Dismemberment, Cadavers, and Disappearing Acts: 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.


CSI: New York (CBS), “Means to an End” (Friday at 9 p.m.)
“When an important witness turns up dead, Jo is caught up in the dangerous investigation of the suspected rapist who was freed on her watch in D.C. Michael Weston guest stars as Frank Waters, Jo’s former colleague from the FBI. Jason Wiles returns as rape suspect John Curtis. Jeffrey Nordling returns as Senator Kirk Matthews, who blames Jo for Curtis’s previous acquittal.”

This is the second time in the brief, illustrious career of the Murder Forecast in which an episode description for CSI: NY has featured the phrase “Jason Wiles returns as rape suspect John Curtis.” Seriously, CSI: NY, how much longer must this go on? The fictional victims of John Curtis demand fictional closure.

Blue Bloods (CBS), “Moonlighting” (Fridays at 10 p.m.)
“Danny accompanies a dangerous ex-mobster who is helping him find bodies on cold cases in exchange for leniency for his son on grand theft auto. Meanwhile, Jamie works undercover in a boiler room operation, looking for a secret about the Sanfino family.”

Kind of a snooze: all the blood and guts here is being delivered via people who have already been killed. By the way, the fact that both of this week’s procedural clunkers air on Friday night is just one more excellent reason for you to work on making some friends.


Body of Proof (ABC), “Gross Anatomy” (Tuesdays at 10 p.m.)
“A murdered young woman’s body turns up in place of a medical school cadaver during class, leaving Megan to rely on the aid of the star student to help solve the case.”

It’s a little-known fact, but these med school dissection classes are actually full of joy and delight, in which bleary-eyed future doctors fight off hangovers and amuse each another by manipulating their cadavers into all manners of Weekend at Bernie’s-style shenanigans while the curmudgeonly teachers aren’t looking. Setting a one-off episode there is a good start, but doesn’t quite go far enough. First person to pitch a sitcom called Cadaver Class has a surefire hit on his hands.

Prime Suspect (NBC), “Gone to Pieces” (Thursdays at 10 p.m.)
“Duffy tries to pawn off a routine hit and run off on Jane when he thinks the case is a dead end. Jane and Evrard work on murder case that leads them to suspect a porn king was involved.”

The little-watched Prime Suspect has already been canceled by NBC, and is now just burning off episodes made before production on the show was shut down. Here’s a humble suggestion: maybe next time, if you want people to watch your show, you lead off with the episode in which a smut impresario has someone murdered?! We’re getting excited just thinking about what the name of this sexy killer’s porn production company will be. Also worth speculating about: the size of the gold chain this man will be wearing underneath his open Hawaiian shirt.


Bones (Fox), “The Male in the Mail” (Thursdays at 9 p.m.)
“Dismembered remains are discovered in several mailing boxes at a dead letter office, and the Jeffersonian team identifies the victim as an employee of a local Ship ‘n’ Print, where the staff recently split the winnings of a lottery prize. The team uncovers a complicated love triangle between two married employees and the victim, and while motive points to the husband (guest star Ben Savage), a critical clue leads them to solve the crime definitively.”

Bones comes off as more of a quirky ensemble comedy than a murder-generating machine, so the fact it now makes its Murder Forecast debut with an episode particularly crazy leads me to propose a theory. Is it possible that Bones star Emily Deschanel, seething with anger after once again being upstaged by “adorkable” younger sister Zooey — now directly stealing big sis’s network TV shine with her hit Fox sitcom New Girl — cooked up this whole “dismembered remains in various locations” attention-grabber herself? The presence of Cory Matthews is just icing on the cake.

CSI: Miami (CBS), “Long Gone” (Sundays at 10 p.m.)
“When an entire family disappears into thin air, Horatio vows to find them, dead or alive.”

Disappear into thin air? What the hell is going on here? Three very exciting words for you: massive, terrifying sinkhole.

Law & Order: SVU (NBC), “Lost Traveller” (Wednesdays at 10 p.m.)
“A Romani child disappears on his way home from school. Benson and Amaro interview the distraught parents, who are distrustful of the police. The initial investigation leads Fin and Rollins to the powerful leader of the Romani community, but he denies any involvement. The family remains hopeful their boy will be found, especially when they discover his cell phone is still active. With the help of their TARU tech (guest star Gilbert Gottfried) and a meddling newspaper reporter, the detectives narrow the perpetrators to a mentally challenged neighbor, throwing the tight-knit Romani community into turmoil.”

In one action-packed episode, SVU will reference both the Butcher of Brooklyn and the News of the World cell phone hacking scandal. This is heavy stuff, and commendably ambitious. Once again, the SVU writers’ room proves that, if there’s one thing they have in abundance, it’s cajones. Also, presumably: Dunkin’ Donuts Munchkins.


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Filed Under: CSI: Miami, Law & Order: SVU, Murder Forecast, Prime Suspect

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

Archive @ AmosBarshad

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