Tune in Tonight: ‘Perfect Wife’ and ‘Slave Play’ debut

Hulu invites fans of true-crime docuseries to jump down another rabbit hole. The three-part series “Perfect Wife: The Mysterious Disappearance of Sherri Papini” offers an indulgent meditation on a number of disturbing trends and societal ills.

Like many young marrieds, Keith and Sherri Papini passed themselves off as obsequiously happy. And Sherri had the tapes to prove it!

“Perfect” is, well, the perfect example of how a lifetime spent being videotaped by your family and spouse and then wandering through the mirror wilderness of selfie culture and social media may play havoc with your sense of reality.

Reality TV and the true-crime docudrama have become dominated by so many clever editors, sifting through the detritus of an ego-driven life. Add the news coverage that ultimately follows any true crime, and there is never a shortage of footage to assemble.

The only question remaining is why so many viewers want to binge away at these grim exercises in scab-picking.

“Perfect” follows a familiar arc. We are introduced to the happy couple, and then, in 2016, Sherri vanishes. As anybody who follows crime dramas knows, suspicion falls on her husband, Keith. And, thinking they’ve got the next Scott Peterson in their View-Masters, the media descends.

Only a few months later, Sherri returns to the couple’s rural California home, looking much worse for wear and spinning tales of “Hispanic” women who kidnapped her. Needless to say, neither Sherri nor her tale hold up well under scrutiny, even as Keith tries to make the best of things and patch up their old fairy tale.

Several shoe-drops later, we’re left wondering just who is lying and who is telling the truth. And wondering if, after a life spent gazing at yourself through a lens, any notion of “truth” is even possible.

— HBO presents “Slave Play. Not a Movie. A Play” (9 p.m., HBO, TV-MA). According to people who follow such things, “Slave Play” was quite a sensation when it hit the Broadway stage. Written by a very young Jeremy O. Harris, it blended horrific history with dark comedy, antebellum stereotypes and bracing sexuality as it touched buttons some centuries in the making. It dramatized and satirized the often-unspoken sexual scene on slave plantations in new and daring ways, making it a rather unsettling theatrical experience for many.

Just how unsettling unfolds in the presentation’s opening scene, when a woman in the audience erupts into a screaming fit, lashing out at Harris. Describing herself as a tolerant liberal white woman who has been oppressed in her own life, she angrily blames Harris for making her feel so terrible about being white. Harris, along with members of the cast and audience, seems surprised and thrilled by this extreme reaction.

But “Not a Movie” is not a presentation or a staging of the Broadway experience, but a backstage exercise where Harris meets and challenges new cast members. It’s an acting workshop where people sling academic jargon about their “relationship to the text.” Help yourself.


— The St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants play a game in Alabama (7 p.m., Fox).

— U.S. Olympics Trials (NBC) feature swimming (8 p.m.) and diving (9 p.m.).

— An unpopular co-op board president suffers a sudden accident on “Elsbeth” (9 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14).

— A family refuses to evacuate during a wildfire on “Fire Country” (10 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14).

— The discovery of a disoriented teen sparks a manhunt on “Law & Order: SVU” (10 p.m., NBC, r, TV-14).


In a world awash with unasked-for sequels and reboots, it seems a small miracle that the 1992 comedy “My Cousin Vinny” (8 p.m., AMC) has been left alone.


Physical fitness matters on “Young Sheldon” (8 p.m., CBS, r, TV-PG) … An investment from beyond on “Ghosts” (8:30 p.m., r, CBS, TV-PG) … “NBA Countdown” (8 p.m., ABC) anticipates the big game.


Jeremy Allen White and Ava DuVernay are booked on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” (11:35 p.m., CBS) … Jimmy Fallon welcomes Emma Stone, Eva Longoria and Chappell Roan on “The Tonight Show” (11:35 p.m., NBC) … Zac Efron, Jasmine Crockett and Gracie Abrams appear on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” (11:35 p.m., ABC).

Jesse Plemons, Diane von Furstenberg and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy visit “Late Night With Seth Meyers” (12:35 a.m., NBC) … Taylor Tomlinson hosts Lisa Gilroy, Reid Scott and Kimia Behpoornia on “After Midnight” (12:35 a.m., CBS).