NEW YORK -- CBS will be shooting from the hip as 'crime time' follows prime time in late night with a series of shows featuring battlers against evil.
The network has scheduled five new hour-long late night series this week with characters that range from a pair of sexy private eyes on the beach in Florida to a bespectacled judge by day who lets down his hair at night and mounts his motorcycle to bring the bad guys to justice.
Making its debut Monday, Jan. 21, 11:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Eastern time is 'Sweating Bullets.'
Rob Stewart stars as Nick Slaughter, a former Drug Enforcement Agent in Miami, who now ekes out a living as a private investigator in Key Mariah, where life on the beach is hedonistic and somewhat alcoholic.
Along comes Sylvie Girard (Carolyn Dunn), a travel consultant who has rented out a rich man's yacht without his consent -- and now the yacht has disappeared. The owner is irritated. She wants Girard to find the ship.
The plot involves buried treasure -- a fortune in drug money -- and winds up with Nick and Sylvie partners in the P.I. business.
'Sweating Bullets' has been fashioned on the 'Moonlighting' mode, with two attractive but disparate people bickering their way through their mutual attraction.
On Tuesday, Jan. 22 in the late-night period CBS will try 'Fly By Night,' which features another attractive but bickering couple engaging in violence and light comedy.
This time it's Shannon Tweed as Sally 'Slick' Malone who's trying to set up a luxury security air charter operation. All she needs is money, an airplane, a pilot and a customer.
She gets the customer when a former Mafia don who has gone legit slumps over dead during his 85th birthday party. His older son takes charge of transporting the body back to Palermo, while a younger son wants to louse things up so he can take over the organization and go back into its old illegal business.
Slick latches onto pilot Mack Sheppard (David Elliott), a guy with a questionable military record, and copilot Jean-Phillippe Pasteur (Francois Guetary).
There's lots of violence but it's more good-natured than lethal, which is the tenor of the show.
The first episode is part one of a two-parter, so you'll have to wait for the solution -- a dubious ploy with this kind of lighter-than-air plot, which may start to fade with the final commercial.
The most promising of the new shows airs on Wednesday, Jan. 23 -- an anthology mystery series from Stephen J. Cannell titled 'Scene of the Crime.'
In its first outing, it presents a story that begins when a sweet first grade girl shows a substitute teacher a drawing during show-and- tell and says its a picture of a body that was in the trunk of her Mommy's car and it has a 'second mouth' where the blood is.
Is this a vampire story? Or are the series of murders of red-haired women the work of a serial killer? Could the killer be the substitute school teacher? The show keeps you guessing and provides a nicely twisted ending. The problem, of course, is whether Cannell -- father of 'Hunter' and 'Wiseguy' -- can keep up the good work.
Thursday's excursion into crime is 'The Exile,' with Jeffrey Meek as John Stone, a renegade Cold War undercover agent with his own agenda who literally is a man who can't go home again. 'The Exile' was not available for review.
The final new show of the week, to air Friday, Jan. 25, also is the most fanciful -- 'Dark Justice.' It's just this side of the comic book superhero genre.
Ramy Zada stars as Judge Nicholas Marshall, a bleeding heart liberal judge by day who by night literally lets his hair down, rides a motorcyle and brings to justice the bad guys who slip out from under his gavel as he upholds 'the system' -- in other words, the Constitution -- during the day.
In the first episode, the man he's after is Caldicott Rush, a Yuppie hitman who really enjoys his work. As a cover, he runs an art gallery.
'Dark Justice' is light-hearted in its grim way as Marshall and his cronies fight for truth, justice and a somewhat un-American way of justice.
'Dark Justice' can be amusing enough to entertain insomniacs, but it certainly won't keep you awake nights.NEWLN: