The documentary "Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1" (9 p.m., HBO, TV-14) examines the epidemic of suicides among America's combat veterans.
A work of undeniable importance, unspeakable sadness and near-unwatchable grimness, it focuses on a place that is at once a center of com-
passion and a symbol of the mundane: a telephone call center.
In fact, the film's title and its opening lines underscore a disturbing collision of the most tragic and intimate with the impersonal and bureaucratic. Veterans in despair, many on the very precipice of self-destruction, call into the center and get a recorded message, telling them to press one to get to the compassionate individuals profiled here. The film shows these trained counselors and operators as they comfort and reason with these former soldiers in their darkest moments.
And if this weren't harrowing enough, we see that when one call concludes (sometimes in the most ghastly and tragic manner imaginable), another arrives, over and over again. There isn't time for reflection or grief. There are always more vets to counsel.
The film reminds us that a veteran takes his or her own life every 80 minutes and that the number of suicides among veterans since 2001 has long since exceeded the number of combat deaths in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
It's cliche to call a film like this "unforgettable." But it's certainly something to remember. Particularly the next time media pundits or people in government call for military quick fixes to some problem, a "slam-dunk" invasion or more "boots on the ground." There are men and women in those boots. And as "Crisis" shows us, the pain goes on long after the shooting stops.
---The History Channel repeats part one of its epic miniseries, "The Bible" (8 p.m., History, TV-14). I found it violent and frequently dull. But it was a ratings smash.
It's no secret why even a boring "Bible" miniseries
attracts a large audience. Americans are a religious people. More than 300,000 congregations serve a huge population of believers. But not every house of worship is thriving -- or even in good repair.
---"Church Rescue" (10 p.m., National Geographic, TV-G) follows three entrepreneur-
ial ministers as they travel from one floundering flock to another to help revive and repair houses of worship, grow their membership and inspire their congregations.
In a manner we've seen
applied to restaurants, bars,
businesses, home renovation and gardens, these self-described "Church Hoppers" give themselves only seven days to spark a turn-around.
---The gang flashes back on "How I Met Your Mother" (8 p.m., CBS, TV-14). Pardon me, but isn't the whole show a flashback?
---The top 12 perform on "The Voice" (8 p.m., NBC, TV-PG).
---The body of a model-turned-professional sperm donor is found enmeshed in a beaver dam on "Bones" (8 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
---The Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Miami Dolphins on "Monday Night Football" (8:25 p.m., ESPN).
---Abbie and Ichabod keep up the good fight on "Sleepy Hollow" (9 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
---"American Experience" (9 p.m., PBS, TV-PG) will present "JFK," a four-hour profile of the 35th president, concluding Tuesday.
---Ellen confronts Duncan's wife on "Hostages" (10 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
---Liz uncovers a plot on the
nation's economy on "The Black-
list" (10 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
---Couples counseling can be murder on "Castle" (10 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
Friends and colleagues heap praise on heavy metal pioneer Lemmy Kilmister in the 2010 documentary "Lemmy" (8 p.m., VH1 Classic).
---Zoe's roots are showing on "Hart of Dixie" (8 p.m., CW, TV-PG).
---Impromptu dinner plans on "2 Broke Girls" (8:30 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
---Molly's novel needs research on "Mike & Molly" (9 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
---Vincent's mission goes awry on "Beauty and the Beast" (9 p.m., CW, TV-PG).
---Christy's got cold feet on "Mom" (9:30 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
---Doris Kearns Goodwin is scheduled on "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" (11 p.m., Comedy Central).
---Chris Hadfield and Avril
Lavigne appear on "Conan" (11 p.m., TBS).
---Sam Morgante, John Caparulo, Sarah Tiana and Ross Mathews are booked on "Chelsea Lately" (11 p.m., E!).
---Baratunde Thurston appears on "Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell" (11 p.m., FXX).
---Peter Baker sits down on "The Colbert Report" (11:30 p.m., Comedy Central).
---Ray Odierno appears on "Late Show With David Letter man" (11:35 p.m., CBS).
---Jay Leno welcomes Rebel Wilson, Kelly Clarkson and Lyle Lovett on "The Tonight Show" (11:35 p.m., NBC).
---Zooey Deschanel, Chris Elliott and Frank Turner appear on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (11:35 p.m., ABC).
---Billy Crystal, Evan Rachel Wood, Cher Lloyd and Skee-Lo visit "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" (12:35 a.m., NBC).
---Craig Ferguson hosts LL Cool J and Carrie Keagan on "The Late Late Show" (12:35 a.m., CBS).
Kevin McDonough can be reached email@example.com.