‘Forever’ Season One Episode One Recap and Review

Forever Season 1 Episode 1 Review
The cast of ‘Forever’ (Photo © 2014 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved. )

ABC’s Forever features a main character who’s immortal…but not to worry, this isn’t another vampire series. Instead, Dr. Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd) hasn’t the slightest idea why he hasn’t been able to die in 200 years. He’s been killed numerous times yet he always wakes up naked in a body of water, which of course leads to run ins with the cops.

Henry carefully chose his job as a New York Medical Examiner because it allowed him to look for clues to unlock the secrets of his immortality. As he investigates deaths, Henry holds out hope that whatever it is that’s causing him to outlive everyone he loves and cares about will be revealed. According to the voice-over narrative, eternity is not a blessing but a curse. We also learn shortly into the first episode that there’s only one person on earth who’s privy to his secret: his best friend, Abe (Judd Hirsch). If his secret ever gets out, Henry believes he’ll be tortured and repeatedly killed by whoever discovers his immortality in a quest to find out how to obtain eternal life. 172 years ago his organs were drained and he was hung, and because he can feel the pain of his deaths, Dr. Morgan never wants to go through that experience again.

The pilot also introduces Detective Jo Martinez (Alana De La Garza), a recent widow who’s not adjusting well to life without her husband. To distract herself and make the pain of her loss go away, she drinks and engages in one-night stands.


Martinez is charged with investigating the deaths of 15 people who were killed when a subway car crashed, a subway car that Henry just happened to be on at the time. Before discovering that interesting tidbit, Martinez visits with Henry at the Medical Examiner’s office where he reveals that he believes the conductor was poisoned prior to the crash. Martinez then finds footage of Henry boarding the subway prior to the accident but instead of really questioning him about it, the two team up to find whoever killed the conductor.

Martinez’ personal life may be in shambles, but she’s a capable detective and while she’s not as intuitive as Henry, they work together well as a team. Once Henry determines the poison he’s looking for, the newly formed investigative team tracks down the man responsible who has bigger plans than simply crashing a subway train and killing a dozen people.

The Bottom Line:

A very brief backstory at the start of the premiere episode didn’t really explain anything other than why he always comes to in the water. What’s left hanging is what physically happens to his dead body immediately following his death. Do witnesses see the body and then, poof, it’s gone? And if so, why isn’t that a major news story? Does his body always disappear before emergency crews show up? Also, why hasn’t any witness or random passersby captured his death on a cell phone, and why isn’t he on surveillance footage all over the city? He dies three times during this first episode alone, and at least one of them happened in public in a location that should have had cameras. And what about his clothes? He wakes up naked but do his clothes disappear with his body every time? Maybe these questions will all be answered in the upcoming episodes. Or, maybe not. The rules of Henry’s immortality aren’t actually explained in depth and it could be that series creator Matt Miller just wants us to play along and not ask questions.

As with so many cop shows, Forever doesn’t waste time away from the two leads so it’s possible to come away from the episode believing there are only two people working on solving murders in the city. Still, overall Forever has an interesting premise and Gruffudd and De La Garza’s chemistry carried the show over its rough spots. But with the many police procedurals out there Forever needs to concentrate on Dr. Henry Morgan’s backstory in order to stand out from the pack and not get caught up concentrating on solving a case each week.

GRADE: B-

– Also of interest: Interview with Ioan Gruffudd, Alana De La Garza and Judd Hirsch

-By Rebecca Murray

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