Review: "Unforgettable" is a decent procedural crime drama
Published: September 20, 2011 09:42AM
Updated: September 20, 2011 09:42AM
image
On the bubble: "Unforgettable" stars Poppy Montgomery in a drama about an enigmatic NYPD detective with a rare condition that makes her physically incapable of forgetting any memory. Every place, every conversation, every moment of joy and heartbreak are always with her. Carrie Wells (Montgomery) can recall every day of her life, except for the one she wishes she could: the day her sister was murdered. Courtesy of CBS

CBS' new procedural drama "Unforgettable" is based on what seems like a ridiculous premise. Detective Carrie Wells (Poppy Montgomery) can remember everything that's ever happened to her.

It's unusual, but it's not complete fiction. There are a handful of people with "superior autobiographical memory" who can do just what the character can. Including actress Marilu Henner, who's a consultant on the show.

In the premiere episode (Tuesday, 9 p.m., CBS/Ch. 2), former police detective Carrie just happens happens upon a murder. And the detective assigned to the case, Al Burns (Dylan Walsh), just happens to be her old co-worker. And former flame.

THAT part of the show is pretty much impossible to believe. You'll just have to go with it.

Carrie turns out to be a big help in the investigation because she can remember everything. And she's been in the murder victim's apartment.

Again, the memory part is actually believable. There was a report on "60 Minutes" a few months ago that featured Henner and a few others with superior autobiographical memory, and it was just amazing.

"It literally blows your mind," said executive producer Ed Redlich.
He pointed to a scene in the pilot when Carrie "turns and says, 'This date, April 28th, that was a Tuesday and this happened and this happened.'" Which resulted in a call from Henner when she got a look at the episode.

"Within seconds of Poppy saying, 'That was April 28th, and it was a Friday,' [Henner] paused the DVD, and she called me and said, 'April 28, 1998, was a Tuesday.' That's the level of this ability. I think we take some license in terms of the specificity of it, but it really is amazing.

"I think one of the things that we love about this is that people are just fascinated about how memory works. And we want to make the show about that as much as it is about catching bad guys."

The ability is amazing; "Unforgettable," not so much. There's a far-too-familiar-feeling plotline about the murder of Carrie's sister years earlier - the one thing she can't remember.

Yeah, it's pretty hokey.

But if you like procedurals - if you're a fan of the various "CSIs" and "NCISes" and so on - you may well like this one. Walsh and Montgomery are both likable TV actors ... although, even after seven years on "Without a Trace," Montgomery's Australian accent still pops through every once in a while.

This show isn't "Unforgettable," but it's decent entertainment.