'In Plain Sight': Ponzi schemes, kidnapping, and identity theft

Marymccormack_frederickweller_inplainsight_s2_290 Tonight's "In Plain Sight" began with a whistleblower bringing down a Ponzi scheme -- not quite a "ripped from the headlines" Bernie Madoff retell, but enough intrigue to put the Mary/Marshall relationship mostly on the back burner. Though it's still simmering.

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Whistlebowing and restitution: Wall Street tycoon Phillip Ashmore (the excellent James Frain) has an investment business that he's found out is being dragged down by a Madoff-like shyster named Arnie Ford, and turns him in, then goes into WITSEC. It's not an easy transition for him -- he's the sole surviving heir to the Ashmore fortune, and the name is hugely important to him. As part of going into the program, he wants to turn over all $137 million of his assets to the people who were ripped off in the Ponzi scheme, as an attempt to make amends for letting it happen more or less on his watch. "That is the most selfless act of contrition I've ever heard of -- you, sir, are to be admired," Marshall tells him. Mary, meanwhile, has been getting the story from Ashmore's incredibly understanding wife, Camille, and greets him with "Hello dumbass."

So the Ashmores are doing their best in their new life -- then Phillip calls Mary saying he needs $5 million of his assets back -- but his story is really fishy, and Camille is nowhere to be found. Getting the story out of Phillip is like pulling teeth, but it turns out that Camille's been kidnapped -- and doesn't have her insulin kit with her. They end up tracing the bills that were used to pay to fill her prescription, and find out that the kidnapper is Randy Murray of Blacksburg, West Virginia -- whose brother, Roy, died in the same ferry boat accident in India that killed Phillip's parents many years ago. Roy and Phillip were very close friends -- almost brothers -- at Oxford, and he was with the Ashmore family on a post-graduation trip to Asia. Phillip couldn't save Roy from drowning, so when Randy tracked him down, Phillip paid him $10,000 a month -- payments that stopped when Phillip and Camille entered WITSEC.

Ah, but of course there's a wrinkle. Phillip wears a wire to drop of the money, and Mary and Marshall are following. Randy instructs Phillip to meet him at a railroad crossing in the desert to make the drop. Camille's safe, but after their reunion Mary and Marshall confront Phillip about the rest of his story. Turns out that Roy was an accomplished swimmer, not likely to panic in the water, as Phillip said he did. But Phillip is actually Roy -- and has been pretending to be him for all of these years. He and Phillip looked enough alike to pass, so when the British consul came to him and said everything had been taken care of, Mr. Ashmore, he didn't 'fess up. And as Phillip, he'd been an excellent steward of the Ashmore name and fortune, so it's actually hard to even hate the guy. He's mortified at the thought of telling Camille, but Mary encourages him to come clean, assuring him that regardless of his name, he is the person he is. Is it me, or is Mary getting more patient and empathetic (though not too much)?

The cold shoulder: The Mary/Marshall tension manifests itself a little bit differently this week, stemming from Marshall finding out that Mary has told Raph that she works for WITSEC -- which essentially outs him too, and he's annoyed. He pretty much gives Mary the silent treatment throughout the episode, but seems to come around a little bit, though it's clear that he's partly pissed because now their work is no longer something that only he and Mary share. Later, while playing a drunken game of computer chess at the office with an 11-year-old Pakistani girl ("She's extremely...wily."), he tells Mary he knows why she told Raph: to paint herself into a corner and force herself to make the relationship work. Which isn't entirely untrue, though Mary disputes the details. She spends her working life with career criminals, all of whom know what she does for a living, she tells him. And she refuses to believe that those miscreants aren't somehow more trustworthy than the man she's going to marry.

As if that's not enough in the evolving humanity (and I say this as a big Mary fan who loves her prickly personality as much as her caring), we watch Mary get mad at Raph for researching WITSEC and manage to forgive him all in the span of just a couple of days. That's progress. And given how she does it -- giving him a book on WITSEC and having a shockingly normal moment with him in bed at the end of the day -- it seems as though she's learning how to relax into some normal relationship rhythms. It's also going to make it harder to give full credence to the Mary-and-Raph-don't-belong-together premise that's been developing. Stay tuned.


Choice quotes:

As Mary browses cheesy porn titles on the motel TV where she and Marshall are staking out, Marshall weighs in: "'Rachel Getting Larried' had a nice twist at the end, storywise."

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Bobby D, watching the Marshall-and-Mary tension show, asks what's wrong with them, and Mary replies: "We've been trying to get pregnant, and the strain is getting to him."


What did you think? Will Marshall confess his feelings sooner rather than later? Were you surprised at how quickly Mary seemed to let go of being angry at Raph? Got any predictions for next week's season finale?

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