“Golden Boy” (9 p.m., CBS) becomes the latest television drama set in the New York Police Department. After airing tonight and March 5 in the “Vegas” slot, it will move to Fridays on March 8, right before “Blue Bloods,” taking the place of “CSI: NY.” Too bad we can’t collect a pension from just watching all of these NYC cop shows.
‘‘Boy” unfolds in a series of flashbacks, telling the story of how Walter Clark Jr. (Theo James) became the youngest police commissioner in the city’s history. Along the way, we discover that he wasn’t always the nicest guy.
We watch the flashbacks knowing that some of his mentors (including partner Donald Owen, played by Chi McBride) will die along the way. We just don’t know how or when. I suspect that should keep us returning.
It’s unclear how long any series can operate in retrospective mode. It seems better suited to a character-driven British series, limited to six or eight episodes. On the other hand, it has worked for “How I Met Your Mother” all these years!
‘‘Boy” suffers from clunky visual gimmicks and some cop genre cliches. Does Owen have to complain that his retirement is right around the corner?
Still, James is convincing as the lean and hungry young man. And it’s interesting to see how little his colleagues like or respect him on his rapid way up the ladder.
Tonight’s other highlights:
• Familiar cable stars appear on “Celebrity Wife Swap” (7 p.m., ABC).
• The cast of “My Name Is Earl” cameo on “Raising Hope” (7 p.m., Fox).
• The offal truth on “The Taste” (8 p.m., ABC).
• Skye’s warning goes unheeded on “Cult” (8 p.m., CW).
• A wedding to forget on “The Lying Game” (8 p.m., ABC Family).
• Seth Rogen guest-stars on “The Mindy Project” (8:30 p.m., Fox).
• Peter pushes Julia to work harder on “Smash” (9 p.m., NBC).
• Megan must stay mum to save Lacey on “Body of Proof” (9 p.m., ABC).
• The search for Drew reaches a dangerous stage on “Justified” (9 p.m., FX).