't imagine who could have tweeted that Mary? Who would have tweeted that? I can't imagine.

MARY McCORMACK: No I didn't, I didn't actually. I didn't on purpose.



MARY McCORMACK: I would never tweet that photograph.

FREDERICK WELLER: I don't know what surprise you're talking about Mary. This is a personal image of me. It's a new direction that I'm moving in, all based on advice from my agents.

They feel like I have pretty much played out the leading man type roles. And so we're moving in a new direction. We're going to go with more with character women.

SCIFI VISION: (Laughs) All right. Now after that, can you just talk about kind of what we can expect this season?

FREDERICK WELLER: Mary go ahead.

MARY McCORMACK: USA did a really, I think very cool thing of telling us it was the final season before we began, which allowed us to really write it differently. You know, sort of decide what we wanted to invest in.

And, you know, I mean people dedicated sort of five years to the show. I think it's a nice way to honor the fans of the show by essentially respecting that...

We deal with one of the big stories of the series, which has been, you know, the relationship between Mary and her father. And, you know, this is a guy who left when she was 7. And I think had a huge sort of influence on her injury and her, you know, the person she is.

...So there's a lot of really great scenes. And that story line is for the built into. What else, the relationship with Abigail, we have my adjusting to being a new mother...

So yes, there's a lot of stuff. I mean I think the eight episodes are some of our best. We're excited.

SCIFI VISION: What this season has continued to be challenging for the both of you?

MARY McCORMACK: Continued did you say?

SCIFI VISION: Yes, well or something new that challenged you.

MARY McCORMACK: Well Fred's often challenged. I mean Fred's a challenge. I don't know. I mean we have a good time. I guess that's challenging. I mean challenging for me is the stamina involved. It's the hours we work.

You know, that's a challenge. And Fred and I both have really little kids. And so I'd say for me it's just the stamina and the hours because the actual work is fun. And the people we work with is really fun.

QUESTION: What [will you] be taking home with you as a memorial set piece?

MARY McCORMACK: Great question. I was thinking about that the other day. I was eyeing everything on the set. And I was like what will it be? I don't know what it will be?

QUESTION: Every single souvenir you want.

MARY McCORMACK: I want suggestion. All my twitter followers should send me suggestions. I need ideas.

FREDERICK WELLER: Well I thought you wanted the (Flegler)?

MARY McCORMACK: Yes I don't think so. What am I going to do with the (Flegler)?

FREDERICK WELLER: A bunch of stapling?


MARY McCORMACK: Yes and then I get to staple crap. No, I need a real souvenir. I mean what are you taking Fred, anything?

FREDERICK WELLER: Well, you know those little wind up robot bugs, my son would flip for those. He's crazy about robots. So I'm going to take that.

MARY McCORMACK: Yes that's good. That was on your desk. I don't have that kind of thing. I don't know what I would take.

FREDERICK WELLER: I'm going to try to take my desk chair because it's really comfortable.

MARY McCORMACK: You'll get arrested for that.

QUESTION: What are some of the memories you remember most though that you'll cherish the most from your time on In Plain Sight?

MARY McCORMACK: Well Fred in drag, now that - I wasn't going to tell everybody. But now it's out, Fred is in drag this season. That's a hard memory for me to shake, as much as I'd like too. It was shocking, just shocking because Fred I think you're handsome. You know, I know I don't say it a lot. But you're handsome.


MARY McCORMACK: And it does not translate. You are not pretty.

FREDERICK WELLER: I am not, let me say I am not my type.

MARY McCORMACK: I agree. You're not my type either. It's funny because you are an attractive man. And somehow it does not translate. Your bone structure is not at all feminine.


MARY McCORMACK: Yes what other memories? We have a lot - we had a lot of fun Fred and I. What other memories do we have?...

We have a lot of laughs. We have a lot. Remember Fred, remember that one time you tried to kick the door and you went through the door like The Shining.

FREDERICK WELLER: Yes and you told them to keep rolling and my foot was stuck.

MARY McCORMACK: Oh I've never laughed harder in my life. I had tears rolling down my cheeks. I was so happy.

FREDERICK WELLER: Yes you thought that was very funny.

MARY McCORMACK: It was funny.

FREDERICK WELLER: You know what I love? You know what I love doing is all the action sequences, plans and props with you. Just, you know, when we were really picky about those.


Mary McCormackMARY McCORMACK: A lot of scanning.

FREDERICK WELLER: Yes. That's what we learned from our technical advisor. Just always be scanning.

