Michael J. Fox Michael J. Fox

The Chicago Code (Monday, 9/8c, Fox)
Perking up what has been a pretty dismal midseason so far, this tough, brisk police drama from The Shield's Shawn Ryan is set and filmed in Chicago, where the city's brash first female police superintendent (Jennifer Beals, cast against type) clashes with a corrupt alderman (Delroy Lindo, savoring his smooth villainy) who holds her department's purse strings. Colvin's eyes and ears on the mean streets is reckless local-legend detective Jarek Wysocki (Brotherhood's Jason Clarke), who's just been saddled with a young, earnest partner (Friday Night Lights' Matt Lauria) who's not as green as he looks. The show weaves each of their points-of-view into a compelling, muscular narrative. Please watch.

The Good Wife (Tuesday, 10/9c, CBS)
Look who's back (and no doubt gunning for a guest actor Emmy nomination): Michael J. Fox as cunning legal adversary Louis Canning, who bedevils Alicia and her firm with his wily ways, including using his disability to score points in a class-action lawsuit. Adding to this week's intrigue: suspicion that a mole within Lockhart-Gardner-Bond is leaking information to Canning. Plus, the coup Will and Diane are plotting against Bond is temporarily shelved when their nemesis brings in a Super PAC client. This show is seriously heating up.

Modern Family (Wednesday, 9/8c, ABC)
With Valentine's Day looming, what better time for the return of Clive Bixby! Yes, Phil Dunphy's wannabe-suave role-playing alter ego is resurrected with wife Claire, in hopes of spicing up their staid domestic routine. Will things go better for them this year? Let's hope not. In other subplots, Jay's surprise plans for Gloria go awry, and Cam and Mitchell can't decide which one of them is the target of a new admirer's affections. Jealousy! Meanwhile, on a very busy night of comings and goings — Mr. Sunshine in, Cougar Town out on hiatus (boo) — DirecTV subscribers can witness the moving and very satisfying final chapter of Friday Night Lights (9/8c), while FX fans can settle in for a second season of the delightfully offbeat Kentucky-fried crime drama Justified, with Timothy Olyphant wrangling with a backwoods crime clan led by the awesome Margo Martindale and including Lost's Jeremy Davies. All qualify as must-see.

The Vampire Diaries (Thursday, 8/7c, The CW)
From the guilty-pleasure column on TV's most overcrowded night, this supernatural fun factory finds Stefan and Elena plotting a getaway at her family's lake house, but naturally someone's lurking around to interrupt their bliss. It's not as if there isn't plenty else brewing: like Jules clueing in wolf-boy Tyler about the sun-and-moon curse, or Damon crashing a tea (!) to milk some info from the powerful Elijah, or good witch Bonnie plotting with vamp friend Caroline and emo Jeremy to get intel out of Luka. Never a quiet day (or night) in Mystic Falls.

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