The Closer The Closer

The Closer
9/8c TNT
The top-cop series starring 2010 Emmy winner Kyra Sedgwick continues its five-episode cycle of new winter episodes. (The arc's final show airs on Jan. 3.) Courtney B. Vance guest stars tonight as Chief of Police Tommy Delk, who assigns Brenda and her team to smoke out the criminal element behind a series of thefts at medical-marijuana dispensaries. What appears to be an innocuous and even ho-hum assignment turns dramatically treacherous when one robbery leads to murder. Soon, the case even comes to test Brenda's readiness to climb to a higher departmental rank. — Dean Maurer

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Vampire Diaries

8/7 CW
The first 10 episodes of the bloody good sophomore hit re-air this week with two back-to-back episodes presented each night. The season two premiere, which is up first, begins where last season's finger-chopping finale concluded, with the diabolical Katherine butchering John Gilbert and toying with her former lovers, Damon and Stefan. Also, Tyler's mysterious and cursed uncle Mason arrives in town to comfort the family following the death of Tyler's dad. — Tim Holland

Moguls & Movie Stars: A History of Hollywood
8/7c TCM
Interesting that this seven-part series is called a history of Hollywood when the final chapter encompasses 1960-1969. Perhaps from 1970 on will be addressed in a sequel. Anyway, this compelling coda examines how the 1960s saw studio moguls challenged by "an independent generation of producers and stars, uninhibited story lines and... a major realignment of Hollywood power." The hour also touches on the blacklist, political influences, blockbuster films, the birth of the entertainment-industry agencies and the rise of the auteur. — Ray Stackhouse

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How I Met Your Mother
8/7c CBS
Alex Trebek has a cameo in an episode in which the answer is: Something that happens to one of the gang that prompts the rest of the friends to think about something similar in their own lives. The question: a familiar device in the sitcom that always works well. In this case, it's shocking news that Lily and Marshall receive that has the folks in the gang reflecting on their own lives. Also, Ben Vereen returns, Robin winds up with a new job and Ted starts to act on his responsibilities as Punchy's Best Man. — Bill Ecklund

Monday Night Football
8:30/7:30c ESPN
Unlike the Baltimore Ravens, who won a Super Bowl in just their fifth season, the ninth-year Houston Texans have subjected their fans to a torturously slow climb to respectability. After optimistic seasons of eight, eight and nine wins, this season's 4-2 start has soured into a 5-7 record for Gary Kubiak's squad. On the bright side, with defensive stars Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs and the rest of the Ravens coming to town tonight, Houston has another chance to trim the number of AFC teams it's never beaten from three to two. The other two teams are the Jets and Chargers, who both were as good as beaten by the Texans late in the fourth quarter in the last month — only to pull out near-miracle wins. — Roger Leister

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Hawaii Five-0
10/9c CBS
It's Christmas in Hawaii, but Five-0 isn't celebrating. Last week, McGarrett learned that his mother, whom he thought died in a car accident in 1992, was actually murdered and that his late father was investigating the homicide when he died at the hands of the villainous Victor Hesse. Tonight, Hesse (James Marsters) returns and takes Chin Ho hostage. Even worse, he straps a bomb to Chin Ho's chest and threatens to detonate it. —Tim Holland

Mariah Carey: Merry Christmas to You
9/8c ABC
With a slated appearance on last night's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, a performance on Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade (Dec. 25) and her very own special tonight, Mariah Carey is almost as ubiquitous as Santa Claus this season. Of course, considering her initials are the same as "Merry Christmas," perhaps it's only fitting. Tonight Carey takes the stage at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles to sing songs from her second Christmas album, Merry Christmas II You, including "Oh Santa!" — Joe Friedrich