2009 Fall Preview: “the forgotten”

the forgotten

Network: ABC

Premiere date: Tuesday, September 22 at 10:00 p.m., ET

Cast: Christian Slater, Michelle Borth, Heather Stephens, Bob Stephenson, Anthony Carrigan, Rochelle Aytes

Synopsis (from ABC):

In the United States, the remains of 40,000 people have yet to be identified. When police investigations reach a dead end, civilian volunteers across the country work to name — the forgotten.

From executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer, “the forgotten” is a drama series in which a team of dedicated amateurs – The Forgotten Network-work on murder cases involving unidentified victims. After the police have given up, this group, led by Alex Donovan (Christian Slater), must first solve the puzzle of the victim’s identity in order to then help catch the killer. These are citizen volunteers solving extraordinary crimes. Their persistence and compassion for the cases put them on a personal and emotional journey that focuses on giving names back to the deceased.

The Forgotten Network gathers in coffee shops and living rooms to discuss leads, clues and tips, each bringing his or her own motivations and skills to the table, each driven by a deep sense of purpose. Donovan is a former detective who left the force after the disappearance of his own young daughter. Using his investigative skills, he can help piece together each victim’s story, retracing their footsteps and finding out why they died by learning how they lived. Working against the clock to give each victim a name before they’re buried as a John or Jane Doe, these amateur detectives are in it to bring closure… and win justice.

Also volunteering in The Forgotten Network are Candace Butler (Michelle Borth), a confident, headstrong young woman who avoids the crushing boredom of her mundane job by helping the Network identify victims; Lindsey Drake (Heather Stephens), a resilient high school science teacher who works with the Network as a form of penance for a crime committed by her husband; Walter Bailey (Bob Stephenson), a well-intentioned phone company employee and true-crime enthusiast whose zealousness can sometimes complicate investigations; Tyler Davies (Anthony Carrigan), a street-smart medical school dropout and aspiring artist who is court-ordered to join the Network to satisfy his community service; and Grace Russell (Rochelle Aytes), a resourceful homicide detective with the Chicago Police, who is Alex’s former protégé and now his main link to the department.

What We Say:

We haven’t actually got to see a screener for this series yet, so everything we can offer is based on our own feelings about this show and the press materials that have been released so far. Typically murder mystery and Without a Trace style shows don’t register very high with us, because they’ve been done before, and they’re slightly tired ideas. However, the forgotten shows some promise in a few areas. For one thing, its coming to us via Jerry Bruckheimer, who gives us just enough reason to want to take a look at this show. Second, they managed to snag Christian Slater in the lead role, fresh off his stint on the canceled My Own Worst Enemy. Seeing such a familiar face on the cast list certainly makes us want to give this show a chance, and see what it can offer. Finally, it does show some originality in the fact that The Forgotten Network is a group of amateurs who do this on the side. I hope they delve into how these people manage to pay their bills and still volunteer for such an organization. So while this series isn’t one that has us jumping out of our seats with excitement, it’s certainly worth watching and seems like it could be something that makes it. We’ll be tuning in for sure, will you?

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