Warning: Spoiler Alert
Although impressed by the premise and the pilot of the new ABC series “Forever,” it took this viewer three episodes to think it could become an outstanding show and the fourth episode solidified those feelings. After having Dr. Henry Morgan return four times from the dead in the first two episodes, the show-runners have made the choice to concentrate more on Morgan’s memories from his life over the past 200-plus years, instead of exploiting his abilities. This results in the series becoming more than a “One-Trick-Pony,” giving the show more depth and giving viewers a glimpse into what Morgan’s witnessed during his time on the planet.
The episode opens at the Carlyle Art Gallery; in the midst of a black tie gala event. A well dressed man looking to be in his late sixties, pontificates to the crowd about how importance of art to the Carlyle family, as he talks we see an elderly but elegant women walking towards the group slowly, aided by a cane. The man’s Conrad Carlyle and the woman’s his mother Gloria Carlyle, matriarch of the one of the wealthiest and most prominent families in New York. Conrad asks his mother if she agrees with him and rudely snaps back she never agrees with anything he says or does.
We follow the Grande Dame from conversation to conversation, insulting each person she talks to, calling the Mayor a Communist and berating a critic for having no knowledge or taste. We see a young couple near her and the young man reaches into his inside jacket pocket, but the young woman says Lance, not yet. She then rips apart the gallery’s curator for not having a project completed and threatens to have him judging finger-paint contests.
The next scene opens with the curator addressing the crowd from a podium, praising the Carlyle family and specifically Gloria. Meanwhile she’s walking through a darkened hallway and we see a shadowy figure following her. The next time we see her, she’s dead sprawled on the main gallery floor, bruised from head to toe and blood streaming from her lifeless form.
NYPD Homicide Detectives Jo Martinez and her partner Hanson, arrive at the gallery and someone asks them when the guests will get released, the Mayor wants to know. Martinez asked if the Mayor called and she’s informed that he’s one of the guests. Just then Lucas, Morgan’s assistant shows up to perform the initial autopsy, Martinez asks where Morgan’s at and he tells her he couldn’t make it. He thinks it might be something personal but he’s not sure, but he’s ready to try to determine the cause of Carlyle’s death. Jo asks Lucas his initial thoughts and he replies, that she’s clearly dead.
Lucas and Martinez head back to the Medical Examiner’s office with the body and she asks Henry why he wasn’t at the crime scene and he vaguely responds he stays out of that building. Because of the contusions and lacerations all over her body, he originally thinks she got beaten with a blunt instrument, but even as he says it, we see he doubts his own words. So he starts to examine the body.
Lucas goes to station’s break room to get something to drink and sees a pretty young woman sitting at the table. She comments that the station’s a zoo with all the reporters and Lucas agrees. She finds out he’s a Medical Examiner and asks if he thinks Carlyle got murdered. Definitely trying to impress her tells the woman although none of the reports have come back, he thinks she got killed. The woman’s cell phone rings and she waves goodbye to Lucas and leaves the room and yes, she’s a reporter for a tabloid and tells the person on the other end of the phone she just got the M.E. on record saying murder.
The next morning Conrad Carlyle’s in Lieutenant Joanna Reece’s office clutching the tabloid and demanding an explanation as how the press got hold of this. While he’s screaming, Morgan and Martinez wait outside the office and then Lucas shows up with his face longer than usual. Henry immediately realizes Lucas’ leaked the story and he admits he did and he’s written a letter of resignation. Morgan tells him he’ll take the heat and crumbles up the letter and he and Martinez go into Reece’s office.
Morgan tells Carlyle that he committed a heinous mistake, he’s terribly ashamed and sorry and promises it won’t happen again, then extends his hand. Conrad looks at his hand with disdain and tells Reece he want’s Morgan pulled from the case. Henry’s shocked and Jo tells Carlyle that Henry’s the best Medical Examiner in the city, but Carlyle doesn’t budge and the Lieutenant tells Morgan he’s off the case.
Martinez checks in with Morgan later and he’s crushed, it’s the first time he’s been pulled from a case. She says he can still investigate even without the body but he’d have to join her at the Gallery, Morgan’s desire to solve the case overrides his desire not to enter the Gallery.
