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Turns out Network was just a joke. Sidney Lumet, the director of that scathing satire of TV, has adapted his social-issues subject matter into a talky, intriguing, if spotty, series about New York City courts. The dialogue can be as heavyhanded as, well, a Sidney Lumet picture. But Alan Arkin is powerful yet subtle as a liberal judge under attack for setting free a petty crook who then kills a cop. Worth putting on your docket for a probationary period.

--By James Poniewozik

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