Femto- to picosecond excited-state dynamics of the complexes [Re(L)(CO)(3)(N,N)](n) (N,N = bpy, phen, 4,7-dimethyl-phen (dmp); L = Cl, n = 0; L = imidazole, n = 1+) were investigated using fluorescence up-conversion, transient absorption in the 650-285 nm range (using broad-band UV probe pulses around 300 rim) and picosecond time-resolved IR (TRIR) spectroscopy in the region of CO stretching vibrations, Optically populated singlet charge-transfer (CT) state(s) undergo femtosecond intersystem crossing to at least two hot triplet states with a rate that is faster in Cl (similar to 100 fs)(-1) than in imidazole (similar to 150 fs)(-1) complexes but essentially independent of the N,N ligand. TRIR spectra indicate the presence of two long-lived triplet states that are populated simultaneously and equilibrate in a few picoseconds. The minor state accounts for less than 20% of the relaxed excited population. UV-vis transient spectra were assigned using open-shell time-dependent density functional theory calculations on the lowest triplet CT state. Visible excited state absorption originates mostly from mixed L;N,N center dot- -> Re-II ligand-to-metal CT transitions. Excited bpy complexes show the characteristic sharp near-UV band (Cl, 373 nm; imH, 365 nm) due to two predominantly pi pi*(bpy(center dot-)) transitions, For phen and dmp, the UV excited-state absorption occurs at similar to 305 run, originating from a series of mixed pi pi* and Re -> L;N,N center dot- MLCT transitions. UV-vis transient absorption features exhibit small intensity-and band-shape changes occurring with several lifetimes in the 1-5 ps range, while TRIR bands show small intensity changes (<= 5 ps) and shifts (similar to 1 and 6-10 ps) to higher wavenumbers. These spectral changes are attributable to convoluted electronic and vibrational relaxation steps and equilibration between the two lowest triplets. Still slower changes (>= 15 ps), manifested mostly by the excited-state UV band, probably involve local-solvent restructuring. Implications of the observed excited-state behavior for the development and use of Re-based sensitizers and probes are discussed.