With the return tonight of The Closer and Saving Grace, along with the recent premiere of witness protection drama In Plain Sight, we’re seeing a run on shows focusing on female protagonists who are tough as nails on the beat and weighed down by personal problems the rest of the time. For these characters, the thin blue line might refer to their police work, or it might refer to a pregnancy test. While Police Woman opened the door for a female-driven cop show, and Cagney and Lacey laid out the blueprint for female cops who had heavy caseloads and troubled personal lives, this template seems to have been dominated recently by the likes of Andy Sipowicz and Vic Mackey. (In other words, we really miss Helen Mirren and Prime Suspect.) It’s nice to have you back, ladies.
Of the two shows returning to TNT tonight, Saving Grace may be the more ambitious, with its explicit religious questioning and emphasis on Grace’s (Holly Hunter) redemption or fall. Still, we might be slightly partial to Brenda Leigh Johnson’s (Kyra Sedgwick) band of merry madcaps. The journey from alienating the Southern newcomer to staunchly standing behind their leader has been an impressive arc for that crew, too, and one made all the more fun by watching Brenda cross swords with Chief Pope (the brilliant J. K. Simmons) or try to corral Dets. Flynn and Proveza (underappreciated MVPs Tony Denison and G. W. Bailey). While Brenda isn’t quite as much of a mess as Grace, her sparring partners make her wobbling really entertaining. New episodes of both shows tonight on TNT, starting at 9pm Eastern.