By Mike Hughes
Gannett News Service
By Mike Hughes
"Thief," 7 p.m., FX. After a brilliant debut last week, this show gets even deeper, richer, more powerful. Andre Braugher plays a master thief whose well-organized world crumbled last week. His fence (Linda Hamilton) is worried; a hit man is lurking. There's more: His wife was killed in a car accident. His stepdaughter (Mae Whitman) saw him shoot a menacing member of his gang. Tonight, things only get more complicated. There are stunning moments here, with wonderfully subtle performances from everyone, especially the remarkable Braugher and Whitman.
"Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," 9 p.m., NBC. Here is "SVU" at its best and worst. The good part involves taut acting and compelling situations. One scene, at a subway station, has a pounding power to it. The bad involves the obsession with grisly, gory stories. "SVU" piles it on, establishing its villain (Lou Diamond Phillips) as the ultimate bad guy, a man who kidnaps kids after killing their families.
"American Idol," 7 p.m., Fox. With Lisa Tucker's departure last week, the field is down to nine. Tonight, they tackle country. That's natural turf for Bucky Covington and Kellie Pickler and could be tough for others. Then again, Chris Daughtry has already proved with "I Walk the Line" that a country song can be transformed to rock.
"Hope & Faith," 7:30 p.m., ABC. So far, Gooch (Mark Consuelos) has had a good time with the frisky Faith (Kelly Ripa). Now he meets her disapproving father (Robert Wagner).
"The Unit," 8 p.m., CBS. After finishing an assassination in Spain, the unit learns that the deed wasn't approved by the host company. Now it must figure out how to get out.
"House," 8 p.m., Fox. Michelle Trachtenberg ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer") plays a 16-year-old heart patient.
"Pepper Dennis" debut, 8 p.m., WB. By the second half of this hour, "Pepper" is a fairly good show — slick-looking and kind of fun. But the first half is truly awful. An opening, meant to be humorous, mostly establishes TV reporter Pepper Dennis (Rebecca Romijn) as either cruel or foolish. The next portion virtually copies the start of "Grey's Anatomy," which is a much, much better show.
"Sons & Daughters," 8 and 8:30 p.m., ABC. In the first episode, Cameron is asked to break up a party. In the second, Casey Sander ("Grace Under Fire") plays his long-absent father.
"Teachers," 8:30 p.m., NBC. In a fairly funny episode, Jeff tries to help a friend by taking kids on an unauthorized field trip. That leads to a showdown with a parental group.
"Boston Legal," 9 p.m., ABC. Denise gets intensely involved after her housekeeper's son is abducted.
TONIGHT ON KHNL NEWS 8
Tonight on KHNL News 8, Walter Makaula profiles Hawai'i's Most Wanted. Will your tip bring another crook to justice? Tune in at 6 and 10.