THE SHOW "Unforgettable"

WHEN | WHERE Tuesday night at 10 on CBS/2

REASON TO WATCH Poppy Montgomery and Dylan Walsh

WHAT IT'S ABOUT Carrie Wells (Montgomery) is a former Syracuse cop who comes to New York, in part, to forget a tragedy -- which is impossible because she has hyperthymestic syndrome and remembers everything. One night, a woman is murdered outside her apartment. Det. Al Burns (Walsh) turns up to investigate. Small world: He's her former colleague/lover.

MY SAY One of the pleasures of "Unforgettable" is watching pros glide through a well-crafted pilot as if acting were as easy as breathing. Walsh ("Nip/ Tuck") and Montgomery ("Without a Trace") are seasoned TV actors, but how many lousy shows have had the same?

This vehicle is essentially a formula cop procedural with a twist -- the lady has the memory of an elephant -- which in lesser hands could mean another tired hack job. But Burns and Wells have sex appeal along with something else you don't often see in a CBS crime drama -- a little bit of soul.

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For some reason, Montgomery is a redhead here, maybe to make viewers forget about the blonde Samantha Spade of "Trace." Her character is essentially tragic, so a partial reinvention is in order. It works.

BOTTOM LINE "Unforgettable" was on no one's list as one of the "buzzier" fall pilots, but that doesn't mean it's not one of the better ones. It is.

GRADE A-