Monday, March 29, 2010

Trifecta of Crime--Wildcard Post!

from CJ:

I'm going to play a wildcard today since silly me, I never picked up this week's question!  Just goes to show you how scattered a writer's mind can be when they have a deadline breathing down their neck, sucking all of the oxygen from their brain!

I don't watch that much TV anymore, but this year three crime shows  have really caught my attention. They're well-written, star actors who are giving subtle, multi-layered performances, and their story lines are intriguing.

Only problem? All three of them are on Tuesdays at 10pm!

The Good Wife came on first last fall. I was immediately caught by the high concept premise: the wife of a politician accused of corruption must return to work and support her family while dealing with the repercussions of her husband's actions.

If that's not enough, it stars the wonderful Julianna Margulies as the wife and one of my favorite actors, Chris Noth, as the disgraced and not-always-repentent husband. I have no idea how the ratings are for CBS, but this show is a keeper--one that can be savored for multi-episode character development as well as intriguing single episode plotlines.

Southland actually hit the air before The Good Wife, originally on NBC last year, but it was pulled.   Thankfully, TNT has picked it up. Foolish, NBC!!! How could they almost let this gritty, edgy police procedural die? It's the best cop show since Hill Street Blues--it can be bleak and dark and angsty, but that's life on the streets of South Central LA.

So typical of Hollywood to want to yank the one show that actually portrays police officers realistically--warts and heroics and yes, even sentimental softspots. I love this show, it makes me nostalgic for my days of working evening shifts in the ER and then hanging out with cops and paramedics before going home.

And the newest temptation on Tuesday nights is Justified which just premiered on FX. Based on an Elmore Leonard short story, it also follows a character's reluctant return to his hometown, only this time it's a trigger-happy US Marshal returning home to Harlan County, Kentucky. Played by Timothy Olyphant (of Deadwood fame) Raylan Givens is a character whose actions speak volumes even though he doesn't do a whole lot of talking. When he does, listen closely because the dialogue, though sparse, is excellent, and does Leonard proud.

All I can say is thank goodness all these shows except Justified (what's up with that, FX???) are easily viewed online at my convenience...which explains why I don't get much work done on Wednesdays!

What crime show treasures have you found in the new Spring TV lineup? Tell me--as long as they're not on Tuesdays at 10pm, maybe I'll give them a try!

Thanks for reading,

About CJ:
As a pediatric ER doctor, CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge suspense novels. Her debut, LIFELINES (Berkley, March 2008), became a National Bestseller and Publishers Weekly proclaimed it a "breathtakingly fast-paced medical thriller."

The second in the series, WARNING SIGNS, was released January, 2009 and the third, URGENT CARE, October, 2009. Her newest project is as co-author of the first in a new suspense series with Erin Brockovich. To learn more about CJ and her work, go to


Mike Dennis said...

I love JUSTIFIED, too, CJ, but I'm more than a little worried at the sloppy way this great premise is being handled. Each of the first two shows featured criminals who received what should have been mortal wounds (Boyd in the chest and Cooper in the stomach) and yet magically survived. In addition, there've been a couple too many coincidences for my taste, but I really, REALLY hope they can grow out of these problems. Olyphant is terrific, and the atmosphere on the show is riveting.

As for other crime shows, well, I'm waiting for DEXTER, season 5 to begin later in the year.

Shane Gericke said...

Another fine blog, Dr. CJ. But are you sure it's Hill Street Blues and not some other title? Hill Street was set in my very own toddlin' town of Chicago, and I don't think they resurrected it into south central LA, though that might be fun.

The Good Wife is my favorite new show, and only a notch below 24 in must-watch for me. I think the ratings are uniformly excellent. The writing is really sharp, letting Juliana use those marvelous facial expressions to full talent. Glad you like it too.

CJ Lyons said...

As a doc, I wasn't surprised either survived--I've seen guys with GSW's survive worse, and both had medical help there fast (not like they were out in the woods alone)....but you're right if the premise is "Justified" killing rather than just "justified" shooting, then maybe someone needs to die sooner or later.

PK the Bookeemonster said...

I have a hard time with crime shows. They either get too silly or the believability is just out the window.
I actually have an easier time with tv shows on DVD for some reason. I recently viewed the first disk of the first season of NCIS and thought, hey, I could watch this! Now I have the first of the first of Bones so we'll see. I think I may have a control issue. :)
If you've not watched Veronica Mars on DVD -- get thee hence!
I am watching Spartacus: Blood and Sand on Starz (Fridays) and The Pacific on HBO (Sundays).

CJ Lyons said...

Shane, Shane, Shane!!! Hill Street was based on The Hill District in Pittsburgh!

Bocho went to CMU and rode with patrol officers on the night shift up there and that's where his inspiration came from--but the actual TV show was filmed in the midwest, although they never gave the name of the city (if you look on the cars and the arm patches, they all just say "Metro")

I gave up on 24 sometime during season 2, it was getting too predictable....

CJ Lyons said...

I also like watching on my time instead of the networks (thank you netflix and hulu!!!)

Bones is absolutely farcical as far as the "real" world investigation goes, so hope that doesn't bother you--it's worth it to watch David Boreanz, although I preferred him in Angel.

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