Henry Morgan is a medical examiner in New York who happens to be immortal. He doesn’t really know why, but when he dies, he comes back in the nearest largish body of water without any clothes. Thanks to having a few hundred years to learn stuff, he’s a font of knowledge and uses that to help the police solve crimes.
I wasn’t blown away by the pitch for this, not because it’s a bad idea, but just because it felt like it had been done before. Watching the episode I couldn’t help but pick up on bits and pieces and connect them back to other show.
At its heart this is a “cop partnered with other” show, of which I can think of a dozen or so examples (Castle, Bones, The Mentalist etc), and at least two that are a cop partnered with a medical examiner (Body of Proof, Rizzoli and Isles). The sort-of-out-of-time Englishman is all a bit Sleepy Hollow, the incredible observation skills has been done to death (Sherlock, Elementary, The Mentalist (again), Psych ) and didn’t Judd Hirsch play the same character on Numb3rs?
But a show like this ultimately lives and dies with its leading man and Ioan Gruffodd is an excellent piece of casting. He’s instantly charismatic and with the added bonus of his voiceover he completely fills the show. It doesn’t matter if I’ve seen all the ideas before, because I want to see HIM do them. Sadly that does mean he rather overwhelms his female partner who feels very bland. Mind you I thought the same about Stana Katic opposite Nathan Fillion in Castle at first, and she quickly turned it around.
There are some nice moments in the pilot which gave me some optimism that the show might rise above its standard components. The relationship between Gruffodd and (the always wonderful) Hirsch is both lovely and fascinating (particularly given a very nice, understated reveal late in the episode that has massive potential for elegant storytelling and character moments). If they can maintain that level of detail and subtlety and not get completely bogged down in either mundane cases of the week, or a convoluted arc with a mysterious super-villain, then I think this show might well be a keeper.