Enrique Murciano and Cote de Pablo
NCIS (Tuesday, 8/7c, CBS)
The office watercooler is going to explode when Ziva introduces her new boyfriend — Without a Trace's Enrique Murciano as Ray — to her nosy co-workers. But he's not the only new-ish face making waves. Special Agent Barrett (Brothers & Sisters' Sarah Jane Morris) returns to clash with Gibbs, as she takes lead on a case that may be connected to a port-to-port serial killer, a storyline that continues into next week's episode. Well into its eighth season, NCIS continues to steamroller the competition — which this year includes ABC's No Ordinary Family, which signs off probably for good with a season finale pitting the family of accidental superheroes against the sinister Mrs. X (Lucy Lawless), who has young JJ in her clutches.
Lights Out (Tuesday, 10/9c, FX)
Even if you checked out early from this compelling boxing drama — and judging by the anemic ratings, most of you did — this week's season/series finale is a bona fide knockout, as Patrick "Lights" Leary (the soulful Holt McCallany) finally goes into the ring for his comeback rematch against the heavier, seemingly invincible "Death Row" Reynolds. As has been the case all season long, it's not always easy to watch. But Lights is a terrific character, certainly the most decent (despite his lapses) hero any FX drama has ever been constructed around. And if you care at all about the state of the contemporary TV drama, you owe it to yourself to see how series creator Warren Leight builds this masterful climax. Stay tuned for Lights' final words, which will haunt you for days.
Justified (Wednesday, 10/9c, FX)
Whoop-dee-doo! Surely by now you've heard the buzz over Margo Martindale's scene-stealing magnificence as frumpy backwoods crime priestess Mags Bennett, who with her unruly brood of weed-peddling bad boys is currently tangling with a sleek princess from the coal company that's trying to buy its way into strip-mining the mountains of Mags' beloved holler. This week, in the finest hour yet for this wonderfully entertaining Kentucky-fried drama, Mags brings the community together for a "whoop-dee-doo" at her place, where all manner of dirty business goes down. Martindale's range is astonishing, whether she's singing "High on the Mountain" in a moment of jubilation or staring into the face of her family's darkest deeds. This is as good as it gets.
Nikita (Thursday, 9/8c, The CW)
Back from hiatus, this underrated spy thriller picks up where the last cliff-hanging episode left off, with Michael confronting rogue agent (and former protégé) Nikita in her lair, prompting flashbacks to their first overseas mission together in happier if no less sinister times. Things get very personal as Michael orders Nikita to go on a secret mission to take down Kasim, the man who murdered his family, and should she refuse or fail, he'll tell Division all about Alex, the agent Nikita has been training and using from inside the shadowy agency. What Nikita learns in her pursuit of Kasim promises to become the latest game-changer in an already twisty series.
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