We find out why Henry’s reluctant to enter with a flashback to the early fifties, before Henry and Abigail got married. They’re running through a rainstorm holding a coat as a tarp over their heads and greet the security guard at the Gallery. He tells the couple it’s closed due to a private party and Henry insists they’re on the list and tells the guard to look for Henry and Abigail Vermeer. The guard says their names aren’t on the list and Abigail gasps she can’t believe it, they traveled 3500 miles for this. Henry tells the guard, he forgot the umbrella and he doesn’t want his wife getting wet, so the guard admits them into the party.
They weren’t on the list, it was an impulsive request by Abigail and they pulled it off, Henry looks a tad uncomfortable but tells him he needs to be more spontaneous and goes off to look at the art. An elegant, beautiful woman approaches Henry and tells him Abigail’s beautiful, Morgan agrees and thanks her. She says that it’s lovely to see a couple so much in love, so why aren’t they married as neither wears a ring. Henry says it’s complicated and asks the woman her name, but she insists he answer her question first. He tells her he’s not sure he’s worthy of her and the woman tells him to follow his heart, then reveals that she’s Gloria Carlyle and tells Mr. Vermeer, she realizes they’re crashing her party.
At the Gallery Henry determines that Carlyle died by being pushed down a spiral staircase, he then pulls out an ancient FBI examination kit to try to trace rubber from the pair of vintage shoes she wore that night. He determines that she dragged herself almost a hundred yards, he believes trying to escape her killer. He says that she wasn’t alone and just at that moment, Hanson calls Martinez to tell her that they found surveillance that Lance Sharp, the young men we saw at the beginning of the episode followed her.
Martinez and Henry question Sharp and he admits to following Gloria, he wanted her blessing to marry her granddaughter and she gave him her engagement ring worth millions of dollars and her blessing. He says he and his fiancée loved Carlyle and are distraught over her death.
The next suspect’s Conrad Carlyle whose got epilepsy and takes the drug that poisoned his mother. However he’s cleared as it’s revealed that he got written out of the will, so he had the most to gain by her living. The money she didn’t leave to charities or museums went to Gloria’s long-time nurse Marta Rosko, who became the next suspect. She takes Hanson through the night of the Gala, saying that Gloria ate dinner at her usual time of 5:00pm, then felt cold so Rosko lit her a fire, then helped her get dressed for the event. Henry and Jo watch the interview through a one-way mirror and Morgan says it’s odd that on such a warm night Gloria wanted a fire. So they head back to her mansion and into Gloria’s bedroom and Morgan pokes through the fireplace finding a scorched corner of an old letter signed with the initials JC.
Henry once again flashes back to that night with Abigail and she points out the incongruity that every work on the walls created by masters, except for this one painting from an unknown Argentinian artist. Gloria walks by and greets the Vermeers, telling Abigail she’s got a very special man and Abigail agrees then asks if Carlyle has someone special in her life. She says she does, but he couldn’t attend the event and looks at the painting created by the unknown artist with the initials JC. Just then her young son Conrad tells her that father says it’s time to go home.
Martinez and Morgan head into the garage and see a 1965 Rolls Royce in mint condition. They climb into the back seat, Henry opens a panel and a bottle of the pills that killed her are inside it. Morgan tells Martinez he solved the case.
Martinez, Morgan, Carlyle and his attorney arrive at the Gallery and Henry reveals that Gloria committed suicide and the Gala was her suicide note, which explains the insulting comments said to all. Unfortunately Lance stopping her messed up her timing, she meant to be downstairs when the medicine kicked in, but instead she fell down the stairs to the main lobby, then dragged her body to die in front of the painting created by Argentinian artist Fernando Costa. Morgan says the two had an affair in the early fifties and Conrad confirms the story as his father told him many years before that his mother had a fling with an artist and he told her if she left him for the artist he’s destroy his career. Gloria never forgave her husband and Conrad never forgave his mother.
The Story Continues Next Tuesday at 10:00pm on ABC.