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.
Criminal Minds (CBS), “From Childhood’s Hour” (Wednesday at 9 p.m.)
“The BAU team investigates the abductions of young children with troubled mothers in St. Louis.”
Law & Order: SVU (NBC), “Missing Pieces” (Wednesday at 10 p.m.)
“As the detectives race to find a missing baby on Halloween, they begin to doubt the story of the distraught parents. Benson and Amaro get as much information as they can from the anxious mother and her boyfriend at the police station, while Fin and Rollins track their path from Buffalo for clues.”
With all due respect to the natural beauty, architectural wonder, and kindness of the people of St. Louis and Buffalo, there probably won’t be much to see here. This is network television, so those missing children will likely be returned to their parents, safe and unmurdered.
CSI (CBS), “CSI Down” (Wednesday at 10 p.m.)
“When a hijacked Medevac helicopter with CSI Brody aboard goes missing, the entire team is on hunt.”
There are no murders guaranteed here, either. If newbie Brody was going down, it wouldn’t happen this early in the season. Still, this IS CSI — they’ll probably figure out a way to sneak in a guy who had his face eaten by ants or something onto that helicopter.
The Mentalist (CBS), “Blood and Sand (Thursday at 10 p.m.)
“Jane and the CBI team must find a murderer among a group of oddballs on an island off the coast of California.”
Finally, an actual murder. And it’s promising: apparently the body washes up on the coast, so we may have some kind of fancy, yacht-based foul play on our hands. Also, the use of the term “oddballs” is rich with potential. You want broadly drawn caricatures of West Coast hippies with soul patches and judgemental references to patchouli? You got it!
CSI: NY (CBS), “Air Apparent” (Friday at 9 p.m.)
“The CSIs investigate when the recently paroled brother of a young basketball prodigy is implicated in a murder.”
Not many details on the murder itself here, but the promise of basketball puns like “This case was no slam dunk!” or “Talk about a hard foul” or “It’s time for the full court press” is more than enough to make us tune in.
CSI: Miami (CBS), “Killer Regrets” (Sunday at 10 p.m.)
“Horatio protects a Mexican police chief from the mysterious assassin who killed her husband.”
NCIS: LA, “Sacrifice” (Tuesday at 9 p.m.)
“The LAPD calls upon the NCIS team when a raid links a Mexican drug cartel to a wanted terrorist.”
Drug war double whammy! Considering the real-life crimes that serve as the source material for these two episodes, there’s really no cap on the kind of insane violence the CSI and NCIS writers can allude to. Topical and gnarly, and this week’s runaway winners.