Michael Slezak
November 05, 2007 AT 12:00 PM EST

Midway through this week’s episode of Women’s Murder Club, I came to two realizations: First, it’s earned itself “series recording” status on my DVR — yeah, I’m tragic like that — and second, it feels like a throwback to old-school crime-solving series like Murder, She Wrote.

Seriously, remember how on MSW, Jessica Fletcher was like the Angel of Death? Similarly, on WMC, once an investigation kicks off, suspects and witnesses start dropping like flies. Take this week’s episode, set at a retirement community where elderly residents were being used as drug mules to transport heroin from Mexico: We started out with an elderly retiree’s death, followed by the murder of an innocent nurse, and then the suspicious overdose by an ex-addict ex-boyfriend of Jill (Laura Harris, second from left, with Aubrey Dollar, Paula Newsome, and Angie Harmon), and finally a murder attempt on the lothario grandpa.

What’s more, instead of the interrogation-room confessions favored by crime series like CSI and Law & Order, WMC isn’t afraid to corner its bad guys in a back alleys and use undercover gang members to scare up taped confessions, or maybe show at a perp’s place of work for the ultimate “gotcha!” moment. Sure, I knew how it was all going to end long before the nursing-home administrator (Robert Picardo) whipped out his gun, used a little old lady as a shield, and fired pell-mell at the cops, but it didn’t make it any less satisfying when skinny Lindsay Boxer (Harmon) subdued him in a pond. And while you wouldn’t be wrong to mock WMC for being clunky, campy, and completely implausible, is it really any more embarrassing than Cynthia Nixon and her multiple-personalies on SVU, or even worse, Horatio Caine going to Rio? Yeah, I didn’t think so. (p.s. Gifts for fans of the genre, after the jump!)

addCredit(“Women’s Murder Club: Vivian Zink”)

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