What's On: Kennedy Center Honors Norman Lear, back-to-back ‘Major Crimes’
Kennedy Center Honors (9/8c, CBS): A true TV legend, producer/activist Norman Lear (All in the Family, Maude, Good Times, Sanford and Son, Mary Hartman), is among the honorees at one of the year’s classiest celebrations of the arts. Lear, still going strong in his mid-90s, is saluted by an eclectic group including J.J. Abrams, Dave Chappelle, son Rob Reiner, Rachel Bloom, black-ish creator Kenya Barris and star Anthony Anderson, and Rita Moreno. In other highlights, honoree Gloria Estefan enjoys a musical tribute including appearances by Chaka Khan, Becky G, daughter Emily Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine; LL Cool J’s rap career is recalled by Busta Rhymes, MC Lyte and others; Meryl Streep and The Late Show’s Jon Batiste lead a tribute to dancer Carmen de Lavallade; honoree Lionel Richie is serenaded by Stevie Wonder, Luke Bryan and Leona Lewis.
Major Crimes (9/8c, TNT): [SPOILER ALERT] Reeling from the sudden death of Sharon Raydor (Mary McDonnell), the crime drama plays out its final four-episode arc with the return of escaped serial killer Phillip Stroh (Billy Burke) giving the Major Crimes squad a sinister distraction from their (and fans’) grief. In back-to-back episodes, the squad also has its hands full with Chief Mason (Leonard Roberts).
Travelers (Netflix): When Eric McCormack isn’t cavorting on NBC’s successful revival on Will & Grace, he’s taking things much more seriously in this time-tripping Canadian sci-fi thriller, as a “traveler” from the future who jumped into the body of the FBI’s Grant MacLaren, with a mission to keep society from collapsing. The second season of 12 episodes is now ready for binge-watching in the present.
Inside Tuesday TV: History buffs can flock to PBS for two specials: The Sultan and the Saint (8/7c, check local listings at pbs.org), which explores the relationship between St. Francis of Assisi and the Sultan of Egypt as they sought to bring peace during the bloody Crusades; and a special edition of Secrets of the Dead exploring Secrets of Spanish Florida (9/8c, check local listings at pbs.org). Jimmy Smits narrates this look back to the 16th century, when settlers from Spain and a melting pot of other European and African locales put down roots in what is now one of my favorite places in all of Florida, St. Augustine. … TBS’s Drop the Mic (10:30/9:30c) pits Pentatonix against Bell Biv DeVoe in a rap battle, followed by Top Chef’s Padma Lakshmi taking on American Idol vet Randy Jackson.