What’s On: ‘Frontline’ on Putin, Capra and Jimmy Stewart on TCM, ‘Liar’ finale
A critical checklist of notable Wednesday TV:
Putin’s Revenge, Part 2 (10/9c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): With social-media giants testifying to Congress about Russian interference in the 2016 election, and indictments handed down earlier this week from special counsel Robert Mueller, the gripping and alarming conclusion to Frontline’s two-part Putin’s Revenge couldn’t be more timely. Filmmaker Michael Kirk outlined Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s long-held grievances against the U.S. in last week’s installment, and now details the growing alarm in intelligence circles during the presidential race over Russian-led and Putin-directed hacking and disinformation campaigns—yes, “fake news”—that were designed to manipulate and influence the election process. Amplified by trolls and bots, and even a candidate who saw not a threat to democracy in these hacks and leaks but a gift to exploit, Putin’s Revenge reminds us that there our political system has enemies far greater than rival parties. Collusion isn’t the issue here. National security and democracy are at stake as the cloud over Russian involvement continues to bedevil the current administration.
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (9:45/8:45c, Turner Classic Movies): Should your psyche need a cleanser in these days of political turmoil and partisan conflict, TCM kicks off its tribute to “Star of the Month” James Stewart with 1939’s ode to idealism, one of director Frank Capra’s finest. The movie is preceded by the 1987 documentary retrospective James Stewart: A Wonderful Life (8/7c).
Liar (10/9c, SundanceTV): The jig, as they say, is up in the first-season finale of the newly relevant psychosexual melodrama starring Downton Abbey’s Joanne Froggatt as a woman who’ll cross any line to take down the arrogant doctor (Ioan Gruffudd) who drugged and sexually assaulted her. With several time jumps and even more twists, a few too obviously telegraphed, Liar keeps you wondering if justice will ever be served, then delivers a climactic stunner that sets up a second season, already commissioned.
Inside Wednesday TV: PBS’s Nature revisits one of its more memorable characters in H Is for Hawk: A New Chapter (8/7c, check local listings at pbs.org), in which best-selling author Helen Macdonald, after the death of her beloved Mabel, tries again to train a bird of prey. … The final two feature-length episodes of long-running British mystery George Gently begin streaming on Acorn TV. Martin Shaw plays Gently, who in the finale is set to retire when a covert police unit approaches him with one more tempting offer. … Halloween may be over, but the spirit is alive—or possibly undead—in IFC’s horror spoof Stan Against Evil (10/9c), returning for a second season. In back-to-back episodes, curmudgeonly former sheriff Stan Miller (the hilarious John C. McGinley) once again reluctantly goes into battle against restless demons alongside his successor, Evie Barret (Janet Varney), in the cursed town of Willard’s Mill. … Hillary Clinton pays her first visit to Comedy Central’s The Daily Show (11/10c) since Trevor Noah took over. She’ll discuss her book, What Happened.