During the course of her birthday, US Marshal Mary Shannon tries to find out how a mob hit-man's son under her protection in WITSEC became one of the victims in a double homicide.
During the course of her birthday (and a dreaded "surprise" party thrown by her mother), US Marshal Mary Shannon tries to find out how a mob hit-man's son under her protection in the Witness Protection Program became one of the victims in a double homicide.
U.S. Federal Marshal Mary Shannon, an agent for the witness protection program, and her partner Marshall Mann, work to keep federally protected witnesses safe in Albuquerque, New Mexico. When the son of a protected witness is murdered, Mary works diligently to find his killer while dealing with a flaky mother, Jinx, an "on again - off again" boyfriend, Raphael, an unwelcome "surprise" birthday party, and the arrival of her little sister, Brandi, who carries with her a world of trouble.
- A family full of Sopranos-style extras head to the beach for the day. On the way, pops has to stop and kill a colleague. He shoots him through his apartment door only to find that his victim has tumbled out of the window onto the car of his wife and teenage son waiting below. "I have no idea how that happened" he tells his aghast wife. The police pull up.
A screen tells us this is Francis Amato Sr., relocated to Albuquerque by the Federal Witness Protection Program.
Cut to Albuquerque. A crass woman pulls up in a crappy car and bickers with her partner, telling a parking attendant she's a U.S. Marshal. Mary lies to her sister about not being able to pick her up. The partners banter. She's grouchy because it's her birthday and she knows there's a surprise party planned for her. In her voice over she says that the program isn't just for mobsters - some are just unfortunate witnesses. A screen introduces Tasha, one such witness, as they pick her up from the train station.
Stan, her boss, calls. He tells her that Frankie's son was shot last night. Stan tells her to drop Tasha off before going to check out the murder. Mary holds her phone out the window like there's static and hangs up, a stunt repeated by her partner when Stan calls him. Rascally marshals.
She hopes it's not Frankie's kid. She meets the officer on scene, Bobby Dershowitz. He's black. "It's along story," he says of the name. She's curt with him and won't give any info.
Bobby theorizes that maybe someone was mad at the dad of the dead girl found with the kid. He's a land developer with an unpopular project. The girl was shot in the head and cut open while still alive. Maybe she was the target.
Cut to Mary's hot friend, Raphael. He pulls up in a bad neighborhood and leaves Mary's sister Brandi waiting in the car. Raphael gives a priest tickets to a game. So you know he's a good guy. He calls Mary. He's proud of himself for taking Brandi to a bad neighborhood to freak her out. Mary informs him her sister is something of a car thief. Brandi squeals off in his ride.
At an apartment, Mary drops off Tasha and she freaks out that her old life is gone and she wasn't even allowed to take pictures. Mary gives her a warm fuzzy pep talk about this being a chance to build a new future, but only if she never contacts anyone from her past. In the history of the program, no one who has followed the rules in the program has ever been harmed. Mary promises to get her cable turned on and bring her groceries. Tasha stops crying long enough to ask when she's getting her new breasts, as promised.
At the morgue, Frankie Sr. and his wife show up. He plows through body bags to find his son Frankie Jr.'s body. He's distraught and leaves. Mary runs after him, telling him if he does what she thinks he's going to do, he'll blow his plea agreement. He gives her 24 hours before he exacts his version of justice.
At the office, her partner Marshall the Marshal (really) chitchats with Stan about birthday presents. Stan's trying to find the right one for Mary and failing.
In voiceover, Mary is peeved someone has killed her witness' son. She walks into a bar frequented by some of the bikers she saw at the crime scene that morning. She tries to bully the Native American bartender, ending with help me before "some white guy in Washington goes all little Big Horn on your ass." He asks if she's kidding. She breaks her tough mode and asks if she laid it on too thick. He explains it was "you guys that got your asses kicked at Little Big Horn." And today's his first day of work, so he really can't help. Point is: Mary's not afraid of anyone.
She follows a guy into the bathroom, asking if he killed those two kids. After some chitchat about his small "wee wee" she throws a bar of soap at his privates to get him to talk. He explains that the developer of the site that morning is also Native American, Edwin Talltrees.
She goes to visit him. He's not surprised to see her since they were killed on his land. He says he knew the dead girl, Sienna, for years, since he was friends with her dad. She and his son Kyle were friends. Mary asks to speak to the son. The teenager comes out to talk to her. He says he wasn't friends with Sienna any more since his dad and hers had a falling out. She asks for his alibi and gets the same answer she got from his dad. She leaves suspicious.