MARY McCORMACK: Our technical advisor comes up to us and you'd think he's have some really good piece of advice. But he's like don't forget to scan. Just always be scanning. So Fred and I were ABS, ABS, always be scanning.

FREDERICK WELLER: That's fun stuff.

QUESTION: Baby Nora is one of the cutest babies I've ever seen. I don't suppose it's your new baby Mary, is it?

MARY McCORMACK: It's not. I didn't use here...It's actually, we have a bunch of babies. So it depends on which take you're looking at they same age and the same level.

QUESTION: You once characterized Mary Shannon as the least maternal person in the world. How is she going to change this season given that she has a baby?

MARY McCORMACK: Yes she changes in a lot of ways, and sort of forced to sort of change. I mean there's a lot of things going on in her life. Her father comes back. You know, Fred is in a relationship.

Lot's of things in her life, her mother is sober and sort of moving out. And everyone seems to be moving out of her life...with the one thing that she never thought she'd be mother.

So it's actually, to me it was real exciting. I mean I didn't plan to shake up the show by getting pregnant. But Jeff Wachtel, who is the head of USA was very sweet when I called him and told him I was pregnant.

And sort of thought it was a great opp - or at least he said it was. But he though it was a great opportunity for, you know, a really cool character development for.

QUESTION: [Fred] you said Marshall is well aware of his feelings for Mary and vice versa. Do you think Marshall is going to admit his feelings to Mary now that the show is coming to a close?

FREDERICK WELLER: I think he's going to have to start out for a little more than he has in the past. At the same time those feelings are kind of revolving. I mean the fact that she's had a baby is a big factor there.

I think it's possible that Marshall might be ready to face the fact that his relationship with Mary has been one of sibling rivalry for so long now that it might be better or him to move on romantically.

QUESTION: Interesting.

FREDERICK WELLER: It's possible. It's really possible that even though he's this romantic. He might have to move on.

QUESTION: Fred can you tell me a little bit about your next project, The Normals?

FREDERICK WELLER: The Normals is a, it's a story that takes place inside of a mental facility where the patients are volunteering or subjecting themselves to scientific experiments.

And I play an annoying actor who is just there to do research. Brian Greenberg stars. He's terrific. He's very (dead pan). And he definitely needs money. He's on the run from some pretty mean creditors.

It's like a more comedic version of One Few over the Cuckoo's Nest.

QUESTION: And Mary can you tell us about your new project, Should have been Romeo? I understand that Paul Ben-Victor is one of the actors and a writer for it.

MARY McCORMACK: Yes that was the movie that Paul made. And I did a couple days on it. And I haven't seen it yet.

QUESTION: In the first episode, Mary still seems kind of like out of the loop since she's been gone. Is that something that's going to continue throughout the season? Or do they kind of like snap back into normal?

MARY McCORMACK: No she snaps back into it. I think it's just she's been away for six months. And no one really knows how to treat her as a mother. And she didn't really know where she (unintelligible). I think she gets a handle on it pretty quickly and so happy to do that.

I don't think she's a girl who could stop working, you know. I think she's even crazier.

QUESTION: I'm surprised she stayed away from work for six months. It seems like a...

MARY McCORMACK: Yes. I think that was also, you know, it's you can't really work with a three months old. But you can work with a six month. I mean there's a bunch of production reasons for that as well.

QUESTION: Do we get to see Marshall and baby Nora in any way? I know baby-sitting was hinted at in the first episode. But Mary seems to shoot that down.

MARY McCORMACK: He's around her sometimes.

FREDERICK WELLER: I am cradling baby Nora, wondering about my life past.

MARY McCORMACK: We're all with her at some point. I mean we have a lot [babies] you know, because babies can only work sort of 20 minutes at a time. So when we have babies in scenes there's like a nursery like with 10 babies. And they all sort of look the same. It's like incredibly cute, all in the same T-shirt. It's ridiculous.

FREDERICK WELLER: Paul Ben-Victor does a little tango with the baby cheek to cheek. It's very funny.

MARY McCORMACK: Yes.Two (balding).

QUESTION: You said that Mary's dad comes back into play. Can you say anything about the circumstances that he comes back?

MARY McCORMACK: Yes. I mean I don't know how much I can say. I won't say too much because it's so exciting to watch. [He was a] criminal and was a fugitive. So when he comes back, you know, it's a pretty big deal [and I'm] law enforcement.

