There’s been an increase in cop shows with female leads over the last few years and many of them have been pretty good: The Closer, Major Crimes, King, In Plain Sight, Saving Grace, Cold Case and Rizzoli and Isles come to mind. Poppy Montgomery in Unforgettable is another one to add to the list.

The wiki summary says:

Carrie Wells has hyperthymesia, a rare medical condition that gives her the ability to visually remember everything. She reluctantly joins the New York City Police Department’s Queens homicide unit after her former boyfriend and partner, Lt. Al Burns, asks for help with solving a case. The move allows her to try to find out the one thing she has been unable to remember, which is what happened the day her sister was murdered.

The use of Carrie’s (Poppy’s) hyperthymesia is an interesting hook, and there’s some strong romantic tension between her and her old boyfriend-now-boss, Al Burns. The stories are a little pedestrian but Carrie’s obsession with her sister’s murderer adds a darker and slightly disturbed layer to what otherwise, could be a pretty ordinary cop show. There’s something about Poppy’s Character, Carrie Wells, that resonates for me with Bo played by Anna Silk in Lost Girl. Both are confident, brave, sexy women who value their friends.

I haven’t seen Jane Curtin, who plays Dr Joanne Webster the gnarly Medical Examiner, since her days in 3rd Rock from the Sun, and her acting brings some extra piquancy to her role.

Having cancelled it after season 1, CBS commissioned a second series in which they ditched all of the cast except Carrie, Al and Dr Webster, and relocated the three uptown into much more opulent circumstances at NYPD headquarters. I haven’t had a chance to watch it yet, but I’ll be interested to see if shifting the show’s location from Queens robs it of its little bit of individuality.

I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before, but I love Canadian TV series. King is now sitting on my video shelves with Booker, The Border, Wiseguy and (my all time favourite) Intelligence.

Unfortunately, this cop show only lasted two series but it’s still well worth watching. Wiki says: Amy Price-Francis [is] Jessica King, a veteran police officer who gets promoted to head of the Major Crimes Task Force in Toronto after her predecessor has a breakdown on television.

Jessica is over-achieving, blunt, smart-mouthed workaholic who takes no prisoners at work. Her husband (played by Gabriel Hogan) is a Guns and Gangs detective with a gambling problem and chip on his shoulder. The marriage is tumultuous and passionate. And then there’s her colleague, Detective Spears (Alan van Sprang), demoted, lonely and kind falling in love with her. It’s messy!

Though the storylines aren’t anywhere near as compelling as Intelligence, Jessica’s relationships with those around her and enough to hook the viewer in. When her and her husband decide to try and fit children into the equation, some very real issues are brought to the table.

Probably the most interesting aspect of the show for me, was seeing Jessica’s personality played out against colleagues, family, felons and strangers. Though abraisive and arrogant she’s also loyal to a fault; the kind of person you learn to love despite her sharp edges. Oh, and the high heels – they rarely matched her outfits. But Jessica King didn’t care.

Unfortunately, like many of the best characters in TV fiction, her network abandoned her. Shame on them!

Person of Interest was rating so high in popularity on my TV and Movie app, I grabbed a copy of season one. To be perfectly honest, I laboured through the first three episodes. There were not enough female actors and I had trouble connecting with the characters of John Reese (Jim Caviezel) and Harold Finch (Michael Emerson). Finch seemed to be a stereotypically nerdy genius and Reese was … well he was Reese (if you watch the show you’ll know what I mean). The premise – a super computer/artificial intelligence that can predict crimes against ordinary people (read: they are about to die), was also not an idea that intrigued me. I perservered because I had nothing else to watch at the time, and as the through-story began to grow, so did my interest.

The introduction of Root (Amy Aker) in S1 and then Samantha Shaw (Sarah Shahi) in S2 added new layers and tensions, and I began to feel the familiar tug of engagement as the series evolved into more of a complex thriller, than a predictable episodic.

Both the Reese and Finch characters gain nuance and depth as their back stories are revealed. Their relationship builds from what begins as something based on mutual but mistrustful need, into a rather sweet friendship. A quaint bromance between a one man wrecking ball with no respect for the law, and a morally questionable genius.

As for the secondary characters. Well, I fell instantly in love with Agent Shaw (what’s not to love about a kick ass operative with a self-proclaimed personality disorder?), and Sarah Shahi does a wonderful job of being obsessive and indefatigable. Detective Fusco (Kevin Chapman) is perfectly cast as the corrupt but ulitmately good-hearted cop who’s got himself in too deep, and Amy Aker’s portrayal of brilliant hacker Root is pretty convincing. I still feel a little ambivalent about Taraji P. Henson as Detective Carter. Some episodes I’m totally on board with her, and other times, I feel irritated with the dialogue she’s been given. It’s like the writers want her to be smart but don’t always give her smart things to say (and then stuff happens with her in S3 – but I haven’t seen that yet, so no spoilers please!). By S2 episode episode 10, I experienced one of those rare goosebump WOW! moments as Gimme Shelter plays in the background as Reese is arrested by the FBI (see below).

Corrupt police, shady CIA, interfering FBI, shadow government organisations and powerful criminals all play their part in the POI tapestry. As the series grows, the ideas are fleshed out and the plot begins to show signs of some clever basket weaving, all the while tickling our palates with a taste of a possible future.

Fans of the series call themselves Irrelevants, which is a reference to the ordinary people who are about to become victims. And they can surely count me as one of them.

 

S2 ep 10. One of my favourite scenes in a TV series, which probably needs full context to be appreciated.

Awards

davitt-award  aurealis-award   logo-curtin-university

Peacemaker - Aurealis Award
Best Science Fiction Novel 2014

Curtin University Distinguished Alumni Award 2014

Transformation Space - Aurealis Award
 Best Science Fiction Novel 2010

Sharp Shooter - Davitt Award
Best Crime Novel 2009 (Sisters in Crime Australia) 

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