The old notion that “dead men tell no tales” has run up against the needs of modern entertainment. Fans of shows from “CSI” to “Bones” know that dead bodies are teeming with evidence. But for those who find forensic science insufficient, there is “Final Witness” (9 p.m., ABC).
This seven-part summer series mixes elements of documentary, drama, fact and fantasy to recall recent, notorious murders from a victim’s point of view.
The first installment revisits the slaughter of the Caffey family in rural East Texas, where on March 1, 2008, Terry Caffey and his wife were shot in their sleep and left for dead. Their sons Bubba and Tyler were then murdered in their beds. Despite being hit with five bullets, Terry managed to escape and survive and later identify one of the shooters. But Terry’s road to justice was not without additional painful revelations about the nature of the crime and the motivation of the killers.
This “Final Witness” is not Terry’s tale, but that of his dead wife, Penny. It includes elements of scripted drama with first-person interviews with Terry, Texas Rangers, the prosecutor and several neighbors familiar with both the victims and perpetrators. Look, or rather listen, for a suitably creepy soundtrack featuring singles by the Antlers, Marissa Nadler, Mr. Gnome, Jana Hunter and Sam Amidon. At the time this column was filed, “Final Witness” had not been made available for review.
• “Hollywood Exes” (9 p.m., VH1) follows the antics, agonies and ambitions of the former spouses of the rich and famous. The sorority includes Nicole Murphy (actor Eddie Murphy’s ex); Jessica Canseco (baseball slugger Jose Canseco); Sheree Fletcher (actor Will Smith); Mayte Garcia (Prince) and Andrea Kelly (R. Kelly).
Tonight’s other highlights
• Healthy appetites on “Dogs in the City” (7 p.m., CBS).
• U.S. Olympics Swimming Trials (7 p.m., NBC).
• Christopher tells Bobby about his romantic confusion as John Ross seeks the upper hand with a competitor on “Dallas” (8 p.m., TNT).
• A major leaguer’s batting slump may be entirely mental on “Necessary Roughness” (9 p.m., USA).
• “Through the Wormhole With Morgan Freeman” (9 p.m., Science) ponders the notion of nothingness, voids and truly empty spaces.