Where have all the ugly cops gone?

While reviewing tonight’s episode of “Chicago P.D.” (9 p.m., NBC, TV-14), I was struck by two things. First, this is clearly the “Veterans Day” episode. A kidnapping case sends Halstead (Jesse Lee Soffer) undercover with a gang of professional criminals who are all war veterans, something the haunted Halstead can relate to. Just in case we forgot, we see him screaming in his sleep in an early scene.

Give “Chicago P.D.” credit for having these men on both sides of the law discuss the memories they can’t escape. Most of them don’t involve fear, or the trauma of coming under fire. They center around the horrific realization that they had become killers and that some of their victims had been women and children.

Putting aside the gravity of the subject matter, I was also struck by just how pretty the cast of this and many cop shows have become. Not an eyebrow hair out of place!

Time was, police procedurals were the perfect place for character actors to stand out. Nobody ever hired Dennis Franz (Sipowicz on “NYPD Blue”) or Jerry Orbach (Briscoe on “Law & Order”) for their looks.

On police shows, slightly goofy-looking characters could always bring something different to the proceedings. As a fan of “The Shield,” I always enjoyed the scenes when Dutch (Jay Karnes) faced some new challenge or humiliation.

Cop shows allowed blue-collar types to shine; these characters weren’t rich or beautiful, but could still drive the story. I think this started to go out the window when they cast Angie Harmon on “Law & Order,” then recast her as a “tomboy” on “Rizzoli & Isles.”

It’s a tad difficult to take “Chicago P.D.” seriously because everybody except the gravel-voiced Voight (Jason Beghe) looks like they just breezed in from hair-and-makeup.

  • “MythBusters” (8 p.m., Science, TV-PG) returns for a new 14-episode season. New hosts Brian Louden and Jon Lung emerged during the talent hunt presented on “MythBusters: The Search.” The second season of “Street Science” (9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.,TV-PG) follows.
  • Also of interest to the science-minded, “Beyond a Year in Space, Part Two” (8 p.m., PBS, TV-PG) follows astronaut Scott Kelly as he readjusts to home (and Earth’s gravity) after spending 12 months on the International Space Station.

Other highlights

  • Hakeem fights for custody of Bella on “Empire” (7 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
  • James Coburn plays an aging rodeo star in the 1972 comedy “The Honkers” (7 p.m., This TV), co-starring Slim Pickens and introducing Anne Archer in her first movie role.
  • Playoffs continue on “The Voice” (8 p.m., NBC, TV-PG).
  • The first family is consumed by controversy on “Designated Survivor” (9 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
  • For those still counting, “House Hunters” (9 p.m., HGTV, TV-G) enters its 137th season.

Cult choice

After gaslighting a disturbed detective (Jimmy Stewart), a femme fatale (Kim Novak) becomes the object of his morbid desire in the 1958 thriller “Vertigo” (7 p.m., TCM).

Series notes

Immunity comes with a twist on “Survivor” (7 p.m., CBS, TV-PG) ... Tom vanishes on “The Blacklist” (7 p.m., NBC, TV-14) ... A sure thing on “The Goldbergs” (7 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) ... The mayor muddies the waters on “Riverdale” (7 p.m., CW, TV-14) ... Holland Taylor guest-stars as Maya’s mother on “Speechless” (7:30 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).

A CIA agent falls into terrorists’ hands on “SEAL Team” (8 p.m., CBS, TV-14) ... Image restoration on “Star” (8 p.m., Fox, TV-14) ... Jay’s toast rings slightly false on “Modern Family” (8 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) ... Fallon takes stock on “Dynasty” (8 p.m., CW, TV-14) ... Keeping up with the Jones’ turkey on “American Housewife” (8:30 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) ... A killer targets VIPs on “Criminal Minds” (9 p.m., CBS, TV-14).

Late night

Elaine McMillion Sheldon appears on “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah” (10 p.m., Comedy Central) ... Kathy Bates, Seann William Scott and Jeff Caldwell are booked on “Conan” (10 p.m., TBS, r) ... Expect Jordan Peele, Alia Shawkat and Paul Mecurio on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” (10:35 p.m., CBS) ... Jimmy Fallon welcomes Gary Oldman, Gigi Hadid, Darryl Strawberry, Macklemore, Travis Thompson and Dave B on “The Tonight Show” (10:35 p.m., NBC) ... Kim Kardashian West, Ludacris and Amy Shark appear on “The Late Late Show With James Corden” (11:35 p.m., CBS).

© 2017 United Feature Synd.