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CBS' Hat Trick

A Gifted Man, Person of Interest and Unforgettable


There are, by my count, 32 new television shows on the dial this fall. The odds of success are almost insurmountable. Think of the uphill battle--you have to make it on a network schedule; compete against three other major networks (not to mention cable) that, in many cases, are already airing audience-tested, popular shows; and ultimately, you have to convince viewers to commit to 30, or heaven forbid, 60 minutes of their lives.

So it was with some surprise that I immediately found three new dramas to love. A bigger surprise is that they were all on one network-CBS. And the biggest surprise is that none have the letters CSI or NCIS attached.

Person of Interest (Thursdays, 8 p.m.) is rather conventional, at least on paper. But creator J.J. Abrams (Lost) works his small-screen magic and makes this drama highly watchable. Extra credit for snappy editing.

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Unforgettable (Tuesdays, 9 p.m.) stars the gorgeous Poppy Montgomery, who plays a former detective with a rare ability to remember everything. And I mean everything.

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Patrick Wilson is better known on Broadway (Barefoot in the Park, Oklahoma) than television, but his new series, A Gifted Man (Friday, 7 p.m.), is about to change all that. He plays an arrogant surgeon whose life is turned inside out when his dead ex-wife (Jennifer Ehle, another Broadway veteran) continues to haunt him. It's a bit of a mash-up of House and Ghost Whisperer. The time slot is a killer. Fridays at 7 p.m.

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Kudos, CBS. You've given me three more reasons to surrender three more hours of my life.