Life precedes art: Last week Michael Moriarty, who plays a district attorney on NBC's "Law & Order," handed in his resignation from that series. Tonight on that series, Claire Kincaid (played by Jill Hennessy), another district attorney on "Law & Order," hands in her resignation as part of the plot.
* "The Critic" (8:30-9 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- For obvious reasons, I enjoy this new animated series a great deal. Aside from the overweight and balding parts, "The Critic" gets a lot of it right -- including my favorite little subtle touch, the fact that critic Jay Sherman (voiced by Jon Lovitz), when at home, wears a lot of freebie T-shirts. ABC.
* "Law & Order" (10-11 p.m., WMAR, Channel 2) -- This very good episode of "Law & Order" gives most of its best scenes to Ben Stone (Mr. Moriarty), who does so well with them that his unexpected resignation from the series, prompted by his reaction to the government's treatment of the TV violence issue, clearly will leave a major void in the "Order" part of "Law & $H Order." That's especially true since Mr. Moriarty, unlike many of the show's principals, has been there since the beginning. Two guest-starring roles deserve mention: former "Paper Chase" TV star Jane Kaczmarek, and former "Rhoda" co-star David Groh, playing a dark role that amounts to an instant, about-face comeback. NBC.
* "Turning Point: Cover-Up at Ground Zero" (10-11 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- This "ABC News Special," by Peter Jennings and producer Elena Mannes, is a tough indictment of the government's handling of "downwinders" and "atomic soldiers." Those are terms for civilians and military personnel unknowingly exposed to danger
ous levels of radiation during the Nevada atomic-bomb tests. Some of the stories will make you sad; others will make you angry. ABC.
* "Reflections on the Silver Screen: Gene Kelly" (8:30-9 p.m., A&E;) -- If Gene Kelly had done nothing but dance in puddles and swing around lampposts in "Singing in the Rain," he'd warrant a tribute and an in-depth interview on this A&E; show. But Mr. Kelly did so, so much more, and the proper recognition -- as in this show -- is long overdue.
* "Unplugged" (10-10:30 p.m., MTV) -- Stone Temple Pilots turn down the volume (most of it, anyway) in this "Unplugged" session, an outgrowth from the group's popular acoustic version of "Plush" that's been getting understandable attention on MTV. A reworked version of that song will be performed in this show, along with several other numbers.