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Archive for Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Reporter’s, killer’s paths are traced

October 10, 2006

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Christiane Amanpour narrates "The Journalist and the Jihadi: The Murder of Daniel Pearl" (7 p.m., HBO), a revealing look at a personal tragedy as well as a clash between cultures.

When he was kidnapped and murdered in Pakistan in early 2002, Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was on the trail of shadowy figures behind al Qaeda's financial network. According to this documentary, he not only gained the attention of the terror group but was also on the verge of embarrassing Pakistan's intelligence service, a rogue agency with many ties to terror.

Through home movies and interviews with friends, "Journalist" examines the formative years of both Pearl and his murderer, Omar Sheikh. Pearl grew up in California, the son of two highly educated professionals. As a student, Pearl dabbled in classical violin and then joined a country-music band as a fiddler. Once he became a journalist, Pearl immersed himself in Middle Eastern culture and wanted to bring greater understanding between the West and Islam.

Born and educated in England, Sheikh was a bright student who intimidated his classmates with his prowess in chess and arm wrestling. As the film makes clear, both games require a calculating mind and the ability to pull one's opponent into a trap he cannot escape.

When the two men's trails crossed in the months after 9/11, Sheikh would put his old talents to use, snaring Pearl with a series of false leads, friendly e-mails and promises of interviews and information. The film's depiction of Sheikh's path to radicalism offers a chilling portrait of a remorseless foe.

¢ "Frontline" (8 p.m., PBS, check local listings) presents "The Enemy Within," a look at the FBI's efforts to infiltrate and capture homegrown terrorists before they have a chance to strike. Reporter Lowell Bergman interviews current and former FBI agents about the agency's tactics and mixed success.

Some contend that the government cannot be too vigilant or too careful. Others argue that of the hundreds of people charged as terror suspects, only a handful have been found guilty and that the agency's informants and infiltrators have coached and pressured many suspects into rehearsed "confessions" that cannot stand up in court.

¢ Jerry Lewis guest stars on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (9 p.m., NBC) as an elderly homeless man and murder suspect who happens to be Munch's estranged uncle.

Tonight's other highlights

¢ As pressures mount, the town and team turn to prayer on "Friday Night Lights" (8 p.m., NBC).

¢ Game 1 of the American League Championship Series (7 p.m., Fox).

¢ Lorelai rethinks her approach to her parents on "Gilmore Girls" (7 p.m., CW).

¢ Scientists suspect that a destructive black hole could be located in our galactic backyard on "Nova" (7 p.m., PBS, check local listings).

¢ Bobby detects Hope on his trail on "Smith" (9 p.m., CBS).

¢ Alan's feelings for Shirley only grow stronger on "Boston Legal" (9 p.m., ABC).

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