7:25 AM

The day many of us have impatiently been waiting for is finally here! Our long wait is over — kick-ass Federal Agent Mary Shannon is back, and personally, I can't wait to see what happens next.

Shannon, played by Mary McCormack, along with her partner Marshall (Frederick Weller), are U.S. Marshals in the WITSEC Program. WITSEC is the branch of the witness protection program that relocates federal witnesses. Many of those relocated are career criminals, or people who were unlucky enough to witness a crime. The unfortunate problem all of them have is that somebody, somewhere wants them dead. Mary and her partner Marshall ( I know... Marshall the marshal!) are there to make sure that these people don't end up dead.

Unfortunately, Mary also has to deal with her unbelievably dysfunctional family — her mother (Lesley Ann Warren) and her sister (Nichole Hiltz). The series also stars Paul Ben-Victor, Cristian de la Fuente, and Todd Williams.

The series was the number one new original series of the year for 2008 and it's easy to see why. There's a lot of great action, drama, and best of all, smart, intelligent humor abounds.

I fell in love with this series for its quirky characters and the originality of the script. The show isn't set in New York or Los Angeles, but rather in Albuquerque, New Mexico and is shot completely on location.

One of the things that I love about the show is that Mary is so strong when she's on the job and then she goes home to the dysfunction of her family. I've found it interesting to watch her struggle between her love for her family and doing what her job calls on her to do. This is good drama. The dialogue is smart and quick and if you're not listening closely you're likely to miss some gems.

The first episode of the new season won't disappoint fans. "Gilted Lily" sees the addition of a new face (Holly Maples) who is the new administrative assistant in the U.S. Marshals' office. I'm expecting to see lots of sparks flying between her and Mary this season as she tries to change things around the office.

The new season opens up where last season left off. Mary is on administrative leave as she recovers from last season’s kidnapping. Her sister is trying to recover from the death of her boyfriend and mom is still obsessing over “The Letters”. When one of Mary’s witnesses turns up dead, Mary ditches the administrative leave and jumps in to solve the case even as post-traumatic stress disorder kicks in and she struggles to deal with it. “Gilted Lily” is the exciting, smart, fun episode we’ve all fallen in love with and come to expect from this series. Trust me, if you were a fan last year, you’re not going to want to miss a single minute of the new season.

I know where I'm going to be Sunday night — settled on the couch with a big bowl of popcorn watching my girl Mary kick some criminal ass!

The show airs Sunday, April 19 at 10/9c on USA Network.

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Every year we lose more people to AIDS. It hasn't disappeared and it's not going away anytime soon. I urge you to seek out and support your local AIDS Organizations. Encourage everyone you know to practice safe sex and to get tested once a year. Even if you don't think you are at risk, get tested. I didn't think I was at risk either, and I almost died before I was diagnosed.


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