Jim Beaver

The title of this week's pivotal episode of FX's Justified (Tuesday, 10/9c), "Get Drew," may evoke memories of an Elmore Leonard classic (Get Shorty), but Justified is a modern classic in its own right, honoring Leonard's spirit with wit and suspenseful grit and twisty plotting that just won't let up. That's especially true after last week's revelation of the identity of the long-missing and much-sought-after Drew Thompson, who sets off a multi-faceted manhunt.

Who'll find him first: Raylan and the rest of the Marshals (all of whom get face time this week, which makes it an extra special episode)? Boyd and his crew, including the duplicitous Johnny, who's got his own dark agenda? At the center of the action, the great character actor Jim Beaver gives one of his finest performances, matched at every desperate step by Abby Miller as Drew's adoring and justifiably clingy companion Ellen May, who's being pursued by the Crowder gang for entirely different reasons. The emotionally messy situation gets even more complicated when a new (but familiar) middleman enters the picture. This is without question Tuesday's best bet.

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MORE DRAMA: CBS has shuffled its midseason deck again, so forget about Vegas returning to CBS' Tuesday lineup. The new Golden Boy is staying put on the night (10/9c), forcing Vegas to Fridays starting in April. On a new Boy, the precinct's in-house rivalry escalates, with upstart Detective Clark threatening to out Arroyo's relationship with a co-worker. ... More secrets are exposed in the winter finale of ABC Family's The Lying Game (9/8c), with a charity gala as backdrop for a new round of angst-ridden confrontations. ... NBC's Smash (10/9c) sends the "Hit List" musical to the Fringe Festival, which sounds like the place where the show's ratings are dwelling these days. And Ivy is still trying to save that "Liaisons" show, though you'd think last week's painful subplot featuring a mugging Sean Hayes would have been the last straw.

THIS DAY IN REALITY TV: Fox's ubiquitous Gordon Ramsay welcomes a new crew of culinary victims to the latest season of Hell's Kitchen, in a two-hour opener (8/7c) introducing 20 contestants who must cook and be skewered before a live audience in Las Vegas. ... Taking a pause from his latest Star Wars resurrection, George Lucas pops in to Syfy's Robot Combat League (10/9c) to cheer on his daughter Amanda, a professional MMA fighter who's serving as "robo-jockey" for something called Robo Hammer. ... Alan Thicke and caustic clown Gilbert Gottfried, who co-starred on Thicke's misbegotten Thicke of the Night many moons ago, are the husbands desperate enough to participate in ABC's Celebrity Wife Swap (8/7c). ... If that's not enough to warm your heart, MTV's Snooki & JWoww returns (10/9c) with an airborne proposal for JWoww when her boyfriend takes her skydiving. ... Once upon a time, Noel Coward wrote a clever ditty titled "Why Do the Wrong People Travel?" This comes to mind as TLC sends one of its biggest broods abroad in the three-part special 19 Kids and Counting: Duggars Do Asia (9/8c). First stop: Tokyo, because it's not already crowded enough. ... Is nothing sacred? Lifetime calls Preachers' Daughters (10/9c) a "family docu-soap," and who needs confessionals when you've got cameras following every trashy move of the rebellious offspring of pastors in Illinois, California, North Carolina and Tennessee? ... GSN's new Family Trade (8/7c) follows a Vermont family whose patriarch operates an auto dealership where he'll barter vehicles for just about anything. ... Investigation Discovery explores crimes committed in the Dead of Night (10/9c), starting with the cautionary tale of a young dancer from Texas who moves to New York City and steps out with some bad company.

As I noted earlier, you can't go wrong with Justified.

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