Picks and Pans Review: Undercover, Overdone

updated 07/20/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/20/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT

TNT, July 15, 10 p.m. ET/PT |

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As a cop who runs a covert anticrime operation, Dylan McDermott seems to be in shadow even when he moves out into the sunlight of L.A. You're aware of his blue eyes and, thanks to his dark hair and stubble, the contours of his face and head. Otherwise you wouldn't be surprised if he were being trailed by a tall assistant holding an umbrella. As Lt. Carter Shaw, he's not so much giving a performance as a statement of cool. He's a little like David Caruso in CSI: Miami, only without the thin lemon wedge of humor.

Both shows come from executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer and both are carried along by a style that could be called muscular swank: Carter operates out of a bare-bones loft dominated by an ornate antique ceiling. It'd make an excellent retail space for designer suits.

Dark Blue, which follows Carter and his crack team as they infiltrate gangs and put the sting on munitions dealers and the like, is too smooth for its own good—it fails to get much adrenaline pumping. There's more visceral kick to NBC's plainer, grittier Southland.

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