Edie Falco stars as Los Angeles’ newest police chief in “Tommy.”

Cut-and-dried network crime shows will probably be with us forever in one form or another, because they’re easy to watch and offer very little in the way of gray areas — even as viewers have become increasingly aware, thanks mainly to prestige dramas and documentaries, that the criminal justice system is far more complex, and compromised, than the fictions we grew up watching.

That’s why we tend to applaud any attempt to offer a new read on the old formats, as John Ridley did five years ago with his “American Crime” anthology series for ABC. That show may have only lasted three excellent seasons, but its influence is felt anytime a creator pitches a crime story that’s told from an overlooked perspective. Two new prime-time dramas arriving this week and next — CBS’s “Tommy” and ABC’s “For Life” — may not be that impressive, but they come across with fresh, and at times suitably compelling, premises.

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