Mary McCormack talks 'In Plain Sight' pregnancy twist: 'She's not maternal'


Image Credit: Robert Ascroft/USA Network

On tonight’s episode of In Plain Sight, star Mary McCormack’s character is learning what fans have been told to expect for months (ever since they were told the actress’s real-life pregnancy would be worked into the show): She’s expecting.

Unlike the fans, the news comes as a shock to the hard-talking character. In a chat with EW, McCormack previewed the big changes coming for Mary Shannon and talked about the effect this baby twist will have on the rest of the season.

EW: So did you have butterflies about the decision to work in the pregnancy?
MARY MCCORMACK: Yeah. It was an odd sort of decision because I found out I was pregnant just days before we were shooting, and I couldn’t really tell anyone right away because at my age, if I lost the baby or something, it would break my heart if they wrote it in. So we waited for a while. Golly, I told everyone pretty early, though. I told the showrunners and the head of the network. We all talked about the pros and cons of hiding it and embracing it. The more we talked about it, we thought, “What a cool development for this particular character.” She’s not maternal; she’s an action lady. She loves to be alone and such a grump about kids. The more we talked about it, the more it seemed like a great opportunity for the show. But yeah, I was a little nervous. But also, I was excited. I’d hidden a pregnancy on a show before, but this is challenging and fun in a different way.

What show were you pregnant on before?
I was pregnant on The West Wing when I first joined. I was pregnant with my first little girl, Margaret. I was pretty well pregnant, and I shot right until the end. Then I came back seven days later. The glory of West Wing was that we had huge desks and computers and I wore big suits. But on this show, it would have been much [harder]. Over there, I was one of a cast of a million. And on this show, I’m in almost every shot and in jeans. There’s nowhere to hide. That was another consideration. Hiding it would have been a big challenge.

She would have had to strategically stand behind cars and costars.
Yeah. And once we started talking about embracing it, it became so much fun because it’s something lots of women deal with. Forget the fact that she’s not maternal, it’s also interesting because it’s something women deal with a lot. How do you balance your job and the changes that happen to a pregnant body.

On the show, when do we find out who the father is? Because Mary slept with her ex-husband last week, so…
I know who the father is, obviously, because we’re filming the last episode right now, but I think you find out this Sunday night. I think we talk about who the father is.

So in a nutshell, what can you say about how this will affect Mary?
Well, she’s on a desk now, which kills Mary. She has no interest in paperwork or being in the office. She enjoys fieldwork and being in the center of the action. It’s frustrating for her, another thing to make her grouchy. And it’s also foreign; it’s nothing she wanted. It’s not like she has the joy. Most women get pregnant and even though it’s a challenge physically and uncomfortable, they generally wanted to be pregnant. She really doesn’t want to be pregnant. It’s been really interesting to play. She can’t believe she’s in the bathroom that much, she’s angry about throwing up and her boob size.

So it never crosses her mind to not have the baby? Obviously you all wanted to write it in, but as a character, does she ever think that?
No. Although, she is giving it up for adoption. Where we are now, I don’t know what they have planned for the future, but right now, there’s episodes where she’s talked to people. I don’t know where they’ll end up with that. No one’s told me. We’re sort of winging it. [Laughs] Bless the writers’ hearts. I threw them a curve.

This has also been a lesson in humility for me, because I’m actually pregnant. It’s not just when girls wear those pregnant bellies. Like, my neck is fat.

C’mon now.
I’m pregnant! There’s nothing wrong. It’s not glamorous. I’m doing it for real.

Speaking of which, are you hanging in there?
I’m hangin’ in there. But we’re stopping just in time. The baby’s head it down, and I feel a lot more discomfort throughout the day. But I’m fine. I’m from durable stock. I’m made to work. I’m Irish.

Last, what can you say about the effect this pregnancy has on Mary and Marshall’s relationship?
This season, he’s in the really stable, sweet relationship, and they get more and more serious throughout the season. It’s a big change for my character. Not only is her body changing in this way she had no desire for, she’s also watching her partner and best friend spend most of his time with another woman. That’s another bump in the road for them. I don’t know where they’ll end up. I guess it depends on how long our show goes on.

Comments (132 total) Add your comment
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  • Amit

    I hope the writers don’t have the character give the baby up for adoption – it’s a legit option, of course, but since Mary Shannon is so tough on the outside, it will be interesting to watch her soften.

    • KwadGuy

      Mary can’t keep the baby, unless they’re ready to end the show. The dynamics of having a baby to take care of would kill the show.

      She can put it up for adoption, she can lose the baby during birth, or her Sister can take the baby. But having Mary be in charge of the baby just isn’t going to work.

      • Shorty

        I agree I cam not see mary having the baby. Not to be mean but losing it would be the right way, then you would have to deal with the emotions of losing a baby.

      • Wendy

        ….so I have lost my first born daughter at birth and it was not pleasant to say the very least….I do not think that should be an option for the type of show this is and it is extremely crude for it to even be a thought just as abortion ( even though an abortion is a choice, losing a child by the hands of God is NOT a choice).

      • abstrr


      • Marti French

        Have you never heard of daycare???

      • Cathy

        Her ex could sue for custody, stating that Mary’s job has her keeping long hours and that she wouldn’t be a fit mothet.

      • Kaitlin

        She can keep her baby! And it is her kid and I am pretty sure that she will keep!!!!!!!!!

      • carl

        she should keep the baby.

  • Michael

    they will most likely have the dad take it away or social services

  • P Kelly

    Tired of all the preganancies on TV and especially after 1 night. Also runins the Mary-Marshall future. You should’ve hidden it. Ruins the whole show.

    • Martha

      It’s definitely realistic to get pregnant after one night, it happens to people all the time!

