“The Code” (9 p.m., CBS, TV-14) arrives in its regular time slot. The series reflects at least two promises to the network’s faithful viewers: CBS will never run out of ways to dramatize court proceedings, both military and civilian, and Dana Delany will always find work.
On most weeks, of the 21 hours of prime-time TV, more than half of CBS offerings involve police forces or legal procedurals that end up before judges, many of them military. And that’s not counting “Madam Secretary” and “MacGyver”! There isn’t one hospital drama or family melodrama on the network.
A Marine Corps variation on the “NCIS” formula, “Code” tackles the legal problems that emerge when Marines are accused of crimes, mostly murder. Good-looking Marine lawyers take the cases every week, sometimes for the defense and sometimes prosecuting for the Corps.
The dialogue ranges from pedantic to turgid. There’s always a lot to explain, because in addition to each week’s case, there’s generally some issue or cause that needs explication. Last week’s pilot explored the epidemic of head injuries and brain trauma among soldiers and Marines exposed to battlefield explosions.
The atmosphere is as consistent as the speech-making. Somewhere, a flag is always snapping in the breeze. Barely a scene goes by without a mournful bugle reminding us of the body count that awaits us all if “The Code” runs as long as the well-oiled “NCIS” distraction machine.
• A different variation on a Marine’s encounter with the justice system, the “Frontline” (9 p.m., PBS, TV-PG, check local listings) presentation “Marcos Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” explores the efforts of former Marine and Iraq war veteran Elizabeth Perez as she confronts a legal labyrinth while trying to deal with the deportation of her husband and the father of her two children.
• Look for Sean Astin and Melissa Joan Hart in the new Netflix series “No Good Nick,” a family comedy about a precocious teen (Siena Agudong) who turns to the camera and explains to the audience how she’s playing some long con and “infiltrating” a family because “they ruined her life.” Not made available for review, this looks like a no good Nickelodeon knock-off to me.
• TBS spends the day celebrating the 20th anniversary of “Family Guy” (10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.). Seth MacFarlane’s cartoon series is one of the rare network series to be canceled and then revived by the same network. It aired on Fox from 1999 to 2002 and returned there in 2005 after a few years of reruns on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. Despite, or because of, its adolescent lack of emotional depth and empathy, and a range of references limited to television itself, “Family Guy” has remained consistently popular in repeats on and off Fox, and is often one of the most-watched shows on cable.
The “Family Guy” marathon leads up to an original episode of “American Dad” (10 p.m., TBS, TV-14).
• Acorn will begin streaming season three of “Rumpole of the Bailey.”
• After escaping death, a pilot’s (David Niven) love for a nurse (Kim Hunter) upsets the order of this world and the next, in the 1946 Powell and Pressburger supernatural fantasy “A Matter of Life and Death” (2 a.m., TCM), also released as “Stairway to Heaven.”
Tonight’s other highlights
• Live cross battles on “The Voice” (8 p.m., NBC, TV-PG).
• A new mother’s complaints go unheeded on “The Resident” (8 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
• Seven move forward on “American Idol” (8 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
• The story of Mary Magdalene takes center stage on the biblical miniseries “Jesus: His Life” (8 p.m., History, TV-PG).
• A power failure cuts off the call center on “9-1-1” (9 p.m., Fox, TV-PG).
• Danny needs help on “Bull” (10 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
• Flashbacks explain Shepherd’s treachery on “The Enemy Within” (10 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
• The D.A. hopes to whack the mole leaking to Wolf on “The Fix” (10 p.m., ABC, TV-14).
A torch is passed on “The Neighborhood” (8 p.m., CBS, TV-PG) ... A question of attribution on “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” (8 p.m., CW, TV-14) ... Heroes and villains on “Man With a Plan” (8:30 p.m., CBS, TV-PG) ... Laurel acts out on “Arrow” (9 p.m., CW, TV-14).
Oprah Winfrey visits “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah (11 p.m., Comedy Central, r) ... Taylor Schilling appears on “Conan” (11 p.m., TBS) ... Jimmy Fallon welcomes Cher, Stephanie J. Block, Teal Wicks and Micaeala Diamond on “The Tonight Show” (11:35 p.m., NBC) ... Tracy Morgan, Willie Geist and Ingrid Andress visit “Late Night With Seth Meyers” (12:35 a.m., NBC) ... Max Minghella and Sean Paul + J Balvin appear on “The Late Late Show With James Corden” (12:35 a.m., CBS).