Castle (Monday, 10/9c, ABC)
Two things happen this week that fans have been long awaiting: First, a new twist in the very cold case regarding who killed Beckett's mother. Second, and a much bigger deal to many, a kiss between Castle and Beckett, taking all that unresolved sexual tension to a fever pitch. It all begins when the now-retired detective on Beckett's mom's murder unearths new info but is killed before he can share, leading Beckett and Castle to peel back a conspiracy behind the slaying. Nothing brings people closer together than crime-fighting — on TV, anyway.
White Collar (Tuesday, 10/9c, USA Network)
It's time for an origin story. At the end of last week's episode, we learned that the man behind Kate's murder and the music-box intrigue is Neal's mentor in crime (played by Andrew McCarthy) — which sends Neal back down memory lane for an elaborate flashback episode. We're back in 2003, learning how Neal met Mozzie (who still has floppy hair!) and his former flames Alex and the late Kate. We also see Neal and Peter cross paths for the first time in their long-running cat-and-mouse game. Such back stories are catnip for fans.
Face Off (Wednesday, 10/9c, Syfy)
Now here's an eye-popping (possibly literally) idea for a reality competition show. Face Off challenges its contestants to create special effects make-up, which will include creature design, prosthetics, sculpting and molding — living and/or virtual works of cinematic art. The first "spotlight elimination" challenge involves coming up with an entirely new species, based on prototypes of a beetle, ostrich or elephant. Judges come from the world of SFX, and guest judges including Friday the 13th's Sean Cunningham and Star Trek: The Next Generation's Michael Westmore, whose daughter McKenzie hosts the show.
Nikita (Thursday, 9/8c, the CW)
After a long winter hiatus, the CW's Thursday thrillers return, including The Vampire Diaries (where everyone's in a state of turmoil) and the underappreciated Nikita, which is turning out to be the most enjoyably white-knuckled spy ride since Alias. In this episode, Alex (Lyndsy Fonseca) is adjusting to her new life as an agent, including a cover job, an apartment outside Division compound and a neighbor, Nathan, who stimulates her interest. But Nikita (Maggie Q) has been down that road and warns her protégé about getting too involved with people outside the double life. Meanwhile, Nikita also is busy trying to figure out how to take control of the "kill chip" Division has implanted in Alex's head. Because that's how things work on this taut little show.