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''Grey's Anatomy,'' ''How I Met Your Mother'' (From Tonight's Shows)

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 15, 2006

When the makers of television are looking at the arc of a season, I think they should come up with the biggest, wildest idea they can for a season finale -- then do it in the middle of the season. That way, if the idea is bad, we'll have a bunch of new episodes after it to remind us why we like the show -- and we'll end the season on a steady note that will carry us into the next.

I thought about this a couple of times tonight, once when dealing with ''How I Met Your Mother,'' which seems to be going in a direction at odds with where it started (Ted even more with Robin, Marshall and Lily no longer engaged) and one that leans so heavily on drama, you long even more for Barney to come in and brighten the scene.

But it was even more in my mind during three hours of ''Grey's,'' two tonight and one last night, where the pursuit of a big finish sent the show careening into a kind of madness even more pronounced than Izzie's onscreen meltdown. Not only did we have her action with Denny last night, we had the continuation tonight, which by all rights should have ended with Izzie, George, Cristina and Meredith booted out of the hospital entirely, until their bosses and the hospital lawyers could sort out the liability; and we shouldn't even have gotten to that point, because one of the other three should have reported Izzie's folly the moment they discovered it.

Also, I hated seeing Meredith and McDreamy back together, even if it was just for some slap and tickle, to set up that whom-will-she-choose ending. But that's me.

Getting back to the larger point, I stopped believing in the show. I know it's a fantasy in a lot of ways -- think of some of the turns in the hospital-bomb story -- but I have to believe the characters are acting in a plausible manner, as their characters I defined, that I won't look at it and think, oh, they would never do that. And these last three hours have been laced with they-wouldn't-do-that. I hope over the summer, someone takes a close look at the show and the characters and reconsiders the most recent path. It's fixable.

On the plus side, James Pickens, Jr., certainly had some good business tonight, and he took full advantage of the opportunity. Flawed as the Chief is, he is still one of the stabilizing forces in the hospital (sometimes the only one), and was really the guy to watch during the interrogation scenes. He says nothing -- but in doing so talks very loud.

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