Unforgettable stars Poppy Montgomery as Carrie Wells, an enigmatic former police detective with a rare condition that makes her memory so flawless that every place, every conversation, every moment of joy and every heartbreak is forever embedded in her mind. It’s not just that she doesn’t forget anything – she can’t forget anything, except for one thing: details from the day her sister was murdered years ago. Since then, Carrie has tried to put her past behind her, but she’s unexpectedly reunited with her ex-boyfriend and partner, NYPD Detective Al Burns (Dylan Walsh), when she consults on a homicide case. Being back on the job after a break feels surprisingly right for Carrie. Despite her conflicted feelings for Al, she decides to permanently join his unit as a detective solving homicides – most notably, the unsolved murder of her sister. All she needs to do is remember.
Being able to remember every detail of everything sounds like a great plot for a fictional show, right? I agree, except this gift is absolutely non-fiction – in real life, Marilu Henner, a world renowned actress, producer and author has this amazingly rare ability called “superior autobiographical memory” – only 20 people are reported to have this ability. Marilu has been consulting on Unforgettable since it’s start to ensure that the ability is portrayed accurately.
Last month, I had the opportunity to visit the set of Unforgettable and talk to both Poppy and Marilu during the shooting of an episode on which Marilu steps out of her consulting role and makes a guest appearance as the aunt of Poppy’s character, Carrie. As we gathered around both actresses in their trailer, it was like hanging out with old girlfriends – they talked about the highs and lows of parenting and how difficult it is to be a working mom wearing so many different hats and juggling both a career and a family.
Now, maybe you’re reading this and thinking to yourself that there’s no way that anyone can remember every detail of every minute of their life with any accuracy. No worries, you can doubt it as much as you want, but I’m going to tell you a little story. When our group of bloggers met before our set visit, one of the bloggers, Viv from Soapbox Dirty, asked the organizer if she might be able to have some time to chat with Marilu because when she was a kid, they had exchanged a bunch of letters and it turned out that the conversations that they had really helped Viv get through some difficulties in her childhood. Viv’s heart has truly carried around all of the advice she received from Marilu and and wanted to thank her face-to-face. As we were wrapping up our chat with the actresses, Viv grabbed her moment and said to Marilu “When I was a kid 25 years ago, we wrote some letters back and forth and you gave me some great advice and helped me out a lot,” and without skipping a beat, Marilu replied, “Oh. My. God – are you Vivian??” The following video shows the aftermath of this realization – and Marilu remembered every single detail of their letters, including when they were written and what she was doing when she received them. It was truly amazing to see this ability at work in front of my own eyes!
The episode of Unforgettable that we attended the filming for is airing tonight at 10pm on CBS. Here’s a clip – and we highly recommend that you check out the show.