The brilliant detective or keenly observant medical examiner thing has been done to death but ABC has found a way to breathe new life into the detective genre with “Forever” Medical examiner Henry Morgan investigates deaths because he is trying to hasten his own. It seems he just can’t die…for long. According to the New York Times on Sept 21, Morgan’s annoying curse is that he is immortal.
Ioan Gruffudd is the ever-so-charming, brilliant and British Morgan. As the pilot opened on Monday with the main character doing the voiceover narration, we meet Henry boarding a subway. He spies a pretty blonde, stuns her with his powers of observation and secures a date with just as another subway train slams into the back of his. He is impaled by a train railing, dies and reappears naked in the middle of the Hudson.
This sets up the premise of the show. Henry has been killed numerous times in a variety of ways. He journals his experiences, which started when a ship’s captain shot him and threw him overboard because Henry stood up for a slave, in an effort to understand what has happened to him.
He is assigned to work the case of the conductor who was driving the train. Enter the pretty, no-nonsense Detective Jo Martinez (Alana De La Garza). She’s got a drinking problem stemming from the loss of her husband less than a year ago, a fact which Morgan annoyingly picks up and deciphers within moment so meeting her.
For a time, Morgan becomes a suspect thanks to losing his antique pocket watch at the wreck and being caught on surveillance cameras. Since she can’t place the poison that killed the conductor in Morgan’s possession, she decides to enlist him as an ally instead.
Judd Hirsch is wonderful in a father-figure role of Abe but with a twist. It seems Henry actually met the man as a baby when he was rescued from a prison camp. They’ve been friends for many years and Abe is the only living person who knows Morgan’s secret.
Adding long term interest is the mystery caller who seems to know Henry’s secret, too. IT appears that the caller arranged the train accident to prove that Henry couldn’t die but his motives are not yet known.
Another interesting story line involves a blonde woman who seems to keep popping up in Henry’s life but at different times and always looking to be about the same age. In one rendering, she is his 1955 wife Abigail. The look that comes over him whenever he sees her or thinks of her tells us she is his one true love.
“Forever” has promise and if done well, could go one, well, forever. A second premiere episode will air Tuesday, at 8 p.m., the shows usual time slot going forward.