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Forever gives ABC an immortal doc of "Sherlockian" stock


Forever’s triumvirate: Judd Hirsch, Ioan Gruffudd, Alana De La Garza. ABC photo

Premiering: Monday, Sept. 22nd at 9 p.m. (central) on ABC before moving to regular Tuesday, 9 p.m. (central) time slot on the following night
Starring: Ioan Gruffudd, Alana De La Garza, Judd Hirsch, Lorraine Toussaint, Donnie Keshawarz, Joel David
Produced by: Matt Miller, Dan Lin, Jennifer Gwartz

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His “Sherlockian” deductions are elementary to him but may range from semi-plausible to completely preposterous in the eyes of your average viewer.

Dr. Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd) has been at this a long time, though, as he takes pains to relate during a lengthy narrative near the start of ABC’s Forever. Two hundred years ago he was shot and thrown overboard after trying to save a slave from a similar fate. But lo and behold -- or something like that -- Henry lived to breathe again.

“I always return in water. And I’m always naked,” he explains.

Henry dies three more times in just the opening hour of Forever. He first perishes during a subway crash after meeting a comely blonde and immediately deducing where she’s from, what she’ll be doing that night, etc.

“You see a lot,” she says.

“Well, I’ve seen a lot,” he confides. They arrange to have a drink before, crash-boom, everyone on the subway car is down for the count. Henry then bursts through another of his watery would-be graves and is arrested for indecent exposure. But he’s soon out and about again, with his trusty old friend, Abe (Judd Hirsch), picking him up in a New York minute.

Abe deals in both antiques and sermonettes. He has a long history with Henry that dates back to World War II. It allows him to lay it on a little thick after Henry again is bedeviled by Forever’s mysterious Moriarty, who calls him by phone and says he knows all of his secrets.

Henry, who’s been working in a morgue (“where the action is”), is intent on running away again. Not so fast, says wizened Abe: “I’ve got news for you. You might not be able to die. But you haven’t lived for a very long time.”

Well, dash it all then. Let’s stand and fight, solve crimes and banter with suspicious detective Jo Martinez (Alana De La Garza), who increasingly appreciates Henry’s ability to instantly figure out who did what to whom and why.

This is one of those series where a flake of dandruff on a suit collar can lead to something like this: “Aha, so you obviously didn’t use your Head and Shoulders shampoo last night. But why? Is it because you didn’t have time after cleaning all that blood out of the shower where you killed your wife’s lover with the same straight razor that you then cleverly planted in the bathroom medicine cabinet of a man to whom you owned a fortune in gambling debts?”

OK, I made that up. But really, some of these deductions are really a stretch.

Forever also flashes back on occasion to the only true love of Henry’s life, a woman named Abigail. As we see in Tuesday’s Episode 2, he tried to break it off with her because he knew it could never work. But his heart melted anew after she told him, “Who cares about how it ends? Life is about the journey.”

Too much of Forever is either overwrought or half-baked. But Gruffudd is mighty handsome as Henry. Jaunty, too. So the series is well-equipped from that standpoint.

The series also has added Lorraine Touissant -- fresh from Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black -- as a cop shop boss lady named Joanne Reece. She first shows up in Episode 2, starting with the throwaway line, ”I may be new to the squad, but . . .”

Viewers otherwise may have been over-exposed to the immortal/flashback basics of Forever. Except that Henry doesn’t seem to be a vampire or any sort of otherworldly creature. He’s just a guy who lives and lets die without yet knowing why. For now, rinse him in the Hudson River and repeat.


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