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Archive for Thursday, March 6, 2008

Cops’ meets ‘CSI’ on ‘Crime 360’

March 6, 2008

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Ever wonder what the "CSI" action would look like without all of those Jerry Bruckheimer special effects? Check out "Crime 360" (9 p.m., A&E).

The series combines documentary-style coverage of police work with high-tech graphics. A Richmond, Va., rookie homicide cop gets his feet wet in a hurry when neighbors report the possibility of a dead body stuffed in the trunk of an abandoned car. The rookie and his mentors take viewers on a step-by-step process of solving a crime where there seem to be no apparent witnesses or motives.

They employ fancy gear, like a camera that takes a 360-degree picture of a crime site. They also depend on some old-fashioned tricks, including the use of a bloodhound and a phoned-in tip from a witness.

For all of its gizmos, "360" revolves around police officers using their common sense and deductive reasoning as well as some basic psychology. There's still no Bruckheimer special effect that can duplicate basic human intelligence.

¢ The 10-episode Canadian miniseries "Terminal City" (8 p.m., Sundance) takes a provocative and occasionally thoughtful look at the collision of two seemingly unrelated subjects: cancer and reality TV.

After a diagnosis of breast cancer, Katie (Maria Del Mar), a high-spirited wife and mother, stumbles onto the production of the ludicrous hospital-based reality series "Post Op!" Her brutal frankness intrigues the show's producers, and she's soon cast in her own daytime series. Just how does a woman juggle sudden fame and a potentially fatal illness?

"Terminal City" balances this over-the-top scenario with frequent brooding and painfully honest scenes between Kate and her children and husband (Gil Bellows, "Ally McBeal"), and her crotchety and paranoid father-in-law, Saul (Paul Soles).

Many will find this series instantly addictive. Fans of "Weeds" may enjoy its dark, subversive view of upper-middle-class family life. But it lacks that Showtime series' smug self-satisfaction. And unlike AMC's "Breaking Bad," another show with a cancer-stricken central character, "Terminal" maintains a sense of humor, and even whimsy, in the face of devastating news.

¢ Fox has a real winner with its supernatural detective series "New Amsterdam" (8 p.m., Fox). And it should do well with an "American Idol" lead-in. But if they think smart and discriminating viewers are going to abandon "Lost" (ABC) for "Amsterdam," they are dreaming.

Just last week, "Lost" proved (in an episode that repeats tonight at 7 p.m.) how it has managed to stay fresh and surprising over several seasons.

The tale of Desmond becoming unhinged in time, and hunting down Penny from both the past and the future, managed to be both sci-fi geeky and deeply romantic at the same time. How often does that happen?

On tonight's new episode of "Lost" (8 p.m., ABC), Juliet receives an unwelcome ultimatum.

Tonight's other highlights

¢ Michael's debt worries grow on "The Office" (7 p.m., NBC).

¢ Four go home on "American Idol" (7 p.m., Fox), leaving viewers with the top 12.

¢ The contestants run art galleries on "Celebrity Apprentice" (8 p.m., NBC).

¢ She's the devil in disguise on "Reaper" (8 p.m., CW).

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