Jim Lombardo’s 2023 TV Diary

By Published On: February 6th, 2024Categories: Capitol Notes, Uncategorized

Preface from Capitol Pressroom host David Lombardo: My abundant movie and television diet is not without precedent. It is most likely a learned or inherited behavior from my dad, Jim Lombardo, who has embraced the streaming era with the passion of a thousand suns. He regularly knows about shows before me and in some cases has already consumed them, especially if they’re from across the pond.

My father also shares my passion for lists (although maybe it’s the other way around), so he has been champing at the bit to publicize his television diary from the past year. So now, with the help of my mom, Barbara Lombardo, I bring you…

2023 TV Reviews by Jim Lombardo

This will include shows from prior years but watched in 2023. Unlike David’s list, this will include shows with subtitles from PBS Passport and Britain. Some are just mini-series. My top choices are first, followed by lots more, with recommended shows asterisked.

TOP 13:

Fauda Season 11, Israeli, 2022: Excellent show starring Lior Raz in an undercover Israeli Defense Force unit.

Slow Horses Season 3 (Apple TV), British: Gary Oldman stars as the head of a group of misfit MI5 agents in Slough House. The Mick Herron novels are excellent and the TV show is great.

CB Strike Seasons 1-3 (HBO), British: Based on the detective books by J.K. Rowling using the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. Stars the charming (and not-too-hard-on-your eyes, per my editor/spouse) Tom Burke and Holliday Grainger, both excellent.

Poker Face (Peacock): Natasha Lyonne is excellent as a goodhearted female Columbo-type who isn’t in law enforcement yet solves a murder mystery every week.

Succession last season (HBO): Conclusion of great series. Big fan of Tom; see Matthew Macfadyen as a much different character in the recommended “Spooks.”

Endeavor Season 9 (PBS), British: Big fan of this series, a prequel to “Morse.” Sorry to see it end.

Line of Duty Season 6 (Britbox): May be the final season. Internal affairs department. Great cast. Highly recommend. Mother of God!

Happy Valley Season 3 (AMC+), British: Final season. Sarah Lancashire is great as a police sergeant trying to retire and James Norton is scary as the criminal who murdered her daughter.

Sherwood (BritBox), British: Two murders bring back memories of a miners’ strike that divided the town. Stars the great Lesley Manville and also David Morrissey.

Unforgotten Season 5 (PBS): The show focuses on cold cases and the victims’ families. Even though the great Nicola Walker is no longer on the show, DI Sunil “Sunny” Khan is still on the job.

Hijack Season 1 (Apple TV): Stars the great Idris Elba, a professional negotiator who happens to be on a hijacked flight from Dubai to London (and, per editor/spouse, is not too hard on the eyes).

The Crown Season 6  (Netflix): The final season had its ups and downs but overall, it was a great series.

Only Murders in the Building Season 3: Martin Short, Steve Martin, Meryl Streep, Paul Rudd. Need I say more? Happily ended with yet another death.

More shows (with asterisks before those I recommend)

*Astrid Season I (PBS), French, 2019: Boisterous homicide detective teams up to solve crimes with a police records clerk who has a photographic memory and Asperger’s. Charming.  

*Three Pines (Amazon +), 2022: Based on Louise French’s novel starring Alfred Molina. Besides a murder mystery, it looks at Canadian Indigenous issues.  

*Capitani Seasons 1-2 (Netflix), Luxemburg, 2019-2022: Troubled detective. Who knew there are Luxemburg TV shows!  

The Minister (Topic), Iceland, 2020: Troubled Iceland prime minister starring the great Olafur Darr Olafsson. Skip this and watch “Trapped” instead, about trouble Icelandic detective.

Hit and Run Season 1 (Netflix), Israeli-American, 2021: Stars Lior Raz. Watch him in Fauda instead.

*Shrinking Season 1 (Apple TV): Harrsion Ford is excellent as the curmudgeon therapist and Jason Segel as his recently widowed colleague. Might have made Top 10 but I haven’t finished the season.

Liaison Season 1 (Apple TV), French-British: Should be my kind of show, a thriller with spies. But not very good.

*Chernobyl Season 1 (HBO), 2019: Historic drama starring Jared Harris, Emily Watson and Stellan Skarsgard.

*Code 404 Seasons 1-3 (Peacock), British: British police drama/comedy in near future starring Stephen Graham and Daniel Mays. Very funny.

Perry Mason Season 2 (HBO): Season two was better than one.

Spy City Season 1 (AMC) 2020, German-British: Spies in Berlin in 1961 just before the Berlin Wall was built. My kind of show but can’t remember what happens to these characters.

