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The Week’s guide to what’s worth watching
The best TV programs this week
H

ard Time
This new, six-week series goes behind the walls of Georgia’s prison system to follow both the jailed and jailers over the course of a year. The first two episodes spotlight a “diagnostic” prison in Jackson, while incoming inmates are indoctrinated and a young Iraq war veteran starts his new career as a correctional officer. Locations for subsequent installments include a maximum-security facility and death row. Monday, Feb. 23, at 9 p.m., National Geographic Channel

American Experience: A Class Apart
In 1951, a Mexican-American field hand named Pedro Hernandez killed his employer in a bar fight in Edna, Texas. His defense lawyers argued that their client could not receive a fair trial from an all-Anglo jury, taking his case all the way to the Supreme Court. The result was a landmark ruling that broadened the protection of the Fourteenth Amendment to include racial groups other than African-Americans. American Experience relates a milestone in the civil-rights movement. Monday, Feb. 23, at 9 p.m., PBS; check local listings

Independent Lens: The Order of Myths
Mardi Gras has become synonymous with New Orleans, but the oldest such celebration in the U.S. occurs in Mobile, Ala., where the tradition dates back to 1703. A revealing Independent Lens shows that Mobile actually observes two versions of Mardi Gras—one black, one white—and delves into long-established customs that reflect still-prevailing complexities of race relations in the South. Tuesday, Feb. 24, at 10 p.m., PBS; check local listings

The Linguists
There are more than 7,000 languages on earth, but they are disappearing at the rate of one every two weeks, each one taking with it “a unique way of seeing the world.” This engaging documentary follows two adventurous young scientists who travel around the world to record such languages as Chulym, spoken in rural Siberia; Sora, a complex tongue vanishing from India; and a Bolivian language once spoken by Inca healers. Thursday, Feb. 26, at 10 p.m., PBS; check local listings

Jesse Stone: Thin Ice
Tom Selleck got an Emmy nomination the last time he played Robert B. Parker’s Jesse Stone, a brooding ex–Los Angeles cop whose drinking problem has relegated him to police chief of a provincial New England town. In the fifth TV movie in this superior series, Stone lands in hot water after he stumbles onto a shootout on a Boston street—and fires his department’s top-producing ticket writer. Sunday, March 1, at 9 p.m., CBS

Other highlights

Battle for Tobacco Road: Duke vs. Carolina
A look at one of college basketball’s fiercest rivalries, featuring partisans of the Blue Devils and the Tar Heels. Monday, Feb. 23, at 9 p.m., HBO

The Chris Isaak Show
The singer-songwriter and actor now adds hosting a music/talk show to his résumé. He performs alongside his first guest, Trisha Yearwood. Thursday, Feb. 26, at 10 p.m., Bio

America
Rosie O’Donnell and Ruby Dee star in this poignant drama about one boy’s odyssey through the foster-care system. Saturday, Feb. 28, at 9 p.m., Lifetime

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