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WITH so many police procedurals on TV today it’s hard to pick out a memorable series from the glut. One that puts a twist on the tired tropes is Unforgettable, which airs on Mondays at 9pm on Lifetime (Astro channel 709).
The crime drama, based on J. Robert Lennon’s short story The Rememberer, stars Poppy Montgomery as Carrie Wells, a former Syracuse, New York police detective.
She has a rare medical condition called hyperthymesia — it gives her the astounding ability to remember everything.
Unfortunately, there’s an ironic catch. The only thing she can’t seem to recall at all are the details of what happened on the day her sister was murdered when they were just kids.
The series starts off with her volunteering at a nursing home in Manhattan. But she is reluctantly drawn back to police work when her ex-boyfriend Lt. Al Burns (Dylan Walsh) enlists her help to solve a homicide case.
Going against her gut feeling, she eventually decides to join the New York City police department’s homicide unit permanently and partner up with Burns as a means to try to remember, and finally solve her beloved sister’s murder. In the meantime, she also helps other people remember things such as the episode where she managed to get a little boy, who witnessed his parents’ murder, to recall their killer.
Not everyone is convinced of her seemingly super abilities though, which include her co-workers Det. Roe Sanders (Kevin Rankin) and Det. Nina Inara (Daya Vaidya).
But she finds solace in her friendship with the smart yet irritable Dr. Joanne Webster (Jane Curtin), who has a deep interest in cold cases and lends a genuine helping hand.
Wells’ keen memory makes her a formidable crime solver and Australian actress Montgomery plays her with grace, strength and a side of vulnerability, which makes her easy to root for.
Fans of The Mentalist’s character Patrick Jane will most likely enjoy this series as well. The two lead characters share a few similarities and the added struggle with a family trauma — Jane’s wife and child were murdered by elusive serial killer Red John.
It’s also interesting that the show starts off with the lead characters already sharing a romantic history together, rather than the usual odd couple build up to an inevitable starry-eyed crescendo. The softer side of the relationship between Wells and Burns is a tricky one though. After all, how do you deal with a partner who can’t forget anything?
It’ll be interesting to see how things progress between the two and what really happened in the past that broke them up in the first place.
Part of Wells’ personality in Unforgettable takes inspiration from the long line of fascinating detectives with hyper powers of deduction such as Sherlock Holmes, which makes for a good watch.
Although US network CBS cancelled Unforgettable after its first season, the show was later renewed for a second one — hopefully this will give the series a chance to develop its potential even further and become more memorable.