Thursday, September 25, 2014

Forever - Pilot / Look Before You Leap

Picture Rizzoli & Isles mashed-up with Highlander (without the head-chopping). Ioan Gruffudd stars as immortal doctor Henry Morgan currently working as medical examiner for the New York City Police Department. Every time the doctor dies his body magically disappears from the scene only to reawake in the middle of the Hudson River. Using his extensive medical knowledge about death, while hiding the truth about his condition from everyone in the world except an old man (Judd Hirsch) he raised from infancy, Dr. Morgan uses his experience to help solve crimes.

The odd premise works better than expected, allowing Gruffudd to play a Holmesian hero whose vast knowledge and experience dwarfs those around him. In the "Pilot" Morgan's latest death is tied to a subway murder which he helps the suspicious Detective Jo Martinez (Alana De La Garza) solve. The second episode, "Look Before You Leap" centers on Morgan proving an expertly-staged suicide is actually murder after quickly proving a suspected murder was nothing more than an accidental death. During both cases Morgan becomes aware of someone uncovering his secret, and in the second episode we learn the mystery man claims to suffer from the same condition as our protagonist, although he's lived far longer than Morgan's 200 years.

Gruffudd's performance sells the show more than the mystery of the week (although the crimes from the first two episodes proved entertaining) or the mystery of the other, likely far less noble, immortal hiding in the shadows. The show's supporting cast includes Bones alum Joel David Moore playing, you guessed it, an assistant in the medical examiner's office, Lorraine Toussaint as the prototypical hard-ass police lieutenant, and Mackenzie Mauzy who only appears in flashbacks as the great love of Morgan's life which ended some time ago. Based on the first two episodes I'm unsure how long I'll stay with Forever, but Gruffudd is enough to bring me back for another week or two to see what kind of mystery of the week storylines the show comes up and I'm curious to see if the show can go even half an episode without killing the main character.

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