Just asking…

Are you regular fans of network TV programming of back-to-back episodes on specific week nights?

Referring to procedurals that tackle crime and punishment, aid and rescue of the injured or ill, embracing car accidents, highrise fires or rampant drug-related crimes?

If so, which of these back-to-back shows do you like best?

Monday on CBS, two procedurals reign: the flagship “NCIS,” the Mark Harmon original, which this season precedes “NCIS: Hawai‘i,” the island-based spin-off.  We watch, though miss Harmon (he’s retired, but his name and image appear in the opening titles), even though it’s no longer the hot show it was for much of its 19 seasons.  The Monday scheduling is a wise lead-in to the Hawaii-shot spiff-off,.

Tuesday on CBS, a trio of investigative shows are intensive, savvy projects:  “FBI,” “FBI Most Wanted,” and “FBI International.” Great casts, with some crossover moments; fresh, incisive scripts.

Wednesday on NBC, it’s must-see TV, the best of triple-threats set in the crime-heavy Chicago, and unbeatable in relevance and timeliness: “Chicago Med,” “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago P.D.” are often gritty but grand, and the hospital setting unsettling but intriguing,  the firefighting front and the police station daunting but challenging. The mix is the stuff of episodic drams: ER tension, smokey highrise, dangling vehicles over the river, and unexpected flying bullets or bombs bursting. Everyday drama never has been so visible and jammed with fictional stories that demonstrate and spotlight such emotional wallop. And, yes, giving first responders a positive image.

Thursday on NBC, law and order prevail: the original “Law and Order” favorite, Sam Waterson, is back and holding court in a reboot, and time will tell if it has staying power. “Law and Order SVU” still features Mariska Hargitay’s Olivia Benson and remains a powerhouse hour that’s a whole lot better than the third entry, “Law and Order: Crime” which has Christoper Meloni’s Elliot Stabler  attempting to get a handle to outlast and outpower his weekly antagonist.

Friday on CBS used to be the slot for the now-shuttered “Hawaii Five-0,” where “Magnum P.I,” the Jay Hernandez reboot shooting here, preceding the network’s popular “Blue Bloods,” which still stars Tom Selleck, the original Thomas Magnum.”

Incredibly, Dick Wolf is the creator and executive producer of all the “Law and Order” series, all the “Chicago” brands, and all the “FBI” titles, a credit few others can claim. Indeed, he’s the king of the best of the TV franchise shows.

And most of his trademark programss are in syndication, so reruns provide a world of entertaining dramas, on such venues as USA, iOn, We and a few other spots on your TV dial.

With so many heavyweights from the traditional networks, it’s tough to surf the streaming services of Netflix or Disney+ or Amazon Prime. The aforementioned series left the airwaves during the coverage of NBC’s “Winter OIympics,” but happily, regular programming has returned … though most series are approaching their finales for the season.


  1. And whatcha think? Lean on plots; glaring absence of local actors and faces–they’re there but no co-starring featured roles. Rare is the local actor who gets billing these days.

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