A very rebooted “Unforgettable” returns for its summer run on Sunday, July 28, so much so, that it should almost be called “Unforgettable 2.0.” The show stars Poppy Montgomery as Carrie Wells, a woman with highly superautobiographical memory, which allows her to recall the events of every day of her life, and Dylan Walsh, as Detective Al Burns, who in Season 1 was her boss — but also her former lover and partner from their days on the Syracuse, NY police force.
“Unforgettable” was originally canceled after its first season, but then CBS changed its mind and picked it up to add to its original scripted content for Summer 2013. In revamping the show, the decision was made to relocate it from Queens to Manhattan; the cases are no long just murders, but all major crimes; and several new cast members have joined the show as others have departed.
“We really had a chance when something is gone to look back and go, ‘Oh gosh, here’s what we could have done better,’” executive producer Ed Redlich exclusively told xfinityTV. “It was clear to us that we wanted to do bigger stories. We felt like Carrie’s memory lent itself to a larger kind of story, and going to Major Crimes in New York in this high-tech squad that we envisioned allows us to do that.”
Here is the scoop from Redlich on what you need to know for Season 2 of “Unforgettable”:
No. 1: The feel of the show will be lighter to go along with its summer timeslot, but Carrie will continue to search for her sister’s killer.
“We wanted to keep the stories bright and big,” Redlich says. “If you saw the last episode of the first season, Carrie is haunted that whole first season by this man that she remembers in the woods, who she believed killed her sister. We put an end to that element of the story with her realization that this man is not who she’s believed him to be. The hunt for her sister’s killer is going to continue, but it’s back-burnered a little bit in this summer season.
“It allows the character to be more focused on what she’s doing as a cop. It also lets us have more fun with the show. We’re scaling back the procedural and letting them have fun with each other a little bit more. It’s fun to write and Poppy does do that so well.”
No. 2: Carrie and Al have been moved from the Homicide Squad in Queens to the Major Crimes Squad in Manhattan.
Someone high up in New York City’s government decides that so many federal agencies, including Homeland Security and the FBI, had started task forces to protect the city following 9/11. He decides that the NYPD should follow suit to regain its place as the protector of NYC.
“In the final episode of the first season, Carrie and Al went back to Syracuse and the rest of the team was back in New York, and we just loved the two of them together,” Redlich says. “The heart and soul of this show is the romantic tension between them and having the two of them out in the field together. Having Al play her boss was locking us into some dramatic conventions we didn’t love. He was sending her out, saying, ‘Don’t get into trouble,’ and then she would come back and he’d would have to say, ‘You were right.’ We didn’t like having to write those scenes. We said, ‘Hey, let’s have a boss that the two of them can unite against and have fun with.’”
No. 3: Carrie and Al have a new boss and are partners again. Dallas Roberts, who is best known for “The Walking Dead” and “The Good Wife,” will be playing Eliot, who is a bit of a wheeler-dealer character. He’s grown up around city hall and he’s gone to enough people and put together this specific squad to handle the biggest crimes in the city, so his own reputation sort of rises and falls on the success of this Major Crimes Squad that he is now in charge of.
“He claims that he has their backs, and he claims that he wants the best, the brightest and the coolest people working for him, but there’s the question of whether this new boss really has their backs as much as he promises,” Redlich says. “It is one of the unanswered questions of our new show.”
No. 4: New cast members include James Hiroyuki Liao, who plays Jay, a detective who specializes in technical subjects, and Tawny Cypress as Murray, a former FBI agent.
“John and I grew up in New York and love this city,” Redlich says of how they crafted the role of Jay. “We just wanted a character who is intelligent and into all these different things about this city. It’s incredible to have an actor, who has just such a natural spin on stuff, that can come in with energy to every single scene, and it becomes infectious, it brings everybody up. The whole cast loves to act with him. He has this incredible Brooklyn accent, so he’s a really surprising character. James is a Julliard-trained actor, but he has retained his Bensonhurst accent, so it’s just fantastic to just write him as intelligently as we can, then just hear him deliver his lines.”
As for Murray, Redlich says, “Murray’s a little bit by-the-book. We thought it would be nice given that Carrie is so not by-the-book. We wanted to have someone who was a little more classically trained in law enforcement. You’re always looking for ways to rub people off against each other and Tawny’s great.”
No. 5: Who is returning and who isn’t: Jane Curtin will be back as ME Joanne Webster, but Michael Gaston (Mike Costello), Daya Vaidya (Nina Inara), and Kevin Rankin (Roe Saunders) will not.
Initially, Joanne will be left behind in Queens, but when it becomes clear that Carrie and Al are going to be permanent members of the Major Crimes Squad, they tell Eliot that they won’t take the job without Joanne as part of the team.
“The Dallas Roberts’ character and Jane Curtin’s character have a history, so he’s like, ‘No way. There’s no way I want to see her again,’ because they crossed swords when he was at city hall and she was an ME in Manhattan,” Redlich says. “They basically say, ‘Sorry, we need her,’ and that’s how the pilot ends.”
No. 6: The Cases: The first case in the Season 2 premiere is a kidnapping, with Andrew McCarthy guest starring as the father of the victim — but he’s also a suspect.
One of the things that will be different this year is that Carrie goes undercover. After all, as Redlich points out, she doesn’t need to wear a wire, she is the wire!
“We also do a kind of an homage to ‘Ocean’s 11,’ where there’s a heist crew that’s been taking down things all over the country. They come to New York to pull a heist, and Carrie ends up going undercover with that crew. There’s the tension that she’s going to be uncovered as they get closer and closer to knocking over the bank. That’s the kind of story we could not have done the first season, and it’s just so much fun to do.
“We also just did a ‘Day of the Jackal’-type episode. Carrie takes on this international assassin in New York. She gets into a fight at the end of the episode that’s one of the greatest TV fights that I’ve ever seen. It’s fantastic. Except for one or two shots, she does all her stunts herself and she had a baby [recently], so that’s amazing.”
“Unforgettable” premieres its second season on Sunday, July 28, 2013 at 9/8c on CBS.