BET's 'Being Mary Jane,' FX's 'Justified'
With "Scandal" away, there's still plenty to play.
* BEING MARY JANE. 10 p.m. tomorrow, BET.
* JUSTIFIED. 10 p.m. tomorrow, FX.
* KILLER WOMEN. 10 p.m. tomorrow, 6ABC.
WITH ABC's "Scandal" vacationing at an undisclosed location until Feb. 27, some of us are experiencing Olivia Pope withdrawal.
But before we start looking for drama in our own lives - surely we know someone who's been a trained assassin or a presidential mistress? - it's worth considering "Being Mary Jane," a new BET drama from Mara Brock Akil ("Girlfriends," "The Game") that's also about a super-capable professional woman with an insanely complicated personal life.
Although, OK, maybe not as complicated as Olivia's.
In "Being Mary Jane," introduced to viewers in a TV movie last summer that drew record ratings for BET, Gabrielle Union stars as Mary Jane Paul, a cable-network anchor who seems to have it all, at least professionally.
Her job, though, may be less secure than she thought, and her personal life is a work in progress - she's still reeling from the discovery that the man she'd been planning a life with already had one with someone else.
A strong supporting cast includes Margaret Avery as her sick and often fretful mother, Richard Roundtree as her father and Lisa Vidal as her producer and friend, Kara. But it's Union's commitment to all the craziness in her character's life (including sex in all the wrong places, with all the wrong people) that's likely to make "Being Mary Jane" my newest guilty pleasure.
Not that Tuesdays at 10 is devoid of pleasures, guilty or otherwise. Tomorrow also brings:
* The return of FX's "Justified."
Novelist Elmore Leonard, sadly, is no more, but his marvelous, trigger-happy character, Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant), lives on in FX's "Justified," which returns for its fifth season tomorrow.
Leonard, who died in August at age 87, loved the show enough to have written more Raylan stories for creator Graham Yost and his writing staff to mine, and I'd like to think that he'd have enjoyed the scene in tomorrow's episode in which a pair of Canadian drug dealers visiting Detroit sing the praises of the Tim Hortons doughnut chain to a couple of guys from Kentucky who couldn't care less. (Did I mention that Dave Foley's one of the Canadians? Of course he is. Because the casting of this show is pretty much note-perfect.) It's a funny scene but it also hurries the plot along and, so, in many ways it feels like a perfect melding of the minds of Detroit's Leonard and the Canadian-born Yost. Which pretty much sums up "Justified," too.
* And there's also the premiere of ABC's "Killer Women."
It would be hard to forget Tricia Helfer's performance(s) as Cylon No. 6 in "Battlestar Galactica," but, then, ABC might not want us to.
In the network's newest cop show - whose title sounds like something MSNBC might run on the weekends - Helfer plays Molly Parker, one of the few female Texas Rangers, and "Battlestar" veteran Michael Trucco plays her brother.
The show's action-packed and wildly improbable, but Helfer looks as if she might be having fun, and if you don't think too hard (and wouldn't rather be watching the gunplay in "Justified"), you might, too.
Arsenic and old bones
Shows like "CSI" and "Bones" have made forensics experts of us all, but the link between crime-solving and science was a relatively recent one, and in tomorrow's fascinating "American Experience" (8 p.m. Tuesday, WHYY12), based on the best-seller The Poisoner's Handbook, we learn how much easier it used to be to get away with murder.