      • Sheri

        I got pregnant in one night with my second child. Believe me, it can be done!

      • D Rosencrance

        My Dears, It happens in one night Every time. I can’t think of a way that there was more than one night for any of the four children my wife and I have. :-)

  • JRWT

    I hate it when they do this to working women.

    • Sara

      It happens to real working women all the time! They have to deal with it changing their lives, I think we can handle it in a (totally awesome) show.

    • Mara

      I agree. Seems like *every* female lead eventually gets knocked up. It’s like the writers have never heard of contraception, Plan B, or abortion (not that abortion would ever be considered, since it’d be too contraversial to even *suggest* she might choose abortion). A woman as worldly as Mary would have been on a contceptive regimen, or if she wasn’t, would be down at the pharmacy getting Plan B as soon as she woke up after unprotected sex.

      I guess male writers tend to subscribe to the idea that women simply HAVE to breed at some point. Can’t have a woman be portrayed as successful and fulfilled without ever having had a bun in the oven, you know. Just wouldn’t be right.

      • Jenn

        I don’t think they intended for the character to ever get pregnant. But since Mary McCormack is pregnant in real life they decided to write it into the show.

  • diane

    Im not happy about it..Im glad abortion isnt an option..but adoption..I hope the decision isnt easy for getting rid of a toy she doesnt want anymore. Its going to chage the show for sure..Well see. I like the show Illl keep watching..Would have been better if her sister was the one pregnant

  • Michael

    How come a Baby ruins the show but the two main star hooking up doesn’t for you guys

    • bkwrm

      I know! I don’t get why everyone thinks that Mary and Marshall have to get together. Why can’t they stay best friends? Is there some sort of rule that main characters MUST get together? That to me would ruin the show. But I’m definitely curious to see what happens to Mary with this baby.

  • ME

    I think it is better to put the real pregnancy into the script, Ms. McCormack is one of those women whose face and chest show she’s pregnant.
    I would like to see how they handle it – but too many other shows I have liked kept the babies and ruined the show.
    It would, I think, be good to show an adult woman handling putting her child up for adoption in a realistic way.

    • NB

      uhhh remember Brandy last season – she was HUGE and they didn’t write it in. I do agree with you about showing how an adult woman handles putting up a child for adoption.

  • MWeyer

    This will be interesting to see Mary changed by this but I agree, the fact is, this is pretty much a horrible canidate for being a mother and she herself knows a kid is better off without her.

  • suz

    please have her give it up for adoption – it would be so out of character for her to be soft

    • awin

      it would also be out of character for her to give the child away. mary is all about struggle, especially when it comes to family. it would be interesting to see her struggle to balance it all. that’s who mary is

  • Justin

    This should be interesting. Mary Shannon definitely isn’t the mothering type, so whether she keeps the baby, or gives it up for adoption is the big question on my mind?

  • Daniel

    Personally with her character and luck she has she should lose it at birth. You can have a whole story line about how bad she doesn’t want to be a mother. But as she gets closer to having the baby she starts to change her mind. But losing the child would be the same as losing her father. It’s part of what made her strong to begin with. Pain in her life is what she knows and getting back to work afterwards is the only thing that keeps her going.

  • ButtMonkey

    I hope she gets shot in the stomach and loses the baby! Wouldn’t it be cool if a prisoner gets free of an officer for a brief moment, grabs the officers gun and fires… Cut to Mary with blood seeping thru her shirt and her collapsing… So dramatic and sad.

    • UpAllNight

      Aside from being totally sick to wish that, Mary’s already been shot in the stomach once. Repeat plot lines are horrible.

  • UpAllNight

    I had a friend whose mother had the same personality as the character Mary. All 7 of her kids turned out ok, so it wouldn’t be a complete disaster if Mary kept the baby. Besides, she’d have plenty of help.

    • Buffy Freak

      Plenty of help? Like from that wacko mother of hers and that annoying sister? I admire Mary for working during her pregnancy but I wish it wasn’t going to be part of the show at all.

  • Vago

    I like the “giving it up for adoption” angle…seems more realistic. She could sell it to a rich couple and get enough $ to hire a hit squad to do away with her loser family…what I’d give if they’d write out sis/mom – mind boggling idiots.

    • Buffy Freak

      Agreed…I like this show for the most part but when the episode revolves around Brandy or Jinx, I’m tuning out.

  • jfms777

    The pregnancy will be remembered as when the show “jumped the shark.” The ratings have been
    sliding for 2 seasons. This will clinch it. Too bad because Mary deserves better.

    • Jumping the Shark, Really? Extreme much?

      Wow, that’s possibly the worst accusation of “jumping the shark” I’ve ever heard. Jumping the shark refers to something that is unrealistic and clearly improbable, e.g., Fonzie jumping a shark, but unplanned pregnancy is possibly the realest thing around when it comes to sex. People get pregnant all the time without planning it and are thoroughly surprised by it, so no I wouldn’t call this “jumping the shark”, more like “jumping over a mud puddle”, which is just as likely to happen in life. And viewership fall all the time for shows; the show as maintained consistent ratings with lower drops than most other tv shows (It’s still in the 3-low 4 millions), with viewership mirroring the ratings from the first three seasons (yes that includes season 1). So no, the pregnancy will not be remembered as the show “jumping the shark” (seriously, that’s just ridiculous), and it is most definitely not losing viewers. Would you rather the writers hide her behind cars, costars, and desks (sorry couldn’t think of a third rhyme)? I would hate that show.

      • Kaitlin

        I agree I wouldn’t want to see her hiding behind cars, costars, and desks! So what if she is pregnant it is a natural part of life wether you like it or not!

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