The Week’s guide to what’s worth watching

The best programs on TV this week

The Closer

When a Christmas-park Santa takes a one-way trip down a zip line into the side of a chimney, the LAPD’s Major Crimes unit and its commander (Kyra Sedgwick) are called upon to sort out whether the death was an accident or a murder. Fred Willard’s guest performance as a tipsy Santa highlights the episode. Monday, Dec. 5, at 9 p.m., TNT


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This lighthearted sci-fi series about a secret town of geniuses celebrates the holiday season with an episode in which the stars are transformed into animated versions of themselves—in every style from vintage Claymation to contemporary anime. The festive theme continues throughout Syfy’s Tuesday-night lineup as Warehouse 13 borrows plot elements from It’s a Wonderful Life; later, on Haven, a mystery develops when Christmas decorations inexplicably appear throughout the supernatural town—in July. Tuesday, Dec. 6, at 8 p.m., Syfy

Hidden City

Crime novelist Marcus Sakey probes the dark underbellies of cities from New York to San Francisco in this new travel series. The debut episode takes him to Chicago, where he walks in the footsteps of Depression-era bank robber John Dillinger and of serial killer H.H. Holmes, who stalked the 1893 World’s Fair. Sakey also demonstrates how to use a riot baton as he revisits the riots outside the 1968 Democratic convention. Tuesday, Dec. 6, at 10 p.m., Travel Channel

Pearl Harbor: 24 Hours Later

Marking the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, this two-hour special takes an in-depth look at President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s actions in the immediate aftermath of Japan’s surprise assault. Drawing on new information from the FDR Library and the insights of historian Steven M. Gillon, the documentary shows how the president prevented panic by deftly managing (and sometimes concealing) information about the attacks. Wednesday, Dec. 7, at 8 p.m., History

Stephen King’s Bag of Bones

A novelist haunted by his late wife, a young girl whose custody is coveted by her wealthy grandfather, and a blues singer whose spirit lingers in a tiny Maine town are the ingredients of this two-part thriller, adapted from King’s 1998 best-seller. The first half is better than the second, when contrivances emerge. But Pierce Brosnan is very good in the lead role, and there are solid scares and shudders along the way. Sunday–Monday, Dec. 11–12, at 9 p.m., A&E

Other highlights

The Young Turks With Cenk Uygur

The outspoken progressive pundit moves from talk radio and the Web to a new, weeknight series. Monday, Dec. 5, at 7 p.m., Current TV

Sons of Guns

The custom gunmakers at Baton Rouge, La.’s Red Jacket Firearms return for a new season of real-life challenges. Wednesday, Dec. 7, at 9 p.m., Discovery

State of Play

An encore run begins for this superb six-part 2003 British miniseries. Bill Nighy and David Morrissey star in the political thriller, which inspired a 2009 feature film. Wednesday, Dec. 7, at 10 p.m., BBC America

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