Characters compelling in HBO’s ‘In Treatment’

Tonight’s must-see

“In Treatment,” 9:30 p.m., HBO. There’s a moment, late in the half-hour, that reminds us how subtly well-crafted this is.

That comes without words – and without the main character (Gabriel Byrne). It’s the kind of surprise you get from complex characters.

Last week (rerunning at 9 p.m.) we met Sophie, superbly played by Mia Wasikowska. She’s a teen gymnast, angry at her colleagues, her parents and now her therapist.

Tonight, she arrives during a rain storm, wet and sullen. This is a fascinating character.

Tonight’s might-see

“African American Lives 2,” 8-10 p.m. KSPS, 9-11 p.m., KUID.

When her father (New York Times critic Anatole Broyard) died in 1990, author Bliss Broyard learned he had African roots, but “passed” for white.

Other stories visited tonight include: Chris Rock’s ancestor in the South Carolina legislature; Don Cheadle’s ancestors, enslaved by the Chickasaw people; Tom Joyner’s great-uncle, convicted – wrongly, evidence suggests – by an all-white jury and executed.

Other choices include

“American Idol,” 8 p.m., Fox. In the first three weeks of auditions, “Idol” showed a few talented females, fewer males. What happened to the claim that this is a big year for guys? Maybe we’ll see some tonight, in a “best of the rest” hour.

“Top Model Exposed,” 8 p.m., CW. Here’s the first half of a special (concluding next week) that views highlights from the first nine editions of “America’s Next Top Model.” There will be interviews and clips, ranging from spectacular falls to “makeover madness.”

“Two and a Half Men,” 8 p.m., CBS. This transplanted rerun has Alan stuck at the bureau of motor vehicles. Meanwhile, his son is at the track with Charlie – and winning big.

“Vertigo” (1958), 5 p.m., TCM. Here is director Alfred Hitchcock at his best and most accessible, in a story of love and death. James Stewart plays a retired cop who’s afraid of heights; Kim Novak has a great double role.

“Big Bang Theory,” 8:30 p.m., CBS. This clever comedy ran out of new episodes and was temporarily shelved. So we’re happy to see a rerun, even if this one (Penny’s Halloween party) isn’t one of the best.

“Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” 9 p.m., NBC. Goren (the talented Vincent D’Onofrio) goes undercover in the mental ward of a prison, to find out if a prisoner was murdered.

“Law & Order,” 10 p.m., NBC. More undercover work: Green and Lupo go inside a financial institution, with the help of an employee. She’s played by January Jones, who has drawn praise as Don’s wife Betty in “Mad Men.”

“Cashmere Mafia,” 10 p.m., ABC. Zoe (Frances O’Connor) has trouble scheduling a 10th-anniversary celebration with her husband. Caitlin (Bonnie Somerville), new to lesbian relationships, gets surprising news from Alicia.

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