TV column for Sunday, July 1


TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE: “Masterpiece
Mystery,” 9 p.m., PBS (check local listings).

“Mystery” fans may have assumed
Inspector Morse was born old. As played by John Thaw in 33 films, he
had prematurely white hair, a luxury car, an Oxford police job and a
grasp of classic literature and classical music; only near the end
did anyone learn his first name, Endeavour.

This prequel shows him as a young cop,
sent to Oxford on a missing-girl case. The result is beautifully
filmed, smartly written and perfectly cast. Shaun Evans is an
excellent Endeavour Morse; Abigail Thaw, whose late father was the
original Morse, has one scene as a newspaper editor.

TONIGHT'S MUST-SEE II: U.S. Olympic
trials, 7-11 p.m., NBC.

The 10-day trials wrap up with finals
everywhere.

The first hour has track, with the
men's 200-meter sprint and the the men's and women's 400-meter
hurdles and 1500-meter run. Then are swimmers at 8 p.m., women
gymnasts from 9-11 p.m.

TONIGHT'S ALTERNATIVE: “The
Newsroom,” 10 p.m., HBO

After the show's triumphant debut,
producer-writer Aaron Sorkin tops himself with more blisteringly
brilliant dialog, beautifully handled by a gifted cast.

Last week, a cranky anchorman (Jeff
Daniels), working with a makeshift staff, scored with coverage of the
Louisiana oil spill. Now he tries to adjust to having his ex-lover
(Emily Mortimer) as producer. Both have strong moments and Alison
Pill is wonderful as the intern-turned-assistant.

Other choices include:

– “Leverage,” 4 p.m. to 3 a.m.,
Ion. With clever scams and gifted actors, this has become a
first-rate series. The new season starts July 15 on TNT; first, Ion
has marathons today and next Sunday.

– “Queen & Country” opener, 8
p.m., PBS (check local listings). At times, this stagnant hour seems
as old as Elizabeth II, the 86-year-old queen. Still, it does have
insights, especially into the diligence and memory of a queen who
devours documents before any meeting with the prime minister.

– “Hawaii Five-0,” 8 p.m., CBS.
In a rerun of the season's second episode, the new governor adds
someone to the team. She's played by Lauren German, the likable star
of ABC's “Happy Town.”

– “The Good Wife,: 9 p.m., CBS. A
sharp lawyer (Oscar-winner F. Murray Abraham) accuses the firm of
encouraging a couple's break-up.

– “True Blood,” 9 p.m., HBO.
Sookie is feeling really down, after rejecting two boyfriends and
turning her best friend Tara into a vampire. She does finds some joy
late in this hour, which has potent scenes – a dream-like party …
Tara's first big blood feast … and the Vampire Authority finding
its traitor.

– “Forensics Firsts,” 9 p.m.,
Smithsonian. Previous hours have deeply detailed the crime-solving
history of fingerprints and DNA. This one views the study of skeletal
remains.

– “Weeds” season-opener, 10 p.m.,
Showtime. At the end of last season, someone was shot; now we learn
whom. As hospital-deathbed episodes go, this has surprising bursts of
humor..

– “Episodes,” 10:30 p.m.,
Showtime. As the first season ended, Matt LeBlanc (playing himself)
shattered his show's husband-wife producing team by bedding the wife
. Tonight's above-average season-opener finds all three of them
fuming as their show debuts to scathing reviews.