Mary Catherine McCormack (born February 8, 1969)[1] is an American actress. She has had leading roles as Justine Appleton in the series Murder One(1995–97), as Deputy National Security Adviser Kate Harper in The West Wing (2004–06) and as Mary Shannon in In Plain Sight (2008–12).

Her film roles include Private Parts (1997); Deep Impact (1998); True Crime (1999); High Heels and Low Lifes (2001); K-PAX (2001); Right at Your Door(2006), and 1408 (2007).


 [hide*1 Early life

Early life[edit]Edit

McCormack was born in Plainfield, New Jersey.[1] She is the daughter of clinical therapist Norah and car dealership and ice cream parlor owner William McCormack.[2] Her parents divorced in 1990.[3] She has a sister Bridget, a former professor of law at the University of Michigan Law School[4] and justice of the Michigan Supreme Court,[5] and a brother William, an actor[6] who has appeared in a recurring role as FBI agent Robert O'Connor on In Plain Sight.

In 1983, McCormack graduated from the Wardlaw-Hartridge School in Edison, New Jersey. In 1991, she received her BA in comparative arts, specifically painting and creative writing, from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.[7]


McCormack began her acting career at age 12, performing in Gian Carlo Menotti's Christmas operaAmahl and the Night Visitors.[citation needed] She continued her stage work in musicals and finished an acting program at the William Esper Studio.[3] She has worked in New York theater productions, including The Atlantic Theater Company, Alice's 4th Floor, and Naked Angels, where she appeared in Jon Robin Baitz's A Fair Country.[citation needed]

McCormack portrayed Justine Appleton on Murder One (1995–1997)[3] and also starred in the HBO series K Street, which aired for only ten episodes.[citation needed] She starred in Howard Stern's moviePrivate Parts in 1997.[3] In 2004, McCormack joined the cast of The West Wing as Deputy National Security Advisor and ex-CIA officer Kate Harper. Her character soon became a recurring role and remained throughout the last three seasons until the series finale.[8]

McCormack starred in USA Network series In Plain Sight. She portrayed Mary Shannon, a deputy United States marshal attached to the Albuquerque, New Mexico, office of the Federal Witness Security Program (WITSEC), more commonly known as the Federal Witness Protection Program. On July 28, 2010, the show was renewed for its fourth and fifth seasons, to run in 2011 and 2012.[9] The show was cancelled in 2011, making the fifth season its last.[10] After its end, McCormack was cast as the lead in Kari Lizer's untitled comedy pilot on ABC.[11]

McCormack was nominated for the 2008 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play for the role of Gretchen in the 2008 Broadway revival of Boeing Boeing.[12]

In 2012, McCormack re-united with the cast of West Wing to film a video that served both as a reminder that US voters should vote for non-partisan candidates when they cast their ballots and as a video promoting McCormack's sister's ultimately successful judicial candidacy for the Michigan State Supreme Court.[13]

Personal life[edit]Edit

In July 2003, McCormack married director and producer Michael Morris.[14] They have three daughters, Margaret (born c. 2004), Rose (born c. 2007), and Lillian (born 2011).[15]

McCormack is the godmother of In Plain Sight co-star Fred Weller's daughter.[16]


Year Title Role Notes
1994 Miracle on 34th Street Myrna Foy
1995 Backfire![citation needed] Sarah Jackson
1997 Colin Fitz Lives! Moira
1997 Private Parts Alison Stern
1997 Fathers' Day Virginia Farrell (uncredited)
1997 The Alarmist Sally
1998 Deep Impact Andrea Baker
1998 Harvest[citation needed] Agent Becka Anslinger
1999 Getting to Know You[citation needed] Leila Lee
1999 True Crime Michelle Ziegler
1999 Mystery, Alaska Donna Biebe
1999 The Big Tease Monique
2000 Other Voices[citation needed] Anna
2000 The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy Anne
2000 Gun Shy Gloria Minetti Nesstra
2000 East of A[citation needed] Daphne
2001 BigLove Phoebe Short film
2001 High Heels and Low Lifes Frances
2001 World Traveler Margaret
2001 K-PAX Rachel Powell
2002 Full Frontal Linda
2003 Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star Grace Finney
2005 Madison Bonnie McCormick
2006 Right at Your Door Lexi
2006 For Your Consideration Pilgrim Woman
2007 1408 Lily
2009 Streetcar[citation needed] Casting Director Short film
2012 Should've Been Romeo[citation needed] Ellen
2013 Escape from Polygamy[citation needed]
Year Title Role Notes
1994 Law & Order Rickie Episode: "Doubles"
1995 The Wright Verdicts[citation needed] Beth Eckhart Episode: "Family Matters"
1995–1997 Murder One Justine Appleton 41 episodes
1997 Murder One: Diary of a Serial Killer[citation needed] Justine Appleton TV miniseries
2001 More, Patience[citation needed] Patience More TV movie
2002 Julie Lydecker[citation needed] Julie Lydecker TV movie
2003 K Street Maggie Morris 10 episodes
2003 ER Debbie Episode: "The Lost"

Episode: "Makemba"

2004 Traffic Carole McKay TV miniseries
2004–2006 The West Wing Kate Harper 48 episodes
2006 ER Debbie 4 episodes
2008 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Mary Shannon Episode: "Contract"
2008–2012 In Plain Sight Mary Shannon 61 episodes, lead role
2013 Welcome to the Family Caroline Yoder 5 episodes
Year Title Role Notes
1999 Cabaret Sally Bowles Replacement
2008 Boeing-Boeing Gretchen

Year Title Notes
2010 In Plain Sight Episode: "Father Goes West"
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