Thursday, November 13, 2003
Was Jack Ruby part of a vast conspiracy to kill John F. Kennedy, or merely a lost soul who grabbed his chance to make big headlines? Tonight's "Biography" (7 p.m., A&E;) makes an hour-long case for Ruby's lone-loser status, debunking the many theories that see him as a mob-linked killer hired to silence Kennedy's apparent assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, just two days after the president's murder.
Oswald's murder in the basement of the Dallas police department remains one of the most unforgettable events ever broadcast live on national television. And this "Biography" repeats the clip at least four times. But just how did this odd guy, a strip club owner who walked around with a revolver and kept a wad of loot in his pants leg, get into the Dallas police headquarters as they were transferring the world's most wanted man?
"Biography" offers interviews with Ruby's brother, several eyewitnesses, and Ruby associates who explain Ruby's casual relationship with both the police and the press. They argue that Ruby probably would have slept through Oswald's scheduled transfer, and was only awakened by a phone call from one of his dancers, desperate for a $25 loan to pay her landlord. This was not the behavior of a paid hit man, they contend. Several assassin experts see Ruby as merely a lone agent of chaos, a deluded nebbish who wanted to be a hero, and who robbed the world of Oswald's testimony and a greater understanding of the events of Nov. 22, 1963.
- The "Frontline" (8 p.m., PBS, check local listings) documentary "Dangerous Prescriptions" examines drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration that have resulted in deaths and serious complications.
Tonight's other highlights
- Terrorist moneychangers circulate toxic tender on "Threat Matrix" (7 p.m., ABC).
- A judge's ruling sends the team scrambling to find new evidence on "CSI" (8 p.m., CBS).
- Jack Black ("School of Rock") guest stars as Karen's unorthodox doctor on "Will & Grace" (8 p.m., NBC).
- A 10-year-old boy's kidnapping goes unreported by his family on "Without a Trace" (9 p.m., CBS).
- Dr. Lewis plans a dinner for her depressed patient (Bob Newhart) on "ER" (9 p.m., NBC).
- Scheduled on "PrimeTime" (9 p.m., ABC): Diane Sawyer spends the hour talking with Britney Spears.
Russell Crowe and Pink appear on "Late Show with David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., CBS) ... Jay Leno hosts Halle Berry, Dave Mordal and OutKast on "The Tonight Show" (10:35 p.m., NBC).