In Plain Sight

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
In Plain Sight TV Poster Image
A fresh take on girl power -- with guns, sex.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 1 review

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The show pushes a clear message of girl power and shows that women can be both forceful and strong. But by making a mess of Mary's personal life, it also subtly hints that "having it all" -- whatever that means -- isn't fully possible.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Mary is a complex woman who excels at her job and often outshines her male colleagues, helping people in need in the process. But while her professional life is relatively under control, her personal life is messy at best. Her dysfunctional family includes a mother who's usually drunk, a sister who's usually in trouble, and an often-shirtless "friend" with benefits.


Characters suffer from relatively graphic injuries (gunshot wounds, suicides, stabbings) that usually involve blood and often end in death. Since the main character is a U.S. marshal, she carries a gun at all times and isn't afraid to use physical force to get what she wants.


The sexually charged dialogue is peppered with cheeky euphemisms for genitalia (think "Johnson" and "wee wee") and sex (a woman is assumed to be "a tight little ride"). One scene revolves around a female character faking an orgasm; in another, a woman's naked body is shown from the side as she lies face-down on a bed, although no sensitive body parts are visible.


Audible language includes words like "pissed off," "douche bag," "damn," "ass" and "bitch."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters are occasionally shown using both legal (alcohol, tobacco) and illegal (cocaine, marijuana) substances.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that while this drama isn't exactly age-inappropriate for older teens, its strong violence (gunshot wounds, stabbings, etc.) and sexual innuendo (slang, partial nudity) make it a better fit for its intended audience -- adults. Scenes include a murdered girl is shown with her chest cut open, a woman faking an orgasm over the phone in an attempt to convince a male caller that she's having sex with another woman, and more. Language includes words like "bitch" and "ass," and characters smoke, drink, and use drugs.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 2, 2, 3, 3, 5, and 7-year-old Written byMarshall78 August 16, 2009

Very Good Show!

We watch this show every Sunday. My husband and I record the eipsodes for later and if we agree sometimes our oldest daughter can watch it.
Adult Written bymzkat7 April 9, 2008
Teen, 13 years old Written byFluffy cow June 3, 2021

What's the story?

In IN PLAIN SIGHT, Mary McCormack stars as U.S. marshal Mary Shannon, a woman who makes her living helping others as part of a highly secretive government-sponsored witness protection program. Mary's job is demanding enough without the added drama from her cocktail-guzzling mother (Lesley Ann Warren) and rebellious younger sister (Nichole Hiltz), not to mention her "relationship" with on-again-off-again boyfriend Raphael (Cristian de la Fuente). Good thing her partner (Frederick Weller) remains a platonic friend -- at least for now.

Is it any good?

Mary is a refreshingly different kind of female role model -- the kind of woman who doesn't think twice about barging into a men's bathroom, belittling the size of a man's "equipment," and, seconds later, chucking a bar of soap at his genitals. But the show's writers also strive to make Mary real by saddling her with imperfection when it comes to her personal life. Whether this is a deliberate attempt to make her relatable or a subtle statement about whether women can truly have it all isn't clear. But maybe it's a little of both.

The show's plots can tend toward the convoluted, and secondary characters often come off as two-dimensional. But with its unique take on girl power, In Plain Sight is likely to find an audience. After all, there aren't many other shows about a take-charge kind of woman who eschews power pumps for a gun and a sensible pair of shoes.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the fact that the show's central character is a strong-willed woman with visible flaws. Does Mary's habit of keeping lists tell viewers anything about her personality? As a woman working in a predominantly male field, what types of challenges does she face on the job? What techniques and/or strategies does she use to overcome them? Do you admire Mary? Why or why not? Can you think of other heroines like her on TV? Why are there more male leads in series like this than female ones?

TV details

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate