Vengeance, Drugs, and Afghanistan: Which TV Procedurals Are Worth Your Time This Week?

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.

Skip

Criminal Minds (CBS), “Hope” (Wednesdays at 9 p.m.)
“It’s personal for Garcia when the BAU investigate the disappearance of a woman in her survivors’ support group whose daughter went missing seven years earlier.”

    Garcia [after having done something wildly out of the bounds of protocol but ultimately beneficial to the case]: ‘You don’t understand. She was my friend. That was her little girl.”
    Whoever Garcia’s Boss Is: “Dammit, Garcia! This isn’t about you.”
    Garcia [quietly, fighting back tears]: “ … I know. I know.”

Prime Suspect (NBC), “Underwater” (Thursdays at 10 p.m.)
“Jane and Reg are taken out of the city when parents of a young girl are found murdered in a hotel room. Jane has a hard time convincing the young girl to speak with her about the man that killed her parents.”

Full disclosure: I have not ever seen a single episode of Prime Suspect. From the looks of the commercials, though, this thing where Jane connects with a little girl, woman to woman, has to be the running thread of every episode, yeah? Maligned female cop fighting off the bullying boy’s club atmosphere proves her worth over and over again by doing stuff all those gruff dudes can never pull off?

CSI: New York (CBS), “Crossroads” (Friday at 9 p.m.)
“As the CSIs investigate the assassination of a judge, Jo comes face-to-face with a criminal from her past. Jason Wiles returns as rape suspect John Curtis. Jeffrey Nordling guest stars as Senator Kirk Matthews, who blames Jo for Curtis’s previous acquittal. Beau Garrett returns as rape victim Ali Rand.”

This sounds like a serviceable if uneventful CSI:NY, but the fact I can’t recognize any of the guest stars’ names relegates it to “skip” status. Also, words Jason Wile’s mother is probably thrilled about: “Jason Wiles returns as rape suspect …”

DVR

The Mentalist (CBS), “Pink Tops” (Thursdays at 10 p.m.)
“In order to find the killer of an undercover narcotics cop, Jane and the CBI team retrace her investigation. Samaire Armstrong guest stars as Summer Edgecombe, a prostitute who helps Cho with the investigation. Dean Norris guest stars as Sergeant Don Henderson.”

Seth Cohen’s girlfriend/Ari’s assistant? Walter White’s brother-in-law? Now this is how you do guest stars! It’s only appropriate The Mentalist would be bringing this level of random name recognition, seeing as Robin Tunney — a.k.a. that chick from The Craft and/or that chick from Empire Records, whatever you prefer — is a series regular.

Hawaii Five-0 (CBS), “Ike Maka” (Mondays at 10 p.m.)
“Following a high-speed car chase, the Five-0 discover a John Doe in the trunk of a stolen car — they not only have to find a killer, but also need to figure out who the physically altered victim was.”

It’s hard to tell what the “physically altered” bit means: gruesomely disfigured? Recipient of sloppy mob-guy-on-the-lam-style plastic surgery? Maybe the John Doe will be played by Mickey Rourke? Anyway, sounds promising.

NCIS (CBS), “Engaged (Part II)” (Tuesdays at 8 p.m.)
“Gibbs and the NCIS continue their investigation into the disappearance of a Marine lieutant after a school bombing in Afghanistan. Gibbs and Ziva travel to her last known whereabouts in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Tony reveals his deepest fears and Gibbs is forced to relive events from his past.”

NCIS: LA (CBS), “Betrayal” (Tuesdays at 9 p.m.)
“Sam disappears and is feared to be in danger in Sudan when a joint undercover mission with the C.I.A. turns deadly.”

NCIS bringing it with the international war-torn locations! Where do they actually shoot this stuff, though? Probably like Flagstaff, Arizona, right? Tune in just to see if you can spot a Del Taco in the background.

Watch

Law& Order: SVU (NBC), “Educated Guess” (Wednesdays at 10 p.m.)
“A man in custody at a mental hospital claims to have witnessed a rape in a break room. Despite the witness’ shaky credibility the SVU begins an investigation, but the alleged victim, Gia Eskas (guest star Lyonne), denies being assaulted. Detectives Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Rollins (Kelli Giddish) struggle to piece together what really happened to this young woman, especially when her aunt (guest star Preston) and mother say Gia has been repeatedly institutionalized, and has cried rape in the past.”

So many twists and turns, but that’s how SVU does. So: either this show is routinely bringing intricately detailed plot lines that hang a notch above the procedural pool, or I’m just easily misled by the show’s atypically ambitious capsule previewer.

Body of Proof (ABC), “Love Bites” (Tuesdays at 10 p.m.)
“A pharmaceutical rep is found dead in the Schuykill River, but when Megan Hunt and the team investigate, there’s no blood found in her body. The team must locate the original crime scene to see if they can find the cause of death, but with suspects who have access to hundreds of unknown drugs, they may never know who or what killed her.”

Body of Proof, which is really more of a medical drama, is only an occasional visitor to the Murder Forecast. Keep churning out crazy-ass plots like this, though — there are drugs that can drain all the blood out of your body? — and, BOP, you’ll have a regular home. By the way, airing at the same time is the DIY Network’s I Hate My Bath, which is, of course, a spinoff of I Hate My Kitchen. So, yeah, you’re missing absolutely nothing.

CSI (CBS), “Crime After Crime” (Wednesdays at 10 p.m.)
“When the CSI team investigates three seemingly unrelated murders, they discover someone is getting revenge for cold case murders that were never solved.”
CSI: Miami (CBS), “A Few Dead Men” (Sundays at 10 p.m.)
“The CSIs investigate when three convicted murderers are released from prison and someone starts killing them one by one.”

Murder murder murder murder murder murder murder murder murder. Murder! Murder murder. Murder? Murder murder murder. This week, two-thirds of the venerable CSI franchise is going to make the Murder Forecast so, so proud.

Previously: MMA, Vampires, and Fratricide: Which TV Procedurals Are Worth Your Time This Week?
Brains, Tornadoes, and Mail-Order Brides: Which TV Procedurals Are Worth Your Time This Week?
Dead Hookers, Scary Documentarians, and Crime-Solving Bloggers: Which TV Procedurals Are Worth Your Time This Week?

Filed Under: CSI, Hawaii Five-O, Murder Forecast, NCIS, The Mentalist

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Amos Barshad has written for New York Magazine, Spin, GQ, XXL, and the Arkansas Times. He is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ AmosBarshad