Worth Watching: ‘New Amsterdam’ Returns, an Oscar Winner Joins ‘Prodigal Son,’ ABC’s ‘Soul of a Nation’

prodigal son michael sheen catherine zeta jones
Phil Caruso/FOX
Prodigal Son

A selective critical checklist of notable Tuesday TV:

New Amsterdam (10/9c, NBC): With the medical place-fillers imported from Canada (Transplant and Nurses) now over, the New York-set hospital drama finally opens its doors again for a third season, catching up with its dedicated doctors a year into the pandemic. Doe-eyed Dr. Max (Ryan Eggold) is now pledging to look beyond the hospital to fix the entire broken system, but first he has to find some hard-to-get meds for Dr. Kapoor (Anupam Kher), who has succumbed to the virus. And what would a season opener be without a calamity? Which explains why a plane chooses this hectic time to crash into the East River.

Prodigal Son (9/8c, Fox): They must have upped the casting budget on this exhilarating thriller, introducing Oscar winner Catherine Zeta-Jones (Chicago) in the recurring “special guest star” role of Dr. Vivien Capshaw, an icy physician who’s taking over the infirmary at Claremont Psychiatric. Her new orderly: “The Surgeon” himself, Martin Whitly (Michael Sheen), who’s going to put her “one-strike policy” to the test while crowing, “I do enjoy being needed.” On the home front, Malcolm (Tom Payne) has his hands full with his blood-spattered sister, Ainsley (Halston Sage), while their mom Jessica (Bellamy Young) unhappily entertains her dishy sister, Birdie (Broadway veteran Rachel York). Stay tuned to the end for a glimpse of supreme scene-stealer Alan Cumming (The Good Wife) as a Europol agent who’s about to make everyone’s life more complicated.

Soul of a Nation (10/9c, ABC): A six-part docuseries from ABC News examines the state of Black life in America after the traumatic events of 2020, with This Is Us star Sterling K. Brown serving as the premiere’s guest hosts. Segments include chief justice correspondent Pierre Brown’s interview with U.S. Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn about the Jan. 6 insurrection, and Byron Pitts’ visit to Evanston, Ill., a focal point of the reparations debate. ESPN’s The Undefeated provides a mini-documentary that looks at representations of Blacks in cinema in front of and behind the camera.

OWN Spotlight: (In)Visible Portraits (9/8c, OWN): Also relevant to these times, a film from artist/thought leader Oge Egbuonu celebrates the history and heritage of exceptional Black women in a documentary that details their struggle and resilience.

Inside Tuesday TV: The CW’s The Flash (8/7c) kicks off its seventh season with the speedster (Grant Gustin) in low gear, needing a boost from Nash Wells (Tom Cavanagh) while Iris (Candice Patton) remains imprisoned in the Mirrorverse… Get ready to start saying your goodbyes to Jack (Maria Bello) on CBS’s NCIS (8/7c), after she heads to Afghanistan with Gibbs (Mark Harmon) to track down a busload of kidnapped girls… That’s followed on an all-new night by FBI (9/8c), which raises its social consciousness as Agent Tiffany Wallace (Katherine Renee Turner) weighs her career against her responsibilities as a Black woman… Dre (Anthony Anderson) has his own reckoning on ABC’s black-ish (9/8c) when he worries he’s become out of touch with the latest cultural trends. Join the club… For pure escapism, BritBox drops a second season of The Mallorca Files, with detectives Miranda Blake (Elen Rhys) and Max Winter (Julian Looman) solving cases on the scenic Spanish isle.