ABC’S “Forever” Not Your Everyday Cop Show
ABC’s “Forever” is one of the fall TV season’s new shows, and it’s one of the shows to keep an eye on.
Starring Welsh actor Ioan Gruffudd of “Fantastic Four” fame as Dr. Henry Morgan and Alana De La Garza as Detective Jo Martinez, the show combines elements of medical and crime dramas with a bit of fantasy.
The plot revolves around Morgan, a 200-year-old medical examiner in New York City who, every time he dies, reappears naked in the nearest body of water for no inexplicable reason. After surviving a tragic subway crash, he’s contacted by a mysterious figure claiming to know of his immortality and hinting that he shares Morgan’s strange affliction. While Henry’s trying to puzzle this out, he’s also examining the dead in criminal cases, working with Detective Jo Martinez to solve crimes. Thanks to Morgan’s long life which has gifted him with extensive knowledge and excellent observational skills, he’s able to see things others overlook.
Morgan’s deductive reasoning skills reminds me a lot of Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Sherlock Holmes on the BBC’s “Sherlock.” Though, admittedly, the good doctor is a lot more personable than the great detective and feels emotions very deeply – a stark contrast to the rather cold and distant Holmes.
It took a bit to warm up to the pilot, and certain elements of the show – mostly the whole crime-solving element – are somewhat predictable. But Gruffudd’s portrayal of Morgan is very endearing, and it didn’t take me long to become intrigued by his character and his plight.
The use of flashbacks to show Morgan’s life as doctor on a slave ship, refusing to allow a man to be thrown overboard, and his time as a doctor during World War II where he meets his beloved Abigail are one of the show’s best elements. I confess, I wasn’t sure if I was going to continue watching the show, but in the final moments of the pilot episode, World War II flashback about a baby boy rescued from a Nazi concentration camp had a connection to Morgan’s life that officially hooked me.
The crime-solving aspect of the show allows Morgan to have some great, quirky moments as he figures out the motives and methods of criminals, but they aren’t the reason to keep coming back. It’s the mystery of Morgan’s past and immortality that really intrigue me, as well as the identity of the mysterious phone caller who has become the show’s primary antagonist.
Martinez is a character that I have no strong opinions about just yet, but it’s obvious her budding friendship with Morgan is going to be a key point of the show, especially as he tries to keep his immortality hidden from her. I just hope that the show doesn’t try to force them together romantically, because I’m a bit sick of the clichéd partner cops becoming romantically involved. I want to see a strong, realistic male-female friendship that isn’t forced into something romantic.
Two other characters are Morgan’s coworker, Lucas Wan (Joel David Moore, “Bones”) and friend Abe (Judd Hirsch “Numb3rs”). Both of them provide great comedic relief, and Abe serves as Morgan’s confidant, as he’s the only (for lack of a better term) good guy to know of his immortality.
Overall, “Forever” is a refreshing take on the cop show, which is overwhelming television due to numerous spin-offs of programs like “NCIS” and” CSI. “ While it has some predictable and cliché elements, it’s still an enjoyable way to spend an hour and I, for one, will be tuning in next week.
“Forever” airs on ABC Tuesdays at 10 p.m. EST.