On TV: Cold Case

Movieline Score: 5

As for the second of CBS's gracious saves, the seventh season of Cold Case premieres this Sunday. Our swoopy-haired detective Lilly Rush (Kathryn Morris) testifies about the driver who ran her car off a bridge, a 40-year-old ship murder is investigated, and the heretofore secondary detective Kat Miller (Tracie Thoms) makes a big jump into the foreground.

Cold Case has never been a critical hit, as it routinely just explores a different long-dormant crime each week, cloaks its flashbacks in fun cinematography, and occasionally advances its bland set of detectives. There's nothing wrong or even unwatchable about that -- the detailed crimes often sneak in smart plot twists, even if it is inconceivable that some of these cases go totally unsolved. Sunday's premiere features the murder of a young debutante in the '60s, who boards a boat with her best female friend after rejecting a marriage proposal on the dock. Yeah, there's no way this case could go unsolved more than a few decades later, but its suspects and players take well to the buttery, faux-Mad Men lighting. That's nice.

As for Lilly Rush, her story progresses incrementally while Kat Miller fields a longtime-coming romantic proposition. Nothing groundbreaking or titillating here, really, but this is an ingratiating hour of TV for a show that has clearly cultivated a steadfast following (12 million viewers at last count, around the time of that Pearl Jam-graced season finale), and you get what you expect: overly serious, vaguely pulpy drama to buffer the beginning of the working week. Your dad is pretty excited.