Worth Watching: ‘Million’ and Other Finales (‘Picard,’ ‘Sinner,’ ‘Deputy’), a Gold Standard on ‘Top Chef’
A selective critical checklist of notable Thursday TV:
A Million Little Things (10/9c, ABC): On a night unusually full of season finales — a new midseason wave is coming — the soapy drama wraps its second season with about a million things going on at once. Eddie (David Giuntoli) and Katherine (Grace Park) have decided to renew their vows, making 10 years of his sobriety, so naturally that’s when Eve (Ebboney Wilson) goes into labor with the baby promised to Rome (Romany Malco) and Regina (Christina Moses). And it’s also the eve of Maggie (Allison Miller) leaving for her Oxford fellowship, which means more reckoning with her and Gary’s (James Roday) feelings for each other. If that weren’t enough, Eddie’s tiresome obsession with a tragedy from his past distracts him — and I’m betting some viewers — to the breaking point.
Star Trek: Picard (streaming on CBS All Access): Not available for preview, the finale of a strong first season sets up a mighty battle between the approaching Romulan warbirds and the defiant synths on Soji’s (Isa Briones) home planet of Coppelius. No one’s listening to Picard (Patrick Stewart), who was last seen being taken into custody to silence his talk of peace and Federation reconciliation. But we all know it’s impossible to keep this born leader down for long.
The Sinner (10/9c, USA): Wow, this got dark. The psychodrama ends its gripping if often improbable third season with Detective Harry Ambrose (the excellent Bill Pullman) engaged in a very disturbing dance of death with the beyond-troubled Jamie Burns (Matt Bomer like we’ve never seen him), who’s got a new victims list. “He wants to torture me, bring me to the edge, where he is,” explains Harry, who’s warned — and quite rightly — that “[Jamie] is a drowning man. He’ll pull you under.” As if being buried alive several episodes ago hadn’t already crossed the line into utter madness.
Deputy (9/8c, Fox): The crime drama’s first season ends on the day of a quinceañera for Sheriff Bill’s (Stephen Dorff) daughter Maggie (Valeria Juaregui), but as usual, duty calls. In this case, he and the rest of the squad are looking for a leak in the department, after their informants start turning up dead all over L.A.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (8:30/7:30c, NBC): The great Oscar-winning character actor J.K. Simmons, who knows his way around a precinct from his days on Law & Order and The Closer, stops by the wacky 9-9 for a most memorable visit. He’s Frank Dillman, a legendary detective from the San Francisco force who can reduce even the stoic Capt. Holt (Andre Braugher) into a fanboy. “My God, I have gooseflesh,” Holt announces as Dillman jockeys with a jealous Jake (Andy Samberg) to get to the bottom of a glittery prank perpetrated in the office. Kyra Sedgwick, who recurred as Holt’s late nemesis Madeline Wuntch, directs the episode.
Top Chef (10/9c, Bravo): In the second round of all-star competition, the show pays tribute to the late Pulitzer-winning food critic Jonathan Gold, a Los Angeles legend. The chefs traverse the city to sample the eclectic local cuisines Gold championed, using them as inspiration for dishes to be served to 200 of his nearest and dearest. Food writer Ruth Reichl, a close friend of Gold’s, serves as guest judge this week.
A new season of Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race: Gold Coast (9/8c) also uses L.A. as a backdrop for its season opener, when host Tyler Florence challenges seven teams to prepare and sell luxury versions of the comfort food they typically serve.
Inside Thursday TV: Streaming highlight: Netflix’s four-part drama Unorthodox stars Shira Haas (The Zookeeper’s Wife) as a Brooklyn woman who breaks away from her family’s Hasidic community and unhappily arranged marriage to find herself in Berlin… E!’s Keeping Up with the Kardashians has moved to a new night and time (8/7c)… PBS is declaring Thursdays “American History Night with Ken Burns” as an ennobling way of giving audiences something substantive to enjoy during the coronavirus crisis, and starts with a replay of 2014’s acclaimed The Roosevelts: An Intimate History (9/8c, check local listings at pbs.org)… The HBO documentary Kill Chain: The Cyber War on America’s Elections (9/8c) takes a hard look at the vulnerabilities of U.S. election technology and how it puts the upcoming election, and democracy itself, at risk… truTV’s irreverent firefighter comedy Tacoma FD (10/9c) is back for a second season, with Capt. Eddie (Steve Lemme) preparing for fatherhood and the rest of the gang scrambling to keep their game on when Chief Terry (Kevin Heffernan) bans gambling in the firehouse.