‘Severance’ and More Apple Finales, ‘Black Lady Sketch Show,’ Magnum Directs ‘Magnum,’ The ‘Knives’ Are Out

It’s a flurry of farewells on the Apple TV+ streamer, with finales of the thrilling Severance, the moving The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey and the animated charmer Central Park. Robin Thede’s hilarious A Black Lady Sketch Show returns for a third season of over-the-top shenanigans. Jay Hernandez goes behind the camera as a first-time director of Magnum P.I. While Apple’s Slow Horses subverts the spy genre, Prime Video adapts a modern classic with Chris Pine as a CIA agent in All the Old Knives.

Adam Scott, Zach Cherry, John Turturro, Britt Lower in Severance
Apple TV+

Severance

Season Finale

The good news: Apple just renewed this trippy workplace satire/thriller for a second season. The bad news: We’ll have to wait for it, and that’s going to feel like torture given the multiple cliffhangers and shocking reveals in the season finale. One thing’s for sure: Working at Lumen Industries, where employees agree to have their outside memories severed from their office selves, may never be the same again.

A Black Lady Sketch Show

Season Premiere

Creator/star Robin Thede’s uproarious sketch showcase launches its third season in fabulously unhinged style. Highlights include parodies of the Purge movies (involving defective hair products) and Hidden Figures (which finds a way to make slapping funny again), and a rant on the death of the UPN network that had me laughing out loud. Notable guest stars include Pose’s Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, David Alan Grier and Wanda Sykes as a bombing stand-up comic’s enthusiastic heckler.

Jay Hernandez in Magnum PI
CBS

Magnum P.I.

Series star Jay Hernandez goes behind the camera in his directorial debut for an episode that’s deeply personal for the Hawaiian private eye. His mission: clearing the name of his late Navy SEAL buddy Sebastian Nuzo (Domenick Lombardozzi), who is posthumously implicated in a murder.

All the Old Knives

Movie Premiere

Chris Pine stars in author Olen Steinhauer’s adaptation of his 2015 spy novel as veteran CIA agent Henry Pelham, who’s hunting for the mole who leaked intelligence that led to a fatal plane hijacking eight years earlier. His search takes him around the globe, ultimately to California, where Henry reunites with his ex-lover and former colleague Celia (Westworld’s Thandiwe Newton), who may or may not know more than she’s letting on.

Slow Horses

The great British actor Jonathan Pryce (Game of Thrones) plays Celia’s former boss in Knives and also has a choice (if minor) role in this inspired twist on the spy genre. He is seen sparingly as a veteran MI5 agent and grandfather of disgraced young spy River Cartwright (Jack Lowden), who in the pivotal third episode is on the run after his partner, Sid (Olivia Cooke), is shot while on a rogue surveillance. There’s mayhem within the halls and stairways of Slough House, a dumping ground for spies who’ve seen better days. Their cantankerous boss, Jackson Lamb (an hilariously dyspeptic Gary Oldman), mocks them mercilessly, but when they’re put in danger as we learn more about who’s really behind the kidnapping of a student being threatened with public execution, we realize Jackson has their back. “They’re my losers,” he insists, but can they survive this dark night of the soul?

Also in adieu mode on the Apple site:

  • The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey: Samuel L. Jackson’s powerful performance in the title role reaches poignant new heights in the limited series’ finale when Ptolemy once again begins to lose his grip on reality, but not before dressing for destiny (in red suit and hat) as he prepares to confront his great-nephew’s killer and ensure his legacy lives on.
  • Central Park: The tuneful animated comedy closes its second season amid a glorious snowfall. And while there’s nothing more beautiful than Central Park cloaked in newly fallen snow, the blizzard adds complications for the Tillermans as they try to stop Bitsy’s (the hilarious Stanley Tucci) scheme to buy the park and turn it into the world’s biggest mall. Wyclef Jean provides and performs on the climactic song, “A Walk in the Park.”

Inside Friday TV:

  • The Blacklist (8/7c, NBC): FBI task force chief Cooper (Harry Lennix) intensifies his search for his mystery blackmailer, a mission that awkwardly overlaps with the unit’s latest Blacklist case.
  • Now Hear This (9/8c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): Combining travel and music-appreciation history, host/violinist Scott Yoo opens his third season of the Great Performances series by performing and exploring the music of Romantic-era composer Amy Beach with his flutist wife Alice Dade. Followed by Chamber Music Society Returns (10/9c, check local listings at pbs.org), a two-part documentary (concluding April 15) about the Chamber Music Society of New York’s return to performing in Alice Tully Hall and on the road after the pandemic shutdown.
  • True Crime Watch: ABC’s 20/20 (9/8c) looks into the case currently being dramatized in the docudrama The Girl from Plainville on Hulu (like ABC, an arm of Disney) about Michelle Carter, convicted of involuntary manslaughter after texts were discovered in which she urged her troubled boyfriend to commit suicide. On Dateline NBC (9/8c), Dennis Murphy reports on the 2019 murder of former Arkansas State Senator Linda Collins, found stabbed to death outside her home. Was the motive personal or political?
  • Blue Bloods (10/9c, CBS): We all know that NYPD Commissioner Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) is by-the-books when it comes to law and order. But he’s tempted to bend the rules when a Marine veteran, who’s become a local hero after saving a woman’s lie, asks him to ignore the NYPD’s recruitment age limit so he can join the force.
  • Streaming highlights include a fifth season of the sexy Spanish cult mystery Elite on Netflix, a second season of Hulu comedy Woke, starring Lamorne Morris as a cartoonist and social activist, and a second season of the Paramount+ reboot of influencer sitcom iCarly.