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.
The Mentalist (CBS), “Red Is the New Black” (Thursday at 10 p.m.)
"Jane and the CBI narrow down the list of suspects after a disgraced clothing designer on the verge of a comeback becomes a fashion victim. Meanwhile, FBI Agent Darcy continues her investigation into finding Red John. Catherine Dent ("The Shield") returns as FBI agent Susan Darcy who continues her Red John investigation. Alicia Witt ("Friday Night Lights") returns as Rosalind Harker."
Another slow week in the world of procedurals, as various Super Bowl-themed television ("All Time Best Super Bowl Commercials Starring a Bear That Speaks Cantonese," etc.) seems to have preempted half of our usual, grisly fare. But that just means we’re talking quality over quantity. The Mentalist, this week’s relative worst candidate, is actually not looking too shabby at all: In fact, the Murder Forecast is pretty excited to find out exactly how broad and comical of a caricature this "disgraced clothing designer on the verge of a comeback" is going to be. Also fun: guessing at the level of credibility they’ll be aiming for with the references. (If someone, at some point, yells out "Get me Philip Lim on the phone now!" do a shot.) And then there’s the always welcome presence of Alicia Witt, who pulled off a fairly thankless job on Season 4 of Friday Night Lights and, more importantly, starred in Urban Legend, which is secretly the best movie out of that whole late-'90s teen-slasher subgenre. If you want to argue about this, you know where to find me.
Blue Bloods (CBS), “The Job” (Fridays at 10 p.m.)
“On the way home with his family, Danny hits a man with his car who is fleeing from a gunman, and his family gets caught in the crossfire when Danny fires his weapon at the gunman. Frank deals with 9/11 guilt from impending loss of a friend whom he worked alongside at Ground Zero. Academy Award-winning actor F. Murray Abraham ("Amadeus") guest stars as Leon Goodwin, Frank's doctor.”
Something of an accidental masterpiece is brewing here. Surely, the Blue Bloods writing staff thought they were going for some gravitas by burdening a grieving family with a 9/11 subplot; they probably did a lot of high-fiving when they heard F. Murray Abraham got cast. But the Murder Forecast isn’t supremely confident in Bloods’ ability to pull off all this heavy stuff without coming off the tiniest bit, you know, preposterous. Here’s a fun thing to do this Friday night, then: Invite over some friends, whip up some of your famous cucumber sandwiches, and make fun of Magnum P.I.
CSI: NY (CBS), “Brooklyn ‘Til I Die” (Friday at 9 p.m.)
“The CSIs investigate when a role-playing game turns lethal, with one player falling victim to a bona fide killer and the other kidnapped and held for ransom.”
For some reason, the CSI: NY capsule preview writer didn’t want to say it. I’m gonna say it, though: This episode is about someone (possibly) being murdered while LARPing. Murdered while LARPing! Even in the face of Alicia Witt and F. Murray Abraham, a runaway winner.