Worth Watching: 'Elementary' Finale, 'Why Women Kill,' 'In the Heat of the Night'
A selective critical checklist of notable Thursday TV:
Elementary (10/9c, CBS): After an eventful season, it's time for Sherlock Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) and Joan Watson (Lucy Liu) to take "Their Last Bow," an appropriately clever title — with a tip of the cap to Arthur Conan Doyle — for the series finale. Last seen in opulent exile in Florence, Italy, having faked his death to take down nemesis Odin Reichenbach, Holmes may yet be haunted once again by the long reach of his former love and criminal extraordinaire Jamie Moriarty before it's all over. Veteran broadcaster Joan Lunden guests as a TV anchor who interviews Watson — perhaps about her partner's mysterious vanishing act? However it plays out, this above-average procedural will be missed.
Why Women Kill (streaming on CBS All Access): Who knows better that hell hath no fury than the creator of Desperate Housewives? Marc Cherry is back with a new campy concoction of suburban dysfunction with a literally killer hook. Set over three different decades spanning 50 years of occupants in the same suburban Pasadena mansion, Why Women Kill smartly interweaves three tales of potentially deadly marital discord. In 1963, domestic goddess Beth Ann (Ginnifer Goodwin) channels June Cleaver, living to serve until she learns her husband (Sam Jaeger) is a cheat. A similar, though possibly more scandalous, revelation awaits 1980s socialite Simone (Lucy Liu, chewing the scenary in a way Joan Watson would never dream), and her explosive reaction will change the neighborhood forever. The present-day storyline is the most original and compelling, with lawyer Taylor (Kirby Howell-Baptiste) endangering her open marriage to laid-back Eli (Reid Scott) when she brings home a playmate (the adorable Alexandra Daddario). Each of these scenarios will lead to murder, but whose?
In the Heat of the Night (8/7c, TCM): The centerpiece of a 24-hour "Summer Under the Stars" salute to the late Rod Steiger, who won an Oscar as bigoted Mississippi police chief Gillespie, Norman Jewison's 1967 movie was the basis for the successful TV crime drama (1988-94) starring Carroll O'Connor and Howard Rollins. In the movie, Steiger clashes with Sidney Poitier in one of his best roles as visiting detective Virgil Tibbs from Philadelphia, who decides to stick around despite the virulent racism to solve a businessman’s murder. While this is unquestionably one of Steiger's most prominent performances, tune in earlier to see him on the other side of the law in the title role of 1959's Al Capone (6/5c), as the infamous Chicago gangster.
Inside Thursday TV: See how the sausage is made on Fox's Masterchef (8/7c)… There's more culinary competition in the final round of ABC's Family Food Fight (9/8c), when the remaining two families duke it out in the kitchen, with the winner taking home $100,000… One week before its series finale, FX's offbeat comedy Baskets (10/9c) offers an episode titled "Mrs. Baskets Goes to Sacramento" — but with a hitch, because Christine's (Ernie Anderson) apple pie won’t clear security.