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Picks and Pans Main: TV

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Person of Interest

CBS, Thursdays, 9 p.m. ET/PT |


The gimmick of this freshman series is so conceptually high tech, you might expect it to be the iPad of crime procedurals. What you get instead are the grubbier, elemental pleasures of a good mystery paperback. Lost’s Michael Emerson, who has the slightly discomfiting presence of a cricket chirping in a dark corner, is Finch, creator of a covert software so encompassing and yet so oblique that it identifies people who are about to become victims of violent crimes-or maybe they’ll be the perpetrators of those crimes. His right-hand man, enforcer and crime-stopper is the even more mysterious Reese. He’s played by Jim Caviezel (The Passion of the Christ) as a terse, haunted man in black. It’s a terrific performance, minimal as a shadow. The back and forth of their teamwork, complicated and sometimes complemented by parallel police investigations, is evolving into something deeper: They’re starting to grapple with how cold data can be misread when both good and evil walk the streets. This could grow into a show of more than ordinary interest.

Happy Endings

ABC, Wednesdays, 9:30 p.m. ET/PT |


In its second season, Endings has clicked as one of prime-time’s most sophisticated ensemble comedies. There’s not much of a premise-just another show about youngish urban professionals who hang out with each other-but each episode has the sure, light rhythm of a perfectly played snare drum. Funniest character: Adam Pally as an unattached gay man named Max, a proudly unfabulous schlub who works as a limo driver. Pally plays him like the young, zingy Richard Dreyfuss, only better at put-downs.


FOX, Thursdays, 9 p.m. ET/PT |


Everything lately is Zooey, Zooey, Zooey, but let’s remember that FOX is also home to her fine-boned sister Emily Deschanel, star of Bones. A mix of forensics and romance, gore and humor, Bones holds up nicely as it starts season 7 (with a spin-off coming in 2012). Deschanel’s Dr. Brennan is pregnant-the dad is FBI agent Booth (David Boreanaz)-and suffers crying jags as she examines goopy corpses. This is close to sitcom, but the show’s skeleton is strong enough to bear it. It’s still a good time.