If you want a true-crime story that’s not a devastating murder or torture show, try this four-part series about the 1990 robbery at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, in which 13 pieces of art were stolen. The case remains unsolved, but the series explores various theories of the crime and the seedy vibes of the era in juicy and tricky ways.
“This Is a Robbery” also feels like the full realization of the true-crime algorithm of disposable competence. Art-world crimes are buzzy thanks to “Made You Look: A True Story About Fake Art.” (I preferred “There Are No Fakes.”) The lawyer Robert Fisher is a prosecutor in “This Is a Robbery” and also appeared in “Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal” because he represented the Stanford sailing coach who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit racketeering. The pacing here mirrors that of “Murder Among the Mormons.” As with many other recent documentaries, there was a podcast that investigated the same crime; WBUR’s “Last Seen” came out in 2018.
None of these are bad attributes per se, but it’s strange to realize you’re inside a Venn diagram.
No, I actually do want something intense
Caisa Ankarsparre, center, in a scene from “Exterminate All the Brutes.” Velvet Film/David Koskas/HBO
‘Exterminate All the Brutes’
When to watch: Wednesday at 9 p.m., on HBO.
This four-part documentary collage from the filmmaker Raoul Peck examines the origins and effects of white supremacy and moves comfortably between detailed, intimate stories and broad-strokes global history. Peck’s use of film and TV clips, archival footage and personal artifacts make “Brutes” a story of stories, a look at how culture replicates brutality through mythmaking. Two episodes air Wednesday, and the other two air at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. Thursday.
“Hemingway,” a three-part documentary about Ernest Hemingway, directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, airs Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 8 p.m. on PBS. (Check local listings.)
Nasim Pedrad’s single-camera comedy “Chad,” in which she stars as a 14-year-old boy, starts Tuesday at 10:30 p.m. on TBS. If you like gentle cringe or “PEN15,” try this.
“Kung Fu,” loosely inspired by the show from the 1970s, premieres Wednesday at 8 p.m. on the CW. This time, it’s about a young woman (Olivia Liang) who spent three years in Shaolin monastery in China and has now returned home to San Francisco. If you like any other action show on the CW, you will like this, and Liang is terrific.
‘Still Processing’ Takes On ‘Promising Young Woman’
The Oscar contender “Promising Young Woman” is a dark revenge fantasy that raises deep questions about sexual assault and justice. The co-hosts Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham discuss what it gets right — and where it disappoints — on “Still Processing.”
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