Hair Fetishes, Ritualistic Deaths, and Miranda Lambert: 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.


Hawaii Five-O (CBS), “Mai Ka Wa Kahiko” (Monday at 10 p.m.)
“A dirty cop from Danno’s past comes to the island to exact revenge on Danno and his family for ruining his life, forcing the Five-0 to find a way to help their teammate.”

The Murder Forecast is glad the unit is rallying around Danno, and showing solidarity and support and everything, but is all quite right here? If Danno is going around ruining people’s lives, maybe a little bit of revenge is called for. At the very least the dirty cop should get to muddy up Danno’s foyer.

CSI: NY (CBS), “The Ripple Effect” (Friday at 9 p.m.)
“When the CSIs investigate two seemingly unrelated deaths, their separate trails of evidence lead to a surprisingly connected conclusion.”

This description more or less reads as “thing happens.” If they’re going to go so basic and minimalist, the CSI: NY writers should at least incorporate some local flavor. Perhaps the team could stumble upon this surprising connection while eating Tasti D-Lite or seeing a puppy-sized rat on the subway platform?

NCIS Los Angeles (CBS), “Partners” (Tuesday at 10 p.m.)
“After a diplomatic service van transporting an unknown package from the State Department is hijacked, the NCIS team must determine who committed the crime and what has gone missing. Meanwhile, Callen and Sam celebrate five years as partners, but face one of their biggest challenges when they go undercover for a case.”

Sounds dramatic enough, I suppose. But this, folks, it’s the Murder Forecast, not the Dramatic Hijack Forecast. Not. Enough. Bloodshed.


NCIS (CBS), “Life Before His Eyes” (Tuesday at 8 p.m.)
“During a routine stop for his morning coffee, Gibbs finds himself staring down the barrel of a gun, forcing him to question choices he has made in the past and present, on the 200th episode of NCIS.”

While shows like Community flip the clip-show convention on its head by creating all fake memories to “reminisce” about, it sounds like stalwart NCIS will deliver a straight-forward addition to the genre with its 200th episode. God bless the conservation of traditional values.

Blue Bloods (CBS), “The Ripple Effect” (Friday at 9 p.m.)
“When a rich woman dies of a heart attack, her eccentric daughter claims that she received a message from God, who told her that her stepfather actually murdered her. Meanwhile, the archbishop wants Frank’s support for the canonization of a local priest, but a reluctant Frank takes it upon himself to investigate a rumor that the priest went too far when protesting the Vietnam War. Emmy Award-winning actor Timothy Busfield guest stars as Charles Bynes, who is accused of murdering his wife by his stepdaughter.”

Timothy Busfield, and his on-and-off facial hair, are always welcome on our TV screen.

The Mentalist (CBS), “At First Blush” (Thursday at 10 p.m.)
“While a jury deliberates the guilt or innocence of a defendant on trial for murder, Jane tries to prove she has been wrongfully accused before time runs out. Meanwhile, Summer may have gone too far when she helps Cho make a case against a suspect. Samaire Armstrong guest stars.”

And so is Samaire Armstrong! Returning in cameo form to The Mentalist, Armstrong continues to build on a potent journeyman TV career bolstered by her two greatest moments: as female Seth Cohen on The O.C. and as Ari’s assistant on Entourage. Your work has not gone unappreciated, Samaire.


Law & Order: SVU (NBC), “Father’s Shadow” (Wednesday at 10 p.m.)
“An aspiring actress is found unconscious in Central Park with drugs in her system and evidence of sexual trauma. Detectives Benson and Amaro pay a visit to the reality show producer for whom she had auditioned just before the attack, and stop him from assaulting another actress (guest star Miranda Lambert) on the casting couch. The detectives arrest the producer, but the situation turns dangerous when his distraught son takes drastic action in order to get his father out of jail. Meanwhile, Benson and Executive ADA David Haden (guest star Harry Connick) grow closer.”

Here, the element of surprise in the cameo elevates us from “DVR” to “Watch.” While her husband Blake Shelton is a familiar TV presence, Miranda Lambert is not quite yet as famous to people who still say, “I listen to everything but country.” This is too bad as this woman has jams, people. Here’s how the trajectory should work here, then: first SVU, then deep respect and worldwide adulation for Lambert’s back catalog.

CSI (CBS), “Who’s There?” (Wednesday at 10 p.m.)
“When a woman is found dead and her hair is done up ’70s style complete with vintage clothes, the CSI team discovers clues that point to a killer with a hair fetish.”

This is pretty batshit: a hair fetish? The Murder Forecast had never heard of a hair fetish. Is CSI making up fetishes now in order to justify kinkily baroque murders? Sounds great to me!

Criminal Minds (CBS), “Snake Eyes” (Wednesday at 8 p.m.)
“The BAU tries their luck in Atlantic City when the team is called in to investigate a series of ritualistic casino-related murders. Also, after a spat with her boyfriend, Kevin, Garcia thinks she and Morgan may have gotten a little too friendly with each other.”

“Ritualistic casino-related murders” — now this is the kind of phrase for which the Murder Forecast gets out of bed in the mornings! How gnarly can Criminal Minds get when showing their bodies? The anticipation now overtaking me as I wait to find out is sweet and pure and true.

Filed Under: Criminal Minds, CSI, Hawaii Five-O, Law & Order: SVU, Murder Forecast, NCIS, Television, The Mentalist

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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