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Vito Russo, 'The Soul Man', 'Sullivan and Son'

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Forensic Firsts (8pm Sun, Smithsonian Channel)

This series is a strange hybrid. It re-creates gruesome historical crimes, with actors in vintage clothes and fake beards. That’s standard for cable-TV trash, but Forensic Firsts also mixes in a PBS-style educational element. A voiceover explains the significance of the sleuthing techniques involved in each investigation — for example, ballistic evidence in this week’s episode. In other words, the series is for all of you viewers who like your sleazy true-crime stories packaged with high-minded narration.

I happen to fit that profile myself, so bring on the fake beards.

White Collar (8pm Tue, USA)

I’d initially resisted this series about FBI agent Peter (Tim DeKay), who consults with crook Neal (Matt Bomer) for his insight into other crooks. That’s a familiar premise, but, checking in with season four, I see that White Collar is making it work. You can’t underestimate chemistry: Bomer and DeKay make for a witty and appealing pair. You also can’t underestimate deep blue eyes and a jaw line to die for. Yes, Bomer is perhaps the most beautiful camera subject on cable TV.

In this week’s episode, Peter has been demoted for crossing the line on Neal’s behalf. Neal tries to redeem him by setting up a con on a notorious thief, allowing Peter to play the hero. It’s silly TV-cop stuff, but before you know it, White Collar has conned you, too — out of an hour of your time.

Unlike the thief, you won’t mind at all.

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