*Night Agent Season 1 (Netflix): FBI agent with dull job staffing nighttime phone at White House gets a late night call that starts this political thriller as he looks for a traitor in the government. My kind of show.

*SS-GB Season 1 (Amazon), British, 2017: Based on excellent book by Len Deighton, alternative history set in 1941 as British cope with German occupation. My kind of show.

*Wisting Seasons 1-3, Norwegian, 2019-2022: Carrie-Anne Moss stars as FBI special agent sent to Norway to help troubled Norwegian detective hunting for serial killer.

Good Cop Season 1 (BritBox), British, 2012: Story of how a good cop reacts when his partner is ambushed and killed.

Life of Crime Season 1 (BritBox) British mini-series, 2013: A troubled cop is obsessed with tracking down the killer of a 15-year-old girl over 28 years. Stars Hayley Atwell.

*Little Boy Blue season 1 (BriBox), 2017: The great Stephen Graham stars as a detective obsessed with solving murder of young boy.

*Des Season 1(AMC), British, 2020: We know David Tennant is a serial killer in Scotland. Daniel Mays must prove it.

*A Confession Season 1 (BritBox), British, 2019: Based on true story. Martin Freeman is excellent as a detective who destroys his career to catch a serial killer.

Ghosts of Beirut (Showtime) Real-life manhunt for Hezbollah terrorist in 1980s. There are better.

*Lucky Hank Season 1 (WAMC): Excellent adaptation of Richard Russo’s “Straight Man” novel. Stars Bob Odenkirk as a professor at a mediocre college.

The Girl from Oslo (Netflix), Norwegian, 2021: Norwegian girl and two Israelis kidnapped by terrorists in Sinai unless prisoners are released.

Moscow Noir (PBS), Russian, Swedish: Set in Moscow in 1999. A young Swedish banker gets involved in shady oil deal then through British.

*Mrs. Maisel Season 5: Up and down final season, but overall a very good series with a great cast. Top 10 in past years.

Spy/Master (HBO), Romania: A Romanian double agent in the Cold War.

*The White House Plumbers (HBO): No wonder the Watergate burglary was a disaster. Woody Harrelson is E. Howard Hunt and Justin Theroux is G. Gordon Liddy. Two idiots.

*Ridley (PBS), British: Adrian Dunbar stars as a retired detective investigator brought back to solve a case.

DI Ray Season 1 (PBS), British: Parminder Nagra (from “Bend it Like Beckham”) stars as DI who faces discrimination.

*Manhattan Seasons 1-2 (Amazon), 2014: An overlooked show about the Manhattan Project. Had to see after watching “Oppenheimer.”

*Luna and Sophie Seasons 1-2 (PBS), German: The German Cagney and Lacey, Scott and Bailey, Rizzoli and Isles. Entertaining.

Vanderwalk Season 3 (PBS), British-Dutch: Troubled detective in Amsterdam.

*The Responder Season 1 (BritBox), 2022: Martin Freeman stars again as a demoted police officer who has issues.

Thaw Season 1, 2022 (HBO): Troubled female Polish police detective who investigates murder of a young girl. Glad to see HBO has a Polish TV series.

*Gangs of Oslo Season 1 (Netflix), Norwegian: The Norwegian Wire focuses on police officer whose best friend is now Oslo crime lord.

Traces Seasons 1-2 (BritBox), British: Scottish forensic squad stars Steve of Line of Duty.

Sleeping Dogs Season 1 (Netflix), German: A homeless former police detective and young female prosecutor investigate an old murder.

Defeated Season 1 (Netflix), German-American: Taylor Kitsch stars as U.S. cop sent to Berlin after World War II to form police force and find his brother.

All the Light You Cannot See (Netflix) Set in France. The book is great. Please read it. The show is OK. The blind girl is very good. (Recommended by editor/spouse, who agrees book is better.)

*The Interpreter of Lies (Hulu), German: A young interpreter for a Frankfort Auschwitz trial finds out about Germany and her parents’ role in World War II.

This England (BritBox), British: Kenneth Branaugh stars as Boris Johnson during Covid.

*For All Mankind Season 4 (Apple TV): Spoiler Alert: We made it to Mars before 2000! Al Gore won the 2000 election. Might have been in the Top 10 had I seen the whole season by now.

Granite Harbor Season 1 (BritBox), British: Fish out of water. A former army police officer is sent to Scotland to learn to be a detective.

*Transatlantic (Netflix): Based on true story of Varian Fry and Judith Gold who helped Jewish artists and authors get out of France in 1940.

*Murder at the End of the World (Hulu): Murder mystery set in Iceland. Stars Clive Owen as an Elon Musk-type character and Emma Corrin (SP) as an amateur detective.


Thank you to my typist/editor and, often, TV watching partner.