When I think about you, I touch evil

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I am intrigued and entertained by a new show on the USA Network entitled “Touching Evil.” Based on a 16-episode British series from the ’90s, it is generally about the Organized & Serial Crimes unit of the FBI in the San Francisco Bay Area, but it is more specifically about one agent, David Creegan, who has just returned to work after being shot and killed in the line of duty.

That’s right, he was clinically dead for 10 minutes after being shot in the head, and he’s come back a bit — how you say? — off. He no longer has any shame, for one thing; he says exactly what he thinks and acts on impulse. He has a bit of trouble discerning the line between legal and illegal behavior for a law-enforcement officer, but he’s also extremely good at knowing when people are lying. He operates mostly on instinct now, you see, and doesn’t let things like rules or protocol get in the way of his gut. So he’s basically like all cops who are “loose cannons” and who “don’t play by the rules” that have become so clich�, except that he has a medical excuse for it.

What’s most enjoyable about the series, which is directed by the Hughes Brothers (“From Hell,” “Menace II Society”), is Jeffrey Donovan’s performance as Creegan. He’s a fascinating assemblage of odd quirks, attention-deficit and random observations, making him one of TV’s funniest characters in a non-comedic show.

The two-hour pilot episode, about a serial kidnapper, was especially well-done; the second episode, about a serial arsonist, was good but had an egregiously illogical showdown at the end. (It felt like they had a 50-minute story and had to drag it out to an hour.) I’m keeping with it, though, because it’s convinced me it deserves a chance, and because I’m curious to learn more about Creegan’s shooting. Flashbacks of it show it occurring in an all-white room of a house, with someone Creegan apparently knows entering and shooting him, point-blank. It has the markings not of an irrelevant job-related injury used as the series’ jumping-off point, but of something we’re going to come back to later.

New episodes air on Fridays on USA and are repeated several times over the weekend. Give it a look.

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