You're busy and only have time for so many murders per week. So which TV procedurals are actually worth your time? We consulted the plot descriptions for this week's grisliest dramas and, below, offer our best advice on how to manage your viewing schedule.
Hawaii Five-O (CBS), “Ka Hakaka Maika'i" (Monday at 10 p.m.)
“The FIVE-0's investigation into the murder of a wealthy restaurant owner causes McGarrett to take part in a charity MMA fight to the finish. Former MMA Champion Chuck Liddell guest stars as himself.”
Let's take this piece by piece. The "wealthy restaurant owner" part is promising; his or her corpse will be probably be discovered on location, possibly under a giant chandelier but more likely on a cold steel kitchen counter, maybe with a fork plunged in an eyeball? Chuck Liddel’s presence is less welcome, as he’s a regular cameo whore (sir, Drillbit Taylor?). And "fight to the finish" sounds like "fight to the death," but that’s misleading: McGarret is lead actor Alex O'Loughlin, meaning he will probably neither be murdering anyone nor being murdered. Disappointing news for anyone who sat through The Back-Up Plan.
The Mentalist (CBS), “Where in the World is Carmine O’Brien” (Thursday at 10 p.m.)
“When the CBI team travels to a resort town to find out who murdered a police chief, Lisbon crosses paths with her brother Tommy, now a bounty hunter, who's tracking a bail jumper. Henry Thomas (ET: The Extra-Terrestrial) guest stars as Tommy, Lisbon's younger brother.”
Classic juxtaposition: the world's natural beauty, via presumably breathtaking resort-town vistas, mashed up with its inherent ugliness, via the brutal slaying of a public servant. But where, friends, is the gore? Still, the murder could be bloodless and pedestrian and we'd still DVR this to see Henry Thomas, a.k.a. all-grown-up Elliott from E.T..
CSI: NY (CBS), “Get Me Out of Here!” (Friday at 9 p.m.)
“The CSIs investigate when a fraternity prank goes awry on Halloween and a pledge master is left for dead in an open grave.”
Some real wish-fulfillment here: who hasn’t fantasized about “accidentally” killing a frat guy? For maximum verisimilitude, shotgun a Milwaukee’s Best while watching.
CSI: Miami (CBS), “By the Book” (Sunday at 10 p.m.)
“In a deserted mansion, the CSIs find a body hanging that appears to have been killed by a vampire. Diane Farr guest stars as Marilyn Milner, author of a series of vampire books. Johnathon Schaech (That Thing You Do!) guest stars as Marilyn's editor.”
‘You’re just doing a vampire episode now, CSI:Miami?,” you might be thinking. “How embarrassing!” But we're hopeful: if the show wants to compete with the fake vampire murders of its procedural peers, it’s going to have to get pretty weird. Prediction: Johnathon Scheach totally did it to boost sales.
Body of Proof (ABC), “Second Chances” (Tuesday at 10 p.m.)
“A tragic horse accident turns into foul play. A champion equestrian is killed and potential drug use is suspected, but when Megan's daughter, who also rides, overhears details of the case, she leads the team to a clue and possibly the murderer."
TRAGIC. HORSE. ACCIDENT. TURNS. INTO. FOUL PLAY. Sometimes, when it comes to TV murders, you just gotta go with your gut.