“Damages” (9 p.m., FX) returns for a third season of time-shifting plots and homicidal intrigue. This year, Patty Hewes (Glenn Close) has been put in charge of investigating the family of Louis Tobin (Len Cariou), a Madoff-like swindler. Patty believes that his son Joe (Campbell Scott) is hiding secrets and assets.
Look for Martin Short as the Tobins’ hard-nosed lawyer, Leonard Winstone. Short (“SCTV,” “SNL”) has made a career of creating and inhabiting deliriously weird characters like Ed Grimley, Jackie Rogers Jr. and Jiminy Glick. It’s great fun to watch him channel that intensity to play a cold-blooded litigator.
This season also features Lily Tomlin as the jailed embezzler’s wife, Marilyn. Tomlin’s “Nashville” co-star Keith Carradine also appears as a mystery man very eager to enter Patty’s inner circle.
• “American Experience” (8 p.m., PBS, check local listings) returns with “Wyatt Earp,” a fresh look at one of the iconic figures from the legendary West. Over the decades, Earp has been the subject of his own TV show and has been played by stars including Walter Huston, Randolph Scott, Henry Fonda, Joel McCrea, James Garner, Jimmy Stewart, Kurt Russell and Kevin Costner.
“Earp” avoids Hollywood gloss, recalling his checkered past and his work as an enforcer for a prostitution ring. It emphasizes Earp’s role as a kind of pawn of the big mining and banking interests who wanted to civilize the frontier and rid it of murderous cowboys and lawless rustlers who harmed business and even threatened to spark a border war with Mexico.
While watching “Earp,” I was struck how much the cowboy legend and Western film genre helped inform and inspire the gangster film. There’s very little in this tale of brother avenging brother and of judges and lawmen colluding with killers that can’t be found in “The Godfather.”
• British comedian Marc Wootton plays three different dolts from the United Kingdom trying to make it in Hollywood in the news fake documentary comedy series “LA LA Land” (10 p.m., Showtime). A would-be actor, documentary maker and psychic interact with actors, publicists and producers and each reveals an outrageous lack of experience and self-awareness. The “real” people show a great deal more patience with him/them than viewers will.
Tonight’s other highlights
• Paris bound on “Chuck” (7 p.m., NBC).
• Thirteen feels for a patient on “House” (7 p.m., Fox).
• Renee requires supervision on “24” (8 p.m., Fox).
• Jay Leno appears on “Top Gear” (8 p.m., BBC America).
• Fathers know worst on “Men of a Certain Age” (9 p.m., TNT).
• Frats hold a fundraiser on “Greek” (9 p.m., Family).