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Unforgettable “Past Tense” 

Photo Credit: Jeff Neumann/CBS
Photo Credit: Jeff Neumann/CBS

Last week’s episode was certainly not my favorite of the season. The plot didn’t make sense, and I was left laughing more than anything else at the end. However, this week’s episode proved to be better. While the story line itself wasn’t anything spectacular, Poppy Montgomery did a fantastic job, with the ending scene one of her best of the series.

The case in “Past Tense” involve the murder of an Afghani cab driver, Bashir Sajadi.  Sajadi had been helping the police with information on a Middle Eastern terrorist cell, and thinking that he had been murdered by the same terrorist group, the case is given top priority to the Major Crimes Unit.  Carrie (Poppy Montgomery) and Al (Dylan Walsh) initially have very few leads. The only information they have is that Sajadi had called his friend, Mo, who owned a flower shop right before he died, and after talking with Mo, they learn that Sajadi’s last fare spoke his native language, Pashto, fluently.

Al is convinced the terrorists ordered the hit, and after some nudging, Eliot finally allows him to pursue that angle. At the same time, Carrie begins to have second thoughts. The first thing Carrie notices is a mark the cabbie had on his forehead, which could not initially be explained. Dr. Webster (Jane Curtin) is able to help her identify the mark as being from the cab when Sajadi fell. The position he must have been in is exactly like how American soldiers are trained to detain prisoners. In addition, Jay discovers that Sajadi had been killed with a military-issued beretta. The killer was a soldier. But who and why? Were we dealing with a vigilante or was there more to the story?

As soon as they said “soldier”, I had a pretty good idea of where the storyline was going. This wasn’t going to be a tale of an army veteran being angry at the world and taking it out on every Muslim that crossed his path. TV shows love to do episodes nowadays on the effects of PTSD, and sure enough, that’s what the killing centered around. Veteran John Curtis had just completed his 4th deployment into Afghanistan, and on his last tour, his best friend, Ritchie, had been killed by a suicide bomber. The bomber had used a cell phone as a triggering device, and when Curtis heard the cabbie’s phone ring, is set off a chain reaction, with Curtis believing he was in Afghanistan on that fateful day all over again. Again, it wasn’t the most original story, but I do give it higher marks than last week.

On a positive note, Poppy Montgomery did shine this week. Carrie played a key role in getting Curtis to surrender, and Montgomery did an exceptional job in this very emotional scene. Curtis is very quick to blame someone else for his Ritchie’s death, but the fact is he really can’t remember what happened or why his friend left his post to begin with. This is where Carrie came in. She knows all too well that we try very hard to bury memories that are painful. But, the only way to ever move forward is to remember and to accept it. Albeit more painful than he could ever imagine, Curtis finally remembers why Ritchie left his post and reached into the bomber’s car — Curtis had said he