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Mixed Notes Thursday

By Rich Heldenfels Published: June 6, 2013

Tonight includes the return of "Burn Notice" for its final season, and the premiere of new drama "Graceland." Here is how I saw the latter: premiere, fourth and fifth episodes, with a highlight reel for the second and third. That's not ideal BUT I am glad I saw the fourth and fifth because they kick in dramatically in a way that the premiere does not.

The series involves a group of feds working undercover in the drug trade, and living in a house nicknamed Graceland because the former owner was Elvis-fixated. Here endeth the relevance of Graceland. With many characters and interrelationships to establish, the premiere is a bit slow. By those later episodes, though, the pieces are meshing, and the characters' struggles evident. After all, they have to maintain their undercover identities, deal with pressure to produce from their bosses, hold onto pieces of themselves while befriending criminal scum, figure out how to navigate the drug world without becoming too much a part of it -- and keep some secrets for themselves. The identity issue in particular gets dizzying for more than one character. But it's good, if more than a little grim. And there are fine performances from the consistently good Daniel Sunjata and  Vanessa Ferlito.

One possible approach, then: DVR tonight's episode and some of the ensuing ones, then binge-view in a few weeks.

In today's Beacon Journal and on Ohio.com is a new mailbag with questions about "Fairly Legal," "Ice Road Truckers" and other topics. Also available is my review of "The Kings of Summer."  In case you missed it on Sunday. I have a look at the making of "Kings."

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