KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS
A new wave of police procedurals hit the air this month, including TNT's "The Closer" and Fox's "The Inside." A half-dozen others have been announced for this fall's slate. Most model themselves after CSI, TV's top-rated cop show, while also borrowing elements from other crime series. And there are plenty of influences to choose from: Besides the three CSIs and three Law & amp; Orders, television's other returning procedurals include "Without a Trace," "Cold Case," "NCIS" and "Numb3rs" on CBS and "Medium" and "Crossing Jordan" on NBC.
Here's a rundown of recently premiered and upcoming crime-TV shows and how they fit in:
"Bones" (Fox, 8 p.m. Tuesdays, fall) -- One of the most promising new procedurals could've been called "Fun with Forensics." Even at its darkest, Bones is lined with levity. The irreverent anthropologist played by Emily Deschanel is a breakout character, an outsider who wants in at the FBI so she can solve her parents' mysterious disappearance. "CSI" meets "Wonderfalls."
"Close to Home" (CBS, 10 p.m. Tuesdays, fall) -- A suburban mom returns to her job as a prosecutor trying cases from her own neighborhood. Her sensitivity as a woman gives the series a feminist undertone -- in similar fashion to the female leads on "CSI" and "Law & amp; Order: Special Victims Unit" -- but without giving an inch on the heinousness of the crimes depicted. "CSI" meets "Desperate Housewives."
"The Closer" (TNT, 9 p.m. Mondays) -- Kyra Sedgwick is magnetic in the title role, a CIA-trained interrogator with a drawl whose promotion to chief of Los Angeles' Priority Murder Squad upsets the good ol' boy network. Ratings for the premiere went through the roof. "CSI" meets "Ally McBeal."
"Criminal Minds" (CBS, 9 p.m. Wednesdays, fall) -- Mandy Patinkin and Thomas Gibson head a squad of FBI profilers who do for the imagination what "CSI" has done for microscopic evidence. Their job is to figure out the motives and next moves of twisted criminals by getting inside their heads. "CSI" meets "Medium."
"The Evidence" (ABC, midseason) -- The "CSI" formula is further dissected by revealing all the clues at the top of the hour, then flashing back to the crime as detectives try to make sense of them. "CSI" meets, well, more "CSI."
"The Gate" (Fox, 9 p.m. Fridays, fall) -- Focused on deviant crime (is there any other kind on TV?), this San Francisco-set series searches for the monsters hiding right under our noses. Graphic depiction of bodies and wounds and close-ups of fiber evidence make "The Gate" "CSI" on steroids.
"In Justice" (ABC, midseason) -- In a kind of reverse procedural, Kyle MacLachlan stars as a do-gooder lawyer who champions the wrongly imprisoned. "Cold Case" meets "The Equalizer."
"The Inside" (Fox, 9 p.m. Wednesdays) -- In an environment where the motto is "the grosser the better," audiences so far have rejected this take on sick and twisted. Stylized shots of a bound-and-gagged victim in the pilot rival "CSI's" obsession with disturbing imagery, not to mention a main character -- once a victim herself -- conned into helping the authorities. "Medium" meets "Seven."
"Wanted" (TNT, 10 p.m. Sundays, July 31) -- A specialized team tracks down Los Angeles' 100 most wanted fugitives. "Cold Case" meets "Con Air."