‘Keeping Faith’ Final Season, ‘Bull’ Origin Story, A Cautionary ‘Painkiller’ Fable, A Swedish Murder Case Unfolds in ‘Pray, Obey, Kill’

The Welsh crime drama Killing Faith raises the emotional bar in its third and final season. See how it all began with a Bull flashback. HBO imports another fascinating true-crime docuseries from Scandinavia.

ACORN TV

Keeping Faith

This is that rare item: a tear-jerking nail-biter. Emotions run high and deep in the third and final season of the Welsh drama as lawyer Faith Howells (Torchwood’s sexy and emotionally honest Eve Myles) argues in court on behalf of a dying boy in need of a risky operation. The great Sian Phillips (I, Claudius) is the compassionate judge trying to keep Faith’s own emotions in check. Not easy when her personal life is at a crossroads, with an increasingly messy custody battle causing her two daughters great anxiety. And Faith has her own mommy issues, when her menacingly criminal estranged mother Rose (Better Things’ marvelous Celia Imrie) shows up to make life difficult for everyone, including her struggling ex, Evan (Bradley Freegard), and her rugged lover Steve Baldini (Mark Lewis Jones), who becomes unhappily ensnared in Rose’s schemes. The show may only have lasted for three seasons—two episodes premiere this week, with the remaining four airing weekly—but Faith is undeniably a keeper.

CBS

Bull

How did TAC (Trial Analysis Corporation) come to be? Find out in a special origin-story episode, which reaches back 12 years to a time when Bull (Michael Weatherly) tries to get a new trial for a wrongly convicted prisoner. This incident inspires him to get into trial science, but what about the rest of the team?

THE CW

Black Lightning

Series creator Salim Akil wrote and directed this episode, which tells the cautionary story of a former villain known as Painkiller, a super-enhanced killing machine who’s now reformed and living as Khalil Payne (Jordan Calloway) in another city. Any superhero fan knows pasts don’t stay unburied for long, and when duty calls for him to start working for the side of right, Khalil must come to grips with his darker side and control his the Painkiller within.

Pray, Obey, Kill

Scandinavian mysteries are even more chilling when they’re true. So it is with a five-part docuseries from Sweden, which examines a notorious 2004 murder case that made headlines around the world. It begins with the murder of a young woman in her bed who was part of a small village’s Pentecostal congregation. Suspicion soon turns to her husband, also the sect’s pastor, and their 26-year-old nanny, who claims she was following orders from a series of text messages from God.

Inside Monday TV:

  • 31 Days of Oscar (all day and night, Turner Classic Movies): The “I’s” have it as the monthlong series of Oscar-worthy films continues its alphabetical marathon, with highlights including Frank Capra’s 1934 comedy It Happened One Night (10:30 am ET/9:30c), which won Oscars for Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, and the madcap epic It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (5:15 ET/4:15c). The J’s kick in at midnight/11c with Bette Davis’s Oscar-winning performance as 1938’s Jezebel.
  • On the singing front, NBC’s The Voice (8/7c) wraps the Battle Rounds in advance of the Knockouts, and ABC’s American Idol (8/7c) reveals the top 10 vote-getters from the Top 16, which means six contestants will have to sing their heart out as the judges choose two to fill the Top 12.
  • Bob Hearts Abishola (8:30/7:30c): It’s refreshing to find flaws in a sitcom heroine, and there’s no question that Abishola (Folake Olowofoyeku) has to work on her “people skills” when she takes over the nursing staff after Gloria (Vernee Watson) goes on vacation.
  • Down a Dark Stairwell (10/9c, PBS, check local listings at pbs.org): An unsettling Independent Lens documentary looks at the multi-layered racial fallout from the 2014 shooting of unarmed Black man Akai Gurley in a dark Brooklyn stairwell by Chinese-American police officer Peter Liang. He was later convicted of second-degree manslaughter, a sentence that rarely applies to white officers.