So it's not easy reconciliation, you know. And she's injured. I mean she's really, you know, it's...over the years how much that his leaving, you know, broke her heart. But I think we really see it in episode, I guess he comes back at end of 5, and he's really in 6 and 7 and on.

He, you know, you get a real sense of just how much damage it did to her, you know. And how much she really wishes it had been different. And it's really (Steven) is a great actor. And I hope it all turns out well because we're having fun making it. It's a big part of her life, Mary Shannon's life.

QUESTION: I'm glad that we get a chance to have him come back before the season ends.

MARY McCORMACK: Me too. I felt like, you know, we talked about it every season. We were like maybe he should come back now. And then, you know, smartly Jeff Wachtel who is really - with story it was always like I think you should wait. I think you wait. And I think he was right.

You know, that it's such a big part of Mary's character, I think that injury that it really helps to have it in this final season because it feels like a form of closure, you know, to be telling that story now.

QUESTION: If Marshall and Mary have some big conflict, what's the hardest thing they're working through this season, either together or off in their own personal lives?

MARY McCORMACK: Well I mean obviously together there's this long history of will they or won't they. And, you know, sometimes I'm in a relationship and sometimes he's in a relationship. And that's always complex.

And this final season does explore that further. I mean I don't want to give it away if we will or we won't. But it definitely, we deal with it. And it's, you know, I think it's dealt with in an adult way. And it's really, yes, I think that's definitely some conflict for us.

And other than that, I mean we're, it's the gru -you know, we're partners and we sort of just go off and do our thing together and have fun. Make each other laugh.

And then Mary's own conflict, I mean I can't speak to Fred. I guess Fred has his own conflict about his relationship with Abigail and whether that's right or whatever.

But I have mine with, you know, I think really with my father and what that means him coming back.

QUESTION: What do you think Fred? What's Marshall's biggest problem?

Fred WellerFREDERICK WELLER: Well I mean that whole idea of who am I going to marry. I don't envy people who are still in that part of their life because that's just the biggest most awful decision.

It's huge. It's so stressful. So Marshall is experiencing all that. I mean he's in a serious relationship with this girl. And then he's working with this person that he knows he's got feelings for.

But Mary's got a baby by another man. It's awfully messy and awfully complicated.

QUESTION: Fred I was wondering, you were talking about the Rachel Boston's character. So how much more serious are things going to get for those two over the next couple of episodes?

MARY McCORMACK: Can't tell.

FREDERICK WELLER: Well let me just say that it is a period of turmoil for Marshall. And it's a source of great conflict and inner conflict and interpersonal conflict for the show. So it's good stuff.

QUESTION: They're caring for a dog together. That's pretty heavy stuff.

FREDERICK WELLER: That's commitment. That's major.

MARY McCORMACK: You know, that dog was actually meant for - that dog was actually written for me. And I was like I couldn't believe it because it was sort of planned before I told anyone I was pregnant.

And then I was like, when I spilled the beans that I was pregnant, I was like please don't give me a dog and a baby or I will never see my own children again. Like if you give me a dog and a baby, yes.

So that was when we re-wrote it. We're like and she gives the dog away.

...And animals. So I was like I have to actually see my children once a week.

FREDERICK WELLER: What you're referring to is a dog or a baby prolongs any scene and shoot because it's difficult to get them to do what you need them to do.

MARY McCORMACK: Yes he got that.


QUESTION: Mary I was wondering what you could say about the Josh Hopkins character. How he's going to woo you or not.

MARY McCORMACK: You know, John Hopkin's character - yes, he certainly does his best. He plays this guy Kenny who I meet in a coffee shop and sort of share a sense of humor with.

And yes, he's - he is a great actor and a nice guy. And he's the MEI. So it was fun when he was around, really fun. I like him.

QUESTION: Mary, I was just wondering since you're a working mom yourself, how your difficulties or challenges as a working mom compared to Mary's on screen?

MARY McCORMACK: Well I think all working moms have the same problem. I mean I was up, I think I got an hour sleep last night. I was up with a sick kid through the night like vomiting all over me in the bed and I mean, you know.

And I was - I think I slept literally two hours and was in hair and make up for a day of press. But that's like every working mother. You know, you just, you burn it on both ends and you do the best you can. And you kind of fail at everything and then try to forgive yourself the next day. Like every single woman in the world knows that struggle so.

Yes we try to tell that story, you know, realistically on the show too that you, you know, you're sleep deprived and you've got food all over you and kind of stink and clothes hurt. You know, we try to be honest about it.

