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Police dramas 'The Closer,' 'Saving Grace,' and 'Monk' return

As her hit police drama The Closer returns for its fourth season tonight, star Kyra Sedgwick says the southern belle of a homicide detective she plays is so overwhelmed by her life's disarray, she won't even unpack the boxes in her new apartment. "Last year's theme was family; this year's theme is power," said Sedgwick. Her character, Los Angeles Deputy Police Chief Brenda Johnson, "feels she can compartmentalize and control her life — keep the power — by keeping everything in boxes. It's insane, but that's the way our minds work." The highest-rated standard cable TV drama ever, The Closer is one of several complex, expensive signature programs built around a familiar face. Here's a rundown on three signature shows returning this week.

The Closer, 9 tonight on TNT

Johnson balances investigating suspicious deaths in a raging wildfire with turmoil in her personal life, as she and her fiance buy a new home together. So far, there's less friction between the characters than we saw last season, and tonight's episode, which brings back an old nemesis, feels a bit like running in place.

Saving Grace, 10 tonight on TNT

Holly Hunter's Grace Hanadarko captures the priest who molested her as a child, spending days working up the nerve to kill him. Instead, she turns him in and he winds up dead anyway, leading to suspicion she was involved. As usual, this show is a convoluted mess, unable to decide if it's a gritty drama about the messy life of an ace policewoman, or the unconventional spiritual journey of a woman with a real-life guardian angel.

Monk, returns at 9 p.m. Friday on USA

It's a poignant episode centered on efforts by Tony Shalhoub's germ-obsessed detective Adrian Monk to deal with the death of his therapist, paying tribute to the recent passing of the actor who played him onscreen, Stanley Kamel. Of course, Monk stumbles onto a crime in the process, tangling with a demented house contractor played by Everybody Loves Raymond alum Brad Garrett.

Police dramas 'The Closer,' 'Saving Grace,' and 'Monk' return 07/11/08 [Last modified: Friday, July 11, 2008 9:36pm]
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