IP Picks🔎: Suspect Motives Everywhere
A racist cop coverup, a two-timing CI, a notorious art smuggler — heck, even the nanny's got something to hide
Welcome to The Optionist! As always, thanks for reading. It feels like March is the new September in TV. I was thinking about this as I was running down the roster of fresh screen content based on underlying IP debuting this month and next — everything from Daisy Jones and The Six to Peter Pan & Wendy to Lucky Hank to the return of Ted Lasso. Until recently, what came out each spring was relatively small potatoes in terms of quality and quantity. This year, I was struck not only by the sheer volume of shows, but how many of them are prestige plays, too.
For more than half a century, the rhythms of the TV season were determined by the debut of new cars in the fall and the setting of ad rates for the next year in the spring, which dovetailed nicely with the arc of the school calendar and the start and finish of the summer. Shows debuted around the time classes began, ran through the fall and winter (with peaks around sweeps months) and then exited with hyped finales in May. After a summer of rerun hibernation, the cycle started anew.
But this spring's traffic jam of debuts underscores just how much the rhythms of TV have changed. This seems driven, at least in part, to get in under the wire for Emmy qualification and stay fresh in voters’ minds before the start of summer. On the other side of the calendar, the NFL is now a thrice-weekly primetime threat (Sunday, Monday, Thursday) during the fall and winter months. Add to this the advent of primetime college football, expanded baseball playoffs, irregular special events (elections or, this year, the World Cup), and suddenly the fall seems an inopportune time to launch a show.
All that said, the deluge of major new screen content we’re about to experience might prove an aberration — the entertainment equivalent of L.A.’s epic rains of the last few weeks. Or maybe it’s an exaggerated harbinger of a more moderate spring forward trend. (I’m not the only one who has noticed the shift. My old THR colleague Dan Feinberg was lamenting this very fact, calling the schedule “oversaturated” right now.)
On to this week’s picks. It’s a crime bonanza we have on our hands this go-around — one that cuts across media and genres. For your consideration:
A new police procedural centering on a Black LAPD detective turned PI, who uncovers the crimes of racist cops
A domestic thriller about a young woman who reconnects with her childhood nanny and discovers that she wasn’t as sweet and gentle as she made herself out to be in those bygone days
Another woman-centered thriller — this one about a detective who receives a terrifying threat — either she drops her missing-persons investigation, or her kids will become the next victims
A heist caper about an antiquities expert who looted Cambodia of its treasures, and the art sleuths who nabbed him
An amazing true-crime story about a drug dealer’s girlfriend who carried on an affair with the cop who was investigating him… and how the fallout upended a years-long investigation