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.
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.