TNT Gives 'Memphis Beat' Its Walking Papers

TNT Gives 'Memphis Beat' Its Walking Papers Well, even in television production, deaths come in threes. Behold, TNT found a third.

It rings just as true that for something to live, something else must die. Entertainment Weekly confirms that since TNT wants a happy, healthy “Dallas” rebirth, the Jason Lee-led police drama “Memphis Beat” is bound for the same stretch of the River Styx as the recently departed medical drama “HawthorRNe” and the Emmy nominated coming-of-middle-age dramedy “Men of a Certain Age,” starring TV veterans Ray Romano, Scott Bakula and Andre Braugher.

"The network thanks everyone involved in the production of ‘Memphis Beat’ for their work on the series, including the great cast and crew," TNT said in a statement. The upcoming season would’ve been the show’s third.

Lee played Memphis Police Department Det. Dwight Hendricks. He was an off-beat sort (pun absolutely not intended but probably unavoidable) distinguished by his very deep, very Southern love for his mother, Elvis Presley, the blues and the city of Memphis. And if you’ve seen one police drama with a quirky cop, you’ve seen ‘em all: sure enough, there’s a straight-laced lieutenant (played for the show’s two seasons by Alfre Woodard) that will be the oil to Officer Madcap’s eccentric manner.

You win some, you lose some with the mismatched buddy concept.

One can’t really blame the TNT programming block’s overall look and feel, because “Rizzoli & Isles” has been kicking ass and taking names riffing off a science-meets-streets-smarts law enforcement pairing that’s at best an eyebrow-raising “Bones” knockoff.

Psych?” Sure, James Roday’s “psychic” detective and Timothy Omundson’s Dirty (Reaganite) Harry might clash in manners most wacky, but that’s a show that thrives more off Roday’s instantly magic chemistry with Dule Hill.

It’s a shame “Memphis Beat” died, especially for something as unoriginal as doing some voodoo and raising “Dallas” from the grave on a network that’s been on a winning streak with great originals like “Leverage” and “Damages.” Even more so since Lee excels with offbeat characters like this, ever since his first starring turn as lovable slacker Brodie Bruce in Kevin Smith’s “Mallrats,” let alone his work on “My Name Is Earl” as a redemption-bound redneck huckster.

Luckily, Lee’s got no shortage of talent. “Memphis Beat” may have proven forgettable, but you get the feeling his next at-bat is right around the bend.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve suddenly got a craving for a chocolate-covered pretzel . . .

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