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'Unforgettable' crime show gets second chance

"Bigtime": Al (Dylan Walsh) and Carrie (Poppy Montgomery)

"Bigtime": Al (Dylan Walsh) and Carrie (Poppy Montgomery) are brought from Queens to the Major Crimes Section of the NYPD in Manhattan to consult on a high-profile kidnapping, on the second season premiere of "Unforgettable." Credit: CBS

THE SERIES "Unforgettable"

WHEN | WHERE Sunday at 9 p.m. on CBS/2

WHAT IT'S ABOUT Carrie Wells (Poppy Montgomery) is a former Syracuse cop who came to New York, still haunted by a terrible crime, the murder of her sister when both were little girls. She has hyperthymestic syndrome -- she's able to remember everything -- except that one terrible day. She and an old colleague, and boyfriend, Det. Al Burns (Dylan Walsh), are now working cases for the NYPD in Queens, but a call comes in from the Major Crimes unit in Manhattan; her spectacular memory has helped the team notch a peerless track record, and its help is needed on a kidnapping/extortion case. Meanwhile, both are starstruck by the bright lights/big city that spreads out beyond the skyscraper office of Major Crimes; might Manhattan be more alluring than Queens?

MY SAY "Unforgettable" returns Sunday with the rarest of TV gifts: A second chance. Dumped after just one season last May, CBS then did something that networks almost never do -- admit a mistake had been made, and ordered a 13-episode second-season summer run. This is remarkable because TV has a scorched earth policy about failed series. They strike the set, pay off contracts, and brain-dump any memory of the expensive flop.

But "Unforgettable" wasn't so easily discarded -- in part because it wasn't a flop in the first place -- and just the briefest glance Sunday will explain why. As procedurals go, there's nothing particularly radical here -- crime committed, then solved by our heroes just after the last commercial break. Instead, what's special is something a bit harder to define, notably the chemistry, which Montgomery and Walsh have in abundance. The supporting cast is excellent, too: Dallas Roberts, last seen on "The Walking Dead" as an eccentric professor who studied zombie body parts in glass jars, as their new boss, Eliot; Jane Curtin, back as chief medical examiner; and Tawny Cypress ("Heroes") as their new colleague in Major Crimes. An added bonus: Northport's own John Scurti ("Rescue Me") makes an extended cameo Sunday as well.

BOTTOM LINE "Unforgettable" deserved this second chance, and if Sunday's opener is any indication, will earn a third one, too.


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