<EM>Prison Break</EM> Prison Break
The West Wing
So, let me get this straight. We have a pro-choice Republican presidential candidate taking on a pro-life Democrat and both are struggling to keep the election from going negative. As Kevin Costner said in

JFK, "we're through the looking glass, people." Now, I don't mind that The West Wing engages in political wish fulfillment. Hell, that's why we all watch it, right? But, if real politics worked like this, even Al Franken and Bill O'Reilly wouldn't know who to hate. First, the Republican Vinick wants to keep abortion out of his campaign altogether. Then, the liberal Santos tells pro-choice lobbyists where to get off. Things get even stranger in that kitchen showdown when Vinick accepts Santos' debate challenge, on the spot, because they bump into each other backstage. What is this, the WWE? Let's just hope that next week's live "debate" is a real smackdown. The only thing harder to believe on tonight's episode is how Donna got work on the Santos campaign. Are we really to believe that no one, including big-time Democratic insider Lou, had ever heard of her before? After all, Donna Moss was only the assistant for six years to one of the biggest names on Capitol Hill, worked for Bingo Bob's campaign and, oh yeah, was blown up in an explosion that killed the chairman of the Joint Chiefs and set off an Israeli-Palestinian peace summit. I guess none of that was on MSNBC, which, in a shameless bit of Peacock cross-promotion, appears to be the only news network anyone in Washington watches. Not that  there's any news to be had from the Bartlet Administration lately, unless you want to see poor Will trying to sell Eskimo anecdotes to an irate press corps.   Jon McDaid

Law & Order: Criminal Intent
OK, it's time I swallowed some crow and say this was a fab Goren-Eames episode. In fact, I think that subconsciously the producers and writers may have been sending up Vincent D'Onofrio's Method-acting style a weensy bit (or perhaps Vincent has more of a sense of humor than I've given him credit for). The perp was, after all, a method actor who had his would-be betrothed bumped off as a publicity stunt/audition. Mike Pike put in quite a performance, even getting his hapless sidekick Ed to shoot him in the shoulder during the scene. Later, as TV cameras rolled, Mike did a beautifully rehearsed waterworks in front of the sidewalk memorial ("Nothing like crocodile tears from a crocodile," mused Eames). The most ingenious part of their caper was how the boys attached a tracker to the car of Mike's obnoxious ex, Kelly, to make it look as though she were stalking Mike, and thus killed his girlfriend, Dana, out of revenge. At first I thought Ed's admiration for James Dean, coupled with his puppy-dog loyalty to Mike, indicated a sexual obsession, but that was a red herring Ed was just a real sap. Forget he was suckered into killing Dana by the conniving Mike. It was the underhanded way in which the louse ruined his pal's audition for the Matt Damon movie that floored me. After Mike used an emetic to fake food poisoning, Ed naturally stayed up all night with his pal in the ER to make sure he was OK. By the time Ed auditioned the next day, he was tired, brain-dead and in no condition to perform, as the rushes painfully showed. (Although not being a big fan of Mr. Damon's work, I'd have suspected Mike was doing Ed a favor.) Having been a sap many a time in my life, I could feel for the Edster. However, I can say honestly with my hand on my heart, or indeed Ed's heart, that no one ever goaded me into killing anyone. I agree with Mike's Us Against the World (UAW) conceit in principle, provided the World is in the wrong. But that's not the case when your side is committing... oh, I dunno... murder.  G.J. Donnelly

Grey's Anatomy
Usually, if I use the words "train wreck," I am referring to a show like Being Bobby Brown. But this edge-of-your-seat hour was all about a train wreck. The main story about the man and the woman stuck together by the metal pole going through each of their bodies was extremely powerful. Can we talk about how phenomenal Monica Keena was as the woman? That gal has come along way since being such a beeyotch on Dawson's Creek. Interesting how Meredith related to Monica's character at the end, since Derek chose the salmon-scrubbed Addison over Meredith. "What about her? You can't just abandon her!" I guess it will make it a more dramatically interesting show with Addison sticking around, but poor Meredith. You knew it killed Derek to have to give Meredith his decision: "She's my wife." Something tells me he hasn't left Meredith for good, though. The other story line of the two best friends who both got pregnant via the same sperm donor just so they could be mothers together and have their babies be siblings was really cool. Loved Izzie asking "so how long have you two been together?" Loved even more that the blonde woman (played by the awesome Cynthia Ettinger) was smilingly like "We're not lovers" without giving a look of disgust. So glad Alex saved the day with the missing leg. Hopefully his confidence will improve and he'll get back to his old self. Yes, I know he failed his boards and only has one more chance to pass, but I didn't think that would cause him to freak out during last week's elevator surgery and to not at least kiss Izzie. I was wrong. Apparently he's not as much of a horndog as I thought he was.  DA

Channel Surfing
OK, secret-confession time: I love these cheesy movie-of-the-week disaster films. Hey, there are plenty of people who watch Lifetime movies ad nauseum  this is my guilty pleasure. I know what I'm getting, and that way my expectations are low and I'm not easily disappointed. I had a good laugh during Lucy Lawless' Locusts and was hoping for more of the same with Vampire Bats. It delivered with its unrealistic special effects, pretty pre-hurricane New Orleans scenery, poorly written dialogue and predictable plot. Completely awful, but totally chuckle-worthy. Come on, that girl frothing at the mouth from rabies? Really? I was annoyed that it began over a half an hour late. I get that there was football and all, but after 11 at night my attention span begins to wane, and trying to stay awake for the ultimate climactic showdown with the bad guys and the bats was a little bit taxing at 11:30. But the delay did give me the opportunity to watch a half-hour of a really moving Cold Case about civil rights issues. Touching and well handled, a little hard to handle emotionally, but wonderful. Every time I tune in to this show, I am amazed at the seamless transitions between the past and the present. Kudos to their casting agent.  Angel Cohn