For those of you Web surfers who clicked on that photo of Dutch from The Shield 'cause you wanna read about the Cuddler Rapist stuff, scroll the hell down. First, I've got lots on my mind about my other favorite Tuesday-night show...

Gilmore Girls
Hey, remember Graham from last week? You know, the Yalie guy Rory's well-intentioned grandmother, Emily, set her up with. The one who ditched her in the bar after she balked at taking a ride home from his drunken pal. (Smart girl! Talk about a DUI in the making.) Anyway, here's Rory and Lane's apt description of Grandma's dream date...

Lane: He was that bad?
Rory: James Spader in Pretty in Pink.
Lane: [Wincing] You could've stopped at James Spader.

This GG season finale was bittersweet for me. The bitter part's because I can't believe there's no more "fresh episodes" until fall! The sweet part is all the nonstop cute, clever, absurdist lines that gimme the giggles. Kirk, for example, is among those Stars Hollow residents who bug me with their excessive eccentricity. But then Kirk mentions how he told Lulu "I love you" by spelling it out in chocolate-covered Oreos, "but she was really hungry, so I'm not sure if she read it first." Or how about when Lorelai told her building contractor, "Tom, I'm lovin' you like a two-dollar whore"? I also love how Lorelai and Rory are walking pop-culture lexicons who can quote everything from The Bad Seed to The Parent Trap. (The Hayley Mills original, not the Lindsay Lohan one.)

Lines I Never Thought I'd Hear on Gilmore Girls
Lorelai: "I didn't raise you to be the kind of girl who sleeps with someone else's husband."
Rory: "I hate you for ruining this for me!"

Lorelai scolding and judging like a real, honest-to-God mother? Rory screaming that she hates said mother, like all daughters do at some point? And losing her virginity in a way Mom doesn't approve of? I love it. Why? 'Cause it's a lot more real than Rory remaining a chaste saint and Lorelai constantly acting like her child's peer. So is Dean cheating on his rebound marriage with the girl he really loves. Yes, it's wrong, but it all felt electrically real — and messy, like life is sometimes. Good stuff! Color me impressed.

American Idol
I'm still reeling from La Toya London's vote-off last week. How could she go while Jasmine Trias stayed safe? If listening to the Hawaiian blossom do three songs doesn't convince you she's gotta go, ya gotta be as tone-deaf as she is. Heck, the kid isn't even that terrible as a singer. She's just too karaoke and boring. And it's true, she doesn't make you emotionally connect with the lyrics she's singing. Like Clive Davis said, you don't get the sense she really got what it means to be "All by Myself." This is what happens when a teenage girl tries to do a woman's job. The judges clearly agree that Fantasia Barrino should win, and they're plainly broadcasting their wishes to viewers — both in their praises of Fanny and their pointed criticisms of Jasmine and Diana DeGarmo. Even Paula's getting tougher in her comments than usual. And since AI conspiracy theories are so popular, I've got one: That "Mr. Melody" song Paula chose for Jasmine was cheesy and lame. Zzzz... Was Ms. Abdul trying to make her look bad?

24
Watching Jack Bauer & Co. chase down the virus vials was suspenseful fun as usual. Though sometimes, I roll my eyes at how conveniently quick and resourceful CTU is. I mean, I usually can't even get a signal on my cell phone in the Los Angeles subway system. But Jack's agents have no problem on their cellies and easily track a perp's every movement underground using fancy satellite technology. Not only that, Chloe's magical computer can get a subway train to stop between stations at a moment's notice! Gimme a break. Even more implausible was Sherry blackmailing President Palmer with the whole prescription-bottle thing. It was so cool back when she deprived Alan Millikin of his medication, persuading his trophy wife, Julia, to let the old creep die. Very wicked. Then, the plotline got stupid. And lemme tell ya: If I were dumb enough to blackmail the president, I wouldn't walk around with that incriminating evidence on my person, since I'd figure The Man has "people" who could come rip it off me for him. Has the woman never heard of a bank safety-deposit box? Or she could at least dig a discreet hole in the ground!

So this crappy plot twist is how Sherry Palmer went out. Two slugs in the stomach from that wussy Julia? I'm disgusted. Let's take a moment of silence to mourn the deliciously villainous ex-First Lady. She deserved better than to die by some lazy writer's character assassination.

P.S. I will say this: When Sherry tearfully told David she wanted to be his wife again, it was touching. I suddenly had a flashback to Alexis and Blake Carrington on Dynasty. Like Sherry, Alexis was power-hungry and vengeful toward her ex-hubby for dumping her. But all the diva really wanted was to have her man love her again. That was the one point in this whole story that didn't feel false.

Law & Order: SVU
The blatant rip-off of Mary Kay Latourneau's tabloid story wasn't all that interesting. But I did like Diana Scarwid as the molested boy's screwy, alcoholic mother. I've been a big Scarwid booster since she played the adult Christina Crawford in Mommie Dearest. (Christina to Joan: "I'm not one of your fans!!!") Most recently, she's turned up as Michelle Pfeiffer's sassy gal pal in What Lies Beneath and on Fox's short-lived series Wonderfalls. Will someone please hire this woman for a juicy prime-time soap?

The Shield
So Dutch finally gets his wish: The chance to sit in the interrogation room with the Cuddler Rapist and get inside his head. Why did this seemingly normal, middle-class guy rape elderly women, then force them to cuddle in bed with him for hours afterward? And why did he stop leaving his victims alive, graduating from rapist to serial murderer? Dutch wanted logical answers, but all the detective got from spending so much time alone with this evil freak was messed up himself. Seems Dutch developed a morbid fascination with the Cuddler's morbid fascination!

When Dutch strangled that alley cat, it was truly disturbing and unexpected, no matter how much pre-hype you've heard about this episode. He looked into its eyes — ignoring the fact that it was defensively scratching the hell out of him — so he could understand the mysterious "feeling" the killer described experiencing when a living thing expires. Then, he dropped its carcass, clearly confused and frustrated that he didn't "get it." Evil is so damn seductive. Can we ever really understand why some are depravedly indifferent to life, while the rest of us value it? Psychoanalyzing will only get you so far. Maybe I'm just a provincial church boy, but I think some dark things must be left alone for God to deal with.

Aside from that, I sincerely hope Dutch — who's struggled with lonely outsider issues since The Shield began — doesn't allow the negative forces he's encountered to draw him even further away from his fellow man. It's clear something's crossed over in him and he can't quite ever be the same, rather like Captain Aceveda after his rape/retribution ordeal. But please, series creator Shawn Ryan, don't turn our Dutch into a wacko!

P.S. Just an aside: I have no doubt Mr. Ryan is the recipient of grumpy mail from PETA right about now. That poor kitty cat just wanted some din-din. But what a noisy, yowling feline! Was it in heat or what?