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'Unforgettable': Marilu Henner and Sherlock Holmes Inform Poppy Montgomery's Character

CBS' new heroine has super memory and continues in a long line of exceptional detectives.

Poppy Montgomery
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
Poppy Montgomery at Summer 2011 TCA.

A redheaded Poppy Montgomery (Without A Trace) returns to TV on CBS’ Unforgettable. She plays a detective with the super ability to remember her history, except for one key moment in her life, her sister’s murder.

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The script was developed two years ago, but the powerful ability to remember the past as if it happened yesterday and in great detail got a lot of attention recently when actress Marilu Henner told the world she possessed that rare ability on 60 Minutes in June.

Henner now serves as a consultant on Unforgettable. “It was an incredible confluence of things all happening together,” executive producer Ed Redlich tells reporters Wednesday at the Television Critics Association (TCA) Press Tour.

Montgomery says having Henner on the show has been invaluable to her in learning how her character uses the special ability, but says she goes back and forth on whether the talent is a blessing or a curse.

“When I talk to Marilu, it’s something I’d love to have,” Montgomery says. “I think it depends on the individual. She’s so positive and it really is such a great gift and she has this amazing energy. She’s extraordinary.”

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On the other hand, the amazing memory isn’t the only thing that informs Montgomery’s character or her performance on the job. Being a crime procedural, the creators really wanted to make sure her investigation skills were also very strong.

“[Sherlock Holmes] has a hyper-normal power of deduction,” exec producer John Belluci explains. “All detectives have it, but his is at such a level and that’s what makes him fascinating. So basically with this personality, we wanted to come up with another in a long line of great detectives.”

Unforgettable premieres Tuesday, Sept. 20.

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