Worth Watching: ‘Station 19’ and ‘Murder’ Finales, a Topical ‘Good Fight,’ The Lighter Side of Edward G. Robinson
A selective critical checklist of notable Thursday TV:
Station 19 (9/8c, ABC): As if we needed a reminder of how topsy-turvy the spring TV season has been because of the pandemic-mandated production shutdown, the third-season finale of the Grey’s Anatomy spinoff features a number of actors from the Grey’s world — Ellen Pompeo, Caterina Scorsone, Kim Raver and Stefania Spampinato — in a storyline that almost certainly would have factored into Grey‘s own season finale if the show had been able to complete its last batch of episodes. The explosive scenario involves poor, ill-fated Pac-North Hospital — the source of many of Richard Webber’s woes, and a catalyst for Alex Karev’s clumsy departure — as the Station 19 crew heads there to evacuate a doctor only to find further jeopardy. In another cliffhanger, Capt. Sullivan (Boris Kodjoe) finally has surgery for his chronic leg pain, which could help cure many of his personal ills.
How to Get Away with Murder (10/9c, ABC): In a more epic climax, the berserk legal melodrama promises (threatens?) to reveal all — though will any of it make sense‑in the series finale. Expect a surprise witness (are there any other kind?) to further complicate Annalise’s (Viola Davis) case, among other twists. This show certainly got away with a lot during its six seasons. (Though I admit I will miss my significant other’s weekly “Is that still on?” outburst when promos would air during Grey’s, since our household bailed on this nonsense long ago.)
The Good Fight (streaming on CBS All Access): In the mood for some actual meaty courtroom drama? The Good Wife spinoff steps up in fine form, when Liz (Audra McDonald) and Army veteran Caleb (Hugh Dancy) work together — despite the awkwardness of their newly intimate connection — to defend a soldier in a military court-martial. The defendant is charged with sabotaging the weapon of a superior officer who he felt was committing war crimes against innocent civilians during the Afghan conflict. (Any resemblance to recent headlines is no doubt quite intentional in this politically charged series.) The terrific Linda Emond (Lodge 49) reprises her Good Wife guest role as a tough but fair military judge. Annaleigh Ashford (Masters of Sex) also appears as a new colleague who helps Diane (Christine Baranski) discover a new mechanism for coping with stress. Speaking of which, the “Memo 618” enigma continues to surface, and newly minted judge Julius (Michael Boatman) decides to fight back against this mysterious threat to the legal process.
The Whole Town’s Talking (8/7c, Turner Classic Movies): If you’re like me, one of the benefits of this self-quarantine period has been an urge to establish occasional “movie nights” to rediscover great films from yesteryear, either in one’s own library of discs or in wonderful places like the TCM archive. May’s TCM “Star of the Month” is Edward G. Robinson, who reveals a lighter side to his tough-guy persona in this week’s lineup of films, starting with a 1935 comedy from director John Ford (pre-Stagecoach), in which he attacks a double role as a gangster who hides from the law by switching places with a meek lookalike clerk. Followed by 1938’s A Slight Case of Murder (9:45/8:45c), where he’s a gangster who tries to go straight after Prohibition ends.
Inside Thursday TV: Talk about timely. Streaming service Crackle presents Cooped Up, a 2016 romantic comedy from Australia. Cooked up long before the current pandemic, it’s about a semi-pro wrestler (Charles Cottier) who is forced to self-isolate for 21 days after coming in contact with a potentially fatal virus, and his only outside contact is a female medic (Kathryn Beck) who he naturally falls for… Also streaming, on the non-fiction CuriosityStream service: 4th and Forever: Muck City, a docuseries profiling two South Florida towns that have produced an unusual number of pro football players. (A similarly themed sports documentary, Basketball County: In the Water, airs Friday on Showtime.)… If you’re a fan of CBS sitcoms Man with a Plan (8:30/7:30c) and the new Broke (9:30/8:30c), each recently canceled, enjoy them while you can. Both air new episodes, with Rescue Me‘s Jack MeGee guesting on Broke as Jackie’s (Pauley Perrette) jailbird dad… TBS’s The Misery Index game show is back for a second season (10:30/9:30c), with host Jameela Jamil (The Good Place) and truTV’s Impractical Jokers helping contestants guess how experts rate embarrassing incidents on a scale from 1 to 100. Admitting to watching The Misery Index probably falls somewhere near the middle of that range.