‘In Plain Sight’ a Bittersweet Experience for Stephen Lang

Esteemed actor and playwright Stephen Lang admits his experience playing Mary McCormack’s father on “In Plain Sight” was “bittersweet.  It was kind of a poignant thing to do, in a way.  Here they are, having forged their stamp on the show for five seasons and now they’re coming to the end of it.  And I walked right into the myth.  My character is not in any way an ancillary character.  He’s central to the show.  So I was part of the family without ever having been part of the family, and then it was over.”

The “Avatar” actor came aboard the USA Network show – which has its final two episodes tonight (4/27) and next Friday (5/4) — right on the heels of doing Fox’s “Terra Nova.”  That Steven Spielberg production debuted with high hopes and ambitions, but soon wound up succumbing to the cancellation dragon. “There’s no question that I had similar hopes for my own show to have a long life, and that we were in the process of creating a family there as well,” says Lang.  “So, yes, on ‘In Plain Sight’ I got to see an example of what might have been.”

MacCormack told Lang that the question of who would play her estranged, long-on-the-lam dad “had been under discussion for a long, long time.  The fact they wanted me to play it went a long way toward helping me, I think.  But I’m used to playing characters who bring a lot of baggage with them,” notes Lang, whose gallery of characters includes Babe Ruth, Stonewall Jackson and gunslinger Ike Clanton.

Right now, Lang is in Kentucky, playing a high school coach in the indie feature “23 Blast.”  As for what he’d like to do next in a perfect world, he comments, “I enjoyed my last stint in network television.  I love the idea of creating a character over a long period of time.  But I’m a superstitious cat; I don’t like to talk too much about what’s next.  I’m always looking for good projects, and I generate work for myself.”  He laughs, then adds, “If they’d only give me a sitcom.  That’s the best job in television.”