First aired: 2nd October 2014
Ioan Gruffudd – Dr. Henry Morgan
Alana De La Garza – Det. Jo Martinez
Joel David Moore – Dr. Lucas Wahl
Judd Hirsch – Abe
Lee Tergerson – Hans Koelher
Donnie Keshwaraz – Det. Mike Hanson
MacKenzie Mauzy – Abigail
Synopsis: New York City – A voice over introduces Henry Morgan. He is a long story, but he has plenty of time. He gets into a subway and sits next to a young blonde woman, he is able to determine many things about her by sight alone, including her country of origin, he job and her plans for the evening. This prompts her interest and they share a lovely moment, right up until the subway train crashes and kills everyone on board, including Henry.
Over 200 years earlier, Dr. Henry Morgan prevents a slave from being killed, paying for this good dead with his life, he is shot and dropped overboard. In the present he awakens in water, just like he does every time he dies and since that first death, he hasn’t aged a day. He is collected by he oldest friend Abe, who collects him from jail after a night in the cells over his public indecency, since when he awakens in water, he is always naked.
Det. Jo Martinez is doing the ‘walk of shame’ after a one-night stand and is called to investigate the train crash that killed Henry and all of those others. She is sent by her Lt. to the ME’s office to determine what killed the driver, causing the crash.
Henry works as the Medical Examiner for NY so he can continue his ongoing study into death. He is performing an autopsy as Jo arrives, determining that the driver was poisoned as well as working out that Jo is a widow as she starts asking about the deaths. As she is there, Henry gets a call, someone talks to him very much aware of his nature. He wants to run, but later on Abe convinces him to stay. Soon after that Jo Martinez learns that Henry was on the train.
Henry returns to work, his assistant Lucas hands him and envelope, delivered by hand. Henry sees a photo of himself from 1955, looking exactly the same age. It is a photo of him and Abigail, who knew all about his long life. Henry takes some of the driver’s bloo and seeks to poison himself with it, trying to get a sense of how long the poison takes to kill and when it was administered. Whilst complaining, Abe assists him. The poison works fast and Henry’s life flashes before his eyes there is light and he comes to in the water, cold and naked as always. Taken back home by Abe, he is confronted by Det. Martinez and her partner Mike Hanson and taken in for questioning, since evidence places him on the train at the time of the crash. Since he had already put himself forward as a suspect earlier, nothing they can keep him on holds water.
Re-examining the body, Henry finds an injection point, confirming that the poison was actinate. There’s also a fingerprint, which leads Henry and Jo to a suspect, a grieving widower called Hans Koehler. Henry and Jo visit Hans’ house, but he escapes after a shoot out. They find plans after he escapes, pointing to a plan to poison everyone in Grand Central Station. Henry works out that the best place to start is the roof and he and Jo confront Hans on the roof, both Jo and Henry are shot, and as Jo tries to stand up, Henry throws himself and Hans off the roof before Jo passes out.
Jo wakes up in the hospital to find Henry with her. Henry gets a call from his mystery caller again, who confesses that they share the same curse. We then go to flashback, 1945 and the allies are liberating a concentration camp. It’s Henry’s first meeting with Abigail and they both are treating a baby, this baby has tattooed numbers on his arm, the scene transitions to the present day and we see those same numbers on Abe.
Jo visits Abe’s antiques store and asks for Henry’s help with a case.
Notes: About 10 years before this, Ioan Gruffud was cast as Reed ‘Mr Fantastic’ Richards in Marvel’s second attempt at a Fantastic Four film. The film came out in 2005 and it was “meh” at best. I thought much of the film was miscast, but then I saw the pilot for this show. With the exception of the accent, this is very much a Reed Richards character. He’s smarter than everyone around him and misses nothing, but is very disconnected from the rest of the world. The premise of his being eternal and being killed only gets him nude and in water is fascinating. Does raise questions, such as how long does he stay in one place, has he always used the same name? Also what happens to the clothes he is wearing? Does he have to replace his wallet each time? It must be very expensive.
There are obviously similar elements of Sherlock and Elementary about this show, but it has it’s own humour, much of it doled out by it’s supporting cast. The best of these is Joel David Moore as Lucas and the star of the show being the always excellent Judd Hirsch as Abe. His scenes with Gruffud add heart to what could be a silly or off-putting premise, but ends up being two old friends clearly comfortable enough with one another to give each-other their fair share of grief.
Yes, we get the cliched flashbacks and the voice over can be a bit overbearing, but at the heart this is something worth seeing. It’s his brain that solves the case rather than the supernatural elements, which are used mainly to disconnect the lead from the world and examine themes of immortality, loneliness and depression. Henry wants to die, or at least wants to grow old and die. He feels cursed but doesn’t know why or how, so he has studied it. This thread runs through a police procedural and has a mystery built into it with the mystery caller. It’s not a perfect show, but it has a compelling lead, an excellent supporting cast and and if not an original premise, certainly an interestingly laid out one. I enjoyed this and it’s one I will go back to before too long.
Does it work? Yes, a detective show with elements of Forever Knight and Highlander, but with a sense of humour both shows sometimes lacked.
Does much need fixing? Not really it’s all established quite early on.
Does it stand up? Very well on second viewing.
Do I want to watch the next one? I did actually start watching the second episode almost immediately.
Did I enjoy it? I really did.
Overall: 5 out of 5. This is good show with an interesting premise, that more people would like if they knew about it.