QUESTION: Fred I know that you guys said Marshall doesn't have a lot to do with the baby. But I was still wondering since you're a dad yourself, is there a difference between how you act with the baby as Marshall and then how you are with your own children?

FREDERICK WELLER: Well yes. I mean I have to sort of pretend like I'm more of a novice than I am a bit. But I mean Marshall is probably a natural. So it's not too much of that. It's just a slight, you know, remembering what it was like the first time you handle babies.

But Marshall, his basic outlook is pretty close to mine. And it's the way he feels towards kids. It's pretty close to mine.

SCIFI VISION: What do you two think you'll miss the most once the show is over?

MARY McCORMACK: I'm going to miss Fred the most.

FREDERICK WELLER: I'll miss Mary. I said it first.

MARY McCORMACK: No it's true. I really will. We have had a great time together. I can't imagine, I mean I can't believe I like to just give Fred, you know, garbage. But it's true. We have a great time together and we laugh a lot. And we sort of work in a very similar way.

And so our days are a lot more fun than then have any right to be for as long as they are. But so I think I'll miss Fred the most and Paul. And I mean we work with a great group of actors.

SCIFI VISION: All right, great.

MARY McCORMACK: That's from me.


SCIFI VISION: We've only seen the first episode this season so it's kind of hard to tell. But it seems like so far that even though she's so protective of the baby, she's still kind of, well bitchy at work.

I'm curious, is Mary's personality going to be affected at all at work by what happens at home?

MARY McCORMACK: I don't think she is. Fred do you think so? I mean I think she's more tired and more grouchy. Bu I don't think - I think it's the same Mary at work, don't you?

FREDERICK WELLER: Yes I mean, you know, she's already pretty maxed out on the grouchiness. So...

MARY McCORMACK: Yes well somehow that got more.

FREDERICK WELLER: Just got a red lining on the grouchiness. So it's not really that huge...I mean it's interesting to me yes, she's not maternal. And yet she manages to be a mother in a way that makes sense.

She's still kind of a hard ass. You know, cynical. She doesn't - it's not like she...

MARY McCORMACK: She's against baby talk. She's against, you know, she's not mushy that way.

FREDERICK WELLER: She doesn't change as much as you'd think.

MARY McCORMACK: Yes...At one point we read a line where I say she's a whore for sweet potatoes. I thought that was very Mary Shannon.

SCIFI VISION: Can you talk about any of the guest stars we're going to see this season that you haven't mentioned?

MARY McCORMACK: Oh gosh we had Tia Carrere this season the brilliant and beautiful Tia Carrere. We have Stephen Lang. He's amazing.

FREDERICK WELLER: The beautiful Julia Jones from Twilight movies.

MARY McCORMACK: Yes. Who else do we have? We have some great actors. Who else Fred, think, think, think.

MARY McCORMACK: Madchen Amick is joining....French. He did a good job. Christian BelaFonte comes back...That was a treat...Brian Cowen of course.

QUESTION: When you do a show like this you spend so much time with your co-stars than you do with almost any other people in your life. Is there a sort of a sense of melancholy as the conclusion of production approaches? Or have you even had time to think about that?

FREDERICK WELLER: I'm sad. I'm sad. And Mary's pretending to be sad.

Mary McCormackMARY McCORMACK: No I'm really sad. I have not - we have not had a ton of time because we're racing. We just run, run, run to get it done. And then the next one is in production. And pre-production, then there's re-writes and all this stuff that we sort of involve ourselves with.

And so we haven't had a ton of time. But I imagine the end is going to hit us hard because yes, I don't think that this relationship that Fred and I have happens a lot.

I mean I've been making television for a thousand years. I'm as old as the hills. And never worked with anyone that, you know, I just work with so easily.

And Fred and I spend a lot of time together. And, you know, we always enjoy each other every single day. So I think that's going to be really sad because I sort of know wherever I go after this, it won't be that.

And, you know, same, I mean I don't know about for Fred. I mean he'll, you know, he'll wander away.

FREDERICK WELLER: I'm never going to work again. I'm never working again.

MARY McCORMACK: I know...Who knows what will happen. It is a career wrap for you.

FREDERICK WELLER: Pretty much it.

QUESTION: I noticed that Joshua Malina wasn't on the list of stars returning this season. Has he totally been written out?

MARY McCORMACK: Yes he has, yes...[Brandi] Has exploded that relationship in a non-retrievable way. So yes, gosh. And he was a great addition. But he's not coming back (then end of due date).

