Ellen Gray: Following a couple of guys from 'Hack'

Posted: May 12, 2010

SO MUCH television, so little time:

* Two of my favorite actors - and the former co-stars of the Philadelphia-set "Hack" - popped up on two of my favorite shows this week.

Andre Braugher ("Men of a Certain Age") made a return appearance to Fox's "House" in one of those therapy sessions that seem to take place as much in the mind of Dr. House (Hugh Laurie) as in the real world of 50-minute hours that don't include flashback footage.

But it was Philadelphia's David Morse - who had his own memorable arc on "House" - whom I hadn't necessarily expected to see turn up in New Orleans on HBO's "Treme." (Perhaps because I don't always read my press releases as carefully as I should.)

Morse, who played the police lieutenant who met with lawyer Toni Bernette (Melissa Leo) in her investigation into the disappearance of a prisoner during Hurricane Katrina, will be back in two more episodes, according to HBO. Also taking Morse to Louisiana this spring: the filming of a 3-D action movie with Nicolas Cage that's titled "Drive Angry."

* It can, I know, sometimes be difficult to tell the bad guys from the bad guys on Fox's "24," where a swarthy appearance and an accent - any accent - seems to be the equivalent of a black hat.

But honestly, in this final season I've been having trouble remembering the supposed nationality of the bad foreigners, so distracted have I been by the suspiciously blue eyes of that domestic terrorist, former President Charles Logan (Gregory Itzin), whose peepers are bluer even than those of "24's" current commander in chief, Allison Taylor (Cherry Jones).

Contact lenses or a deal with the devil? You decide.

And sure, we keep hearing the bad guys Logan's in league with are Russian, but this is "24": Who really knows?

So it was nice when Jack ripped open the shirt of his latest torture target and found that tattoo of what looked like the Kremlin on his chest.

What followed, of course, wasn't so nice, unless watching a guy remove a SIM card from another guy's stomach through the front is your idea of a good time.

Sure Pavel (Joel Bissonnette) had it coming - he'd killed Jack's brand-new girlfriend, Renee (Annie Wersching). But with only three hours to go, I'm not sure how much more of Jack's rampage of retribution I can stomach.

* Something I failed to mention in yesterday's column about FX's "Justified": Last night's episode, "Hatless," was written by Dave Andron, who grew up in Wayne and graduated from Conestoga High School in 1997.

* Rob Lowe, on his way out of ABC's "Brothers and Sisters" - Sunday's season finale will be his last episode - stops off in Pawnee, Ind., tomorrow night for the first appearance in what will be a recurring role on NBC's "Parks and Recreation" (8:30 p.m. Thursdays, Channel 10).

I've been underwhelmed so far by the show, and though Lowe's amusing as a pretty-boy bureaucrat who's obsessed by his looks, I can't see myself tuning in just to see him.

If I'm tempted to reconsider, it's because of Adam Scott, who's playing his assistant. Scott, currently in Starz's "Party Down," has also joined the cast, reportedly as a potential love interest for Amy Poehler's Leslie Knope, and from what little I've seen so far, they're fun together.

* Craig Ferguson apparently won't be in New York Monday to pick up a Peabody Award for a March 2009 episode of CBS' "Late Late Show" in which he interviewed Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu.

But he could take the night off to celebrate if he likes, because the show - which is sending executive producer Peter Lassally to the Peabodys luncheon - is rerunning the Tutu episode.

So if you're wondering how a guy with a Scottish accent and a collection of bad wigs scored one of broadcasting's highest honors, you can check out that night's "Late Late Show" (12:37 a.m., Channel 3) for Ferguson's remarkable chat with the former archbishop of South Africa.

* With Andy Whitfield, star of Starz's "Spartacus," undergoing treatment for non-Hodgkins lymphoma, the network last month postponed the show's second season.

Work, however, is under way, according to Starz, on a six-part prequel to this season's "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" in which Whitfield will appear only briefly, with most of the heavy lifting done by Lucy Lawless and John Hannah, whose characters are central to the "story of the rise of the House of Batiatus and its champions before Spartacus arrives as a captured Thracian slave."

The so-far-untitled prequel - "I'm Not Yet Spartacus"? - will be filmed this summer in New Zealand and premiere in January 2011. *

Send e-mail to graye@phillynews.com.

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