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Five September TV Premieres to Watch

IN THE September 20 ISSUE

FROM THE 2014 Articles,
andDeborah Harter Williams,
andMysteryrat's Maze,
andTV
SECTIONS

by Deborah Harter Williams

Fed up with the tepid summer offerings? Already binged through all your faves? Well, get those DVRs revved up. New shows are coming.

Here’s what we’re checking out.

1. The Mysteries of Laura – September 17 on NBC 8 p.m.
Debra Messing (SMASH, Will & Grace) is Laura Diamond, a successful NYPD homicide detective. Twin boys and a soon-to-be ex-husband challenge her life. Plus the other woman in the squad (tightly wound and tightly coiffed) resents Laura outshining her and is looking for opportunities to show her up. TV

Based on a Spanish series, developed for U.S. by Jeff Rake (Beauty and the Beast, Bones) and the Spanish writers.

Why to watch:

Debra Messing pulling it off. If you’ve only seen her on Will & Grace, look again. She can do comedy without goofiness and be believable as both an exasperated mom and a tough cop. As she warns a perp while leveling a gun at him, “I’m kind of an A-type personality and I’ve been practicing with this a lot.”

Guest stars: In the first episode Enrico Colantino (Just Shoot Me, Veronica Mars) and next month French-American actor Gilles Marini (Brothers & Sisters, Sex in the City 2) as a fashion designer who gets to make Laura over to be ready for the runway.

Caution: Cute kid alert. Let the kids get too much screen time and they’ll run away with show making it American Family with murder.

2. Madam Secretary – September 21 on CBS 8 p.m.
Tea Leoni plays a former CIA agent whose ex-boss, now president of the United States (Keith Carradine), asks her to become Secretary of State after an accident opens up the job. At home is husband, Henry (Tim Daly – The Practice, Wings), a professor of religion who quotes Thomas Aquinas in bed. She also has a teenage daughter and a young son.

Created by Humanitas Award winner Barbara Hall (Joan of Arcadia) and produced by Morgan Freeman’s Revelation Entertainment.

Why to watch:
A rare functional family.
Bebe Neuwirth (Cheers), as Chief of Staff and Carradine as POTUS.
The Hillary Effect: The shadow of Hillary Clinton falls on any woman playing a strong Washington-based character. So, take it away Tea and showrunners – How Hillary-like will she be?

Caution: This is a show that can easily go over the top in multiple ways.
Needs to find its balance early to succeed.

TV3. Gotham – September 22 on Fox 8 p.m.
It’s a Batman prequel! Or more accurately it’s the backstory of Jim Gordon, future police commissioner. It’s also the backstory of Gotham City itself and the origin of several DC Comics’ villains including Catwoman and Penguin. Ben McKenzie (Southland, The O.C) plays young Gordon, who is brand new to the force when he and his partner investigate the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents.

Why to watch:
Jada Pinkett Smith as Fish Mooney. She makes a helluva villainess and chews up the scenery as fast as they can make it.
Original stories: Who can resist a peak at the old yearbooks of some classic heroes and villains.
Big sets, big effects: New York City made-over to become “Gotham.” Imagination, CGI and a Blade-Runner vibe.
Caution : You may go out humming the scenery. Here’s hoping the actors and story can compete.

4. NCIS: New Orleans – September 23 on CBS 9 p.m.
Hello NOLA! NCIS hits the Big Easy. Scott Bakula (Quantum Leap, Men of a Certain Age), Lucas Black, Zoe McLellan, and C.C.H. Pounder (everything from Avatar to West Wing) solve navy-related crimes on Bourbon Street and environs.

Why to watch:
It’s NCIS, it’s Scott Bakula, it’s C.C.H. Pounder…and it’s New Orleans.
No brainer.
Caution: Too many southern-fried New Orleans clichés could ruin a good thing.

tv5. How to Get Away With Murder – September 25 on ABC 10 p.m.
Annalise Keating represents the most hardened criminals. She is also a Criminal Law professor who challenges her students to go at assignments as if they were real…and then they are. The four most successful will join her firm, but they will have to learn her rules, which may or may not be strictly legal.

Viola Davis (The Help, Enders Game) is the brilliant, sexy Keating. Tom Verica is Annalise’s husband and Billy Brown (Dexter, Sons of Anarchy) the straight-shooting detective who is drawn to her but wary of her tactics. Alysia Reiner plays the prosecutor who goes up against her.

Creator Shonda Rhimes has taken over Thursday night. Grey’s Anatomy leads off at 8, followed by Scandal at 9 and now HTGAWM at 10 p.m. From Medicine, to Politics and now Law–Rhimes mines life, death and intrigue. This is her trifecta.

The students are young, ambitious and multi-cultural. Alfred Enoch (Harry Potter, Sherlock) is earnest, Aja Naomi King (Black Box) overachieving; Matt McGorry (Orange is the New Black) is the Ivy-leaguer; Karla Souza, the quiet one, and Katie Findlay, tough Philly girl.

Why to watch:
Great characters, talented actors, multiple twisty plot lines.
Caution: You may need to take notes.

Watch for some more premieres next month!

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.

Deborah Harter Williams works as a mystery scout, seeking novels that could be made into television. She blogs at Clue Sisters and was formerly a mystery bookstore owner.

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