She goes home to deal with her bratty sister and needy mother. Raphael and Brandi argue. Then Mary intervenes and ends up arguing with Raphael. Her family clearly has no idea what she does. Mary calls her sister a "virus." It ends with Brandi throwing Raphael's car keys in the pool and him responding by tossing her in.
Marshall calls Mary to tell her to go talk to Sienna's best friend. Mary goes to talk to the friend at her job, trying on clothes before breaking the news to her. She says that Sienna and Frankie weren't going out, she was just going to deflower him. The friend says Sienna had a secret boyfriend that she wouldn't talk about. Then she says they broke up a month ago.
Next, Marshall and Mary go to follow up on a call from a mobster's phone to Frankie. Richie, the guy who called, has a bad rap sheet full of violence and is a murder suspect. They think maybe Frankie Sr. was trying to broker a deal with the Family. The maid at the hotel tells them (with sign language, which Marshall apparently knows), that Frankie and his wife have checked out. Mary doesn't want to hassle with a warrant so she dials New York-based Richie directly and introduces herself as "Nomi" and does a gooey, breathless stripper voice to him, saying she wants to party. She starts to describe the things her girlfriend is doing to her, complete with sex noises to rival Meg Ryan. As Marshall shakes his head, doubting the ruse will work, Richie says he'd love to party, but can't because he's in Albuquerque. She even gets him to tell her where he's staying.
They head out there and while talking to him Mary gets a call from Frankie.
She goes to find him at a church. She asks Frankie how Richie has his number. Frankie says it wasn't him. His wife says she wasn't talking to anyone, just talking on email to Richie's wife. She thinks she's responsible for her son's death.
At the office, Marshall tells Stan they don't have anything to hold Richie on. Mary wants to talk to him before the FBI gets there.
Richie opens his part of the interview with a lewd sexual comment. Mary upends the table on him, threatens him and gets nothing.
Mary goes to talk to Bobby the police officer to pump him for information. He's gotten nowhere on finding the secret boyfriend. He says there's nothing to connect Talltrees or his son to the murder. He asks where Frankie's parents are, she suggests they're on vacation. He doesn't buy it. He offers an astute but unflattering character assessment of her. She walks out.
Mary visits Raphael. She's quickly making slightly more authentic Meg Ryan noises. They end up naked and sweaty.
He asks if she'd be mad if he skipped her surprise party. She says he should do what he wants. Then she says she doesn't have a right to care what he does because their relationship is just based on sex. She's lying, as the sniffles later in her car prove.
She goes back to the office. Marshall tells him after she left Richie cut a deal to flip on his family. Not only is he now in the program, he just walked out of his safe house. And Mary told Frankie Sr. and his wife they could spend one last night at home.
She races to their house. There's no answer. She pulls out her cell phone and calls Richie. It rings inside Frankie's home. The door opens and there are shots. Frankie's mom has shot Richie and is holding a gun on her husband. She blames him. Mary tells her her "festering crapbag of a husband" isn't worth throwing her life away for. She tells her that she can get a divorce in the program and live separately from Frankie. She gives up the gun.
Mary tells Frankie his wife will probably be relocated. He tells her the clock is still ticking. She replies that by this time tomorrow, he'll have been relocated and be someone else's problem.
Mary goes to her house with Marshall, dreading the surprise that waits inside. She soldiers on. Mom's drunk. Stan gives Mary her present, after having earlier returned perfume and fancy shoes. Cash.
Mary goes to talk to Brandi. Brandi is sobbing and apologizing. Mary tells her she wants Brandi to stop doing stuff to make her own life miserable. They hug and make up. Brandi gives Mary her birthday present, a necklace that matches Sienna's tattoo. A Native American totem from "the Los Lobos tribe." But she gets the meaning right. Brandi tells her it means "may you always sleep under the tall trees." A lightbulb goes off in Mary's head.
Mary goes to follow up. After she leaves Brandi locks her door and opens her suitcase. It's packed with bags of cocaine. She snorts some.
Police pull up to the Talltrees house. Mary bangs on the door with Marshall and Bobby. As they enter the house to search, Mary sees a photo of Kyle with his shirt off. He has a tattoo that matches Sienna's. They find him about to hang himself ineffectually from a ceiling fan. They take him into custody. He killed her because she broke up with him. His dad says he'll get his son off because he's rich. Mary warns him that Frankie Sr. is probably coming.
Back at home, Mary finds a card from Raphael. It says: "I don't accept your definition of us."
She falls asleep and wakes up, realizing she's forgotten to bring Tasha her groceries. She also brought her a Playboy, to help her pick out her new boobs. Full service.