The biggest shock of the TV week? I mean besides seeing Dikembe Mutombo seated next to Laura Bush in the gallery at the State of the Union address?

It had to be when 24 revealed that last season's über-villain (played by Paul McCrane, also known as Dr. Romano on ER) is in fact Jack Bauer's brother, Graham.


You mean the evil scamp who was pulling President Logan's strings actually shares genes with democracy's savior? Too weird.

But the episode was full of strange twists. Like Rena Sofer (ex-Lois on General Hospital) turning up as Graham's wife. Earlier this season, she was Adrian Pasdar's crippled spouse on Heroes, 24's Monday-night competition. And did anyone else think Sofer's son bore a greater resemblance to Jack (Kiefer Sutherland) than to his "father" Graham? I'm just saying.

Finally I loved this bit of dialogue from 24: Chloe: "Wanna help me boot up some routers?" Morris: "Who wouldn't?"

Follow the puck. The coolest guest star of the week: Andy Richter on Monk as a crafty killer who cozies up to the defective detective (Tony Shalhoub) just so he can intercept his mail. Poor Monk was so childishly delighted at the novel prospect of having a best friend, it short-circuited his judgment.

There was a priceless scene as an enthusiastic Monk went through the age-old macho bonding ritual: sitting behind the glass at a National Hockey League game with his buddy.

Monk, you should have taken a page from the first lady's book and made friends with Dikembe. He's good people.

Random reunion. Watch enough television, and odd coincidences start popping up on your screen like parking tickets. Take last Sunday on ABC. First Amy Aquino guested on Desperate Housewives as the gossipy best friend of Ian's soon-to-expire wife. Immediately following that show, on Brothers & Sisters, Marion (Happy Days) Ross turned up as the Walker family matriarch, the painfully frank mother of Nora (Sally Field).

Put Aquino and Ross together, as ABC unwittingly did, and you're well on your way to a reunion for the late, lamented '90s comedy Brooklyn Bridge.

Take three. On this week's Heroes, the cheerleader Claire (Hayden Panettiere) asks her friend Zach to once again videotape her jumping from a silo. She's hoping that repeating this dangerous stunt from the show's pilot will help restore Zach's erased memory.

But watch the scene as she leaps. Zach's stunned eyes follow her all the way to the ground. But the camera he is holding never moves. It's still pointed at the sky as the indestructible Claire lurches up and reassembles herself. Dude, you need to focus on the task at hand.

Hold the presses. This week's Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip centered on a sequence in which Steven Weber (who continues to do outstanding work on this disappointing show) and Ed Asner face off against the network's mutinous board of directors at a meeting in Manhattan.

During a recess, Asner makes a big deal out of someone's having left the New York Times' Arts & Leisure section on the conference room table. Why? Because in a few moments that's how Weber will deduce that a certain magnate from Macao who is pivotal to the plot is in Los Angeles. Weber reads that an orchestra from the Juilliard School of Music is performing that night in L.A.

I bring up this labored plot not to make sense of it but merely to ask: What are the chances that a student ensemble playing on the West Coast would merit a front-page story in the New York Times?

About the same as 50 Cent doing a Christmas album.

Contact TV columnist David Hiltbrand at 215-854-4552 or Read his recent work at