QUESTION: Speaking of Brandi, I really missed her in the season premier. Is she going to be coming back when Jinx returns?

MARY McCORMACK: Yes. Well she's back in I think it's just in the finale. She does come back.

QUESTION: I know Tia Carrere is going to play Stan's love interest. Can you tell us a bit about how that relationship is going to affect the story line this year?

FREDERICK WELLER: We're going to be all a titter about it.

And it will be - it will [bring] occasion much mirth among his co-workers, the fact that he's got a lady friend.

MARY McCORMACK: And the fact that she's six feet tall. It's really the fact that like what an off match they are.

FREDERICK WELLER: And they tango together. That's got to be funny. I can't wait to see that.


QUESTION: Do you have a favorite season of all the seasons that you've done? Or a favorite episode.

MARY McCORMACK: I have a favorite season, which was 1, Season 1.

FREDERICK WELLER: My favorite episode is "Horsed," Episode...

MARY McCORMACK: Yes I think "Horsed" is my favorite one too. "Horsed" is my favorite. And then I would say my second favorite is "Iris Doesn't Live Here Anymore."

FREDERICK WELLER: Yes both Season 1. That was great.

MARY McCORMACK: So Season 1.

SCIFI VISION: Just in general over this whole process and everything, what do you think you've most learned about yourselves that you'll take away?


FREDERICK WELLER: Well I learned that I'm good at working with difficult actresses.

MARY McCORMACK: What have I most learned? I've learned a lot about, I think I've learned a lot about production. You know, I should have, you know, because I'm in most scenes, I know a lot more about how a TV show is made then I ever thought I would learn.

And budgeted and written and, you know, I've learned a lot about just the nuts and bolts of making an hour long show. Which has been great. Actually it's been sort of an incredible learning - a steep learning curve.

And I've learned to forgive myself. I mean, you know, in terms of I used to pride myself on knowing all my lines before I came to set. And there's just no, with three kids and the line mode that I have, there's no way to do that.

And I've learned to just sort of do bites sort of, you know, do the best I can and move on. And know that, you know, I also have to be there for the kids. And if I wake up and spend a half-hour with them, that that's equally important. It's hard. That's what I've learned is to be more forgiving to myself.



FREDERICK WELLER: Yes I mean it's been five seasons of working with a camera. I feel much more comfortable now than when I did before.

MARY McCORMACK: And don't you think Fred now that you learned that you want do direct?

FREDERICK WELLER: Yes I want to direct.

MARY McCORMACK: Direct, and I think if we had a longer season or one more, I would campaign for that. I wish you'd done that. So I think wherever he ends up next, he should really push to do that because he's really good at it.

I mean there's often we're blocking a scene or I'll ask for a line reading from Fred because I just trust his taste and he sort of sees things in terms of camera. I mean I think he's a natural. I think you are. I think you're a natural director.

FREDERICK WELLER: Thank you darling. That's very sweet of you.

MARY McCORMACK: You're welcome. I'm very sweet. I don't know. I mean let's get the word out, I am sweet.

Fred WellerFREDERICK WELLER: You're like a closeted sweet person.

SCIFI VISION: If you two weren't acting, what do you think you'd be doing?

MARY McCORMACK: God I'd be homeless. I have no idea. I have no idea. I love the movie business. So I would probably wiggle my way in somewhere. I'd be like - I'd do anything. I just like the business.? I like crews. So I would be - whatever department would take me I would find my way in there.

FREDERICK WELLER: I've always assumed that I would be a trained assassin. I think that's it. Yes, yes. I'm going to go with assassin.

QUESTION: I have to ask now because you brought that up. Is there a reason you would be a trained assassin? Do you have people that you just want to kill or something? How does that come to you?

FREDERICK WELLER: No. I just, I am such a, just pure, raw, animal essence that I think that kind of just extreme testosterone fueled, extreme danger would probably be my thing.

QUESTION: Now you know that you can be undercover in drag when you have to kill someone is what you've learned.

FREDERICK WELLER: That's right. That's right. I guess, you know, somebody just asked a question what I've learned the most. I guess I've learned that I can walk in high heals.

QUESTION: That's a pretty good accomplishment.


QUESTION: So how do you think both Marshall and Mary have changed since we saw them in Season 1, if any?

FREDERICK WELLER: Marshall was an extreme romantic. And I think he's becoming a little bit more of a realist. I think some of Mary's realism has rubbed off on him.

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