A detective on a hit TV show can't be too gifted these days. "Monk" mines humor from a former cop with a maddening attention to detail. "Medium" shows how the police depend on a woman with a highly active intuition. But if Allison on "Medium" has six senses to play with, "Blind Justice" (9 p.m., ABC) offers a detective with only four to rely on.
Ron Eldard ("ER") plays Detective Jim Dunbar, a hero cop wounded in the line of duty. This being a Steven Bochco show, we're shown Dunbar's fateful gunfight in all its gruesome glory. The shooting leaves Dunbar sightless, but he doesn't just want to retire and collect disability.
The debut episode follows Dunbar as he attempts to break into the closed clique of his new precinct house. His first partner, Karen Bettancourt (Marisol Nichols) resents having to babysit the blind guy. But Dunbar wastes little time demonstrating how he has learned to compensate for his sightlessness.
While Dunbar's character offers Eldard a great opportunity to emote grit, defensiveness and determination, I'm not so sure he can carry this "NYPD Blue" replacement alone. His fellow characters seem less than three-dimensional. Karen is a tough single woman. Dunbar denies he's flirting with her, but we know he is. Dunbar's wife (Rena Sofer) may be gorgeous, but he's shut her out since the shooting, and their two shared scenes seem icy and forced. Again, this is a Bochco show, so it's only a matter of time before Dunbar partners up with Karen in a more intimate setting than a squad car.
Tonight's other highlights
- The competition continues on "American Idol" (7 p.m., Fox).
- Lorelai and Emily hash it out on "Gilmore Girls" (7 p.m., WB).
- Longitudes and attitudes on "The Amazing Race" (8 p.m., CBS).
- A randy teen shows symptoms of two different deadly diseases on "House" (8 p.m., Fox).
- A former client stands accused of murder on "Judging Amy" (9 p.m., CBS).