CBS relocated “The Good Wife” to make way for “Unforgettable,” and on paper (or at least, a crime blotter), it’s a solid bet. While the net’s most-admired drama had clearly topped out ratings-wise Tuesdays, this “The Mentalist”-like procedural has greater potential to extend the vibe established by the “NCIS” block into the 10 p.m. hour. Star Poppy Montgomery is a trifle uneven in the lead, but there’s enough intrigue surrounding the real-if-rare condition/ability she possesses — namely, remembering everything — to provide the show an opportunity to take root. Barring that, how does “NCIS: Unforgettable” sound?
An ex-cop (aren’t they all?), Montgomery’s Carrie Wells has taken refuge in Queens, where she pays the bills by employing her unusual talent to count cards while gambling, and does penance by working with Alzheimer’s patients.
Soon, though, she’s recruited by her ex-partner and former lover Al (Dylan Walsh) to assist him in investigating the death of a girl almost literally at her doorstep.
In keeping with the need for visual gimmickry in these settings, Carrie “sees” into her own memory, enabling her to reconnect dots in precise detail. But of course, there’s one blank spot: She can’t remember anything about her sister’s murder during her childhood, providing a thread that can be teased out and returned to over future episodes.
As usual, it’s all a roundabout way to create a cop dynamic with the mildest of twists — what plays like a polished procedural, with a bit more character — as well as built-in romantic tension between the leads. Besides, cops who lack some kind of extra edge or high-tech wrinkle are so, if memory serves, 1999.
On the down side, the initial case in the pilot written by Ed Redlich and John Bellucci isn’t particularly inspired, and doesn’t provide Walsh much to do. That leaves Montgomery to fend for herself, and while she was fine in supporting duty on “Without a Trace” and does swell things to a little black dress, it’s unclear whether the star has the kind of presence necessary to hold centerstage in the way, say, Dana Delany does on ABC’s “Body of Proof,” which happens to be her not-dissimilar time-period rival.
Still, “Unforgettable” certainly lands squarely within CBS’ comfort zone, and does offer the network upside. If only the show itself was, well, a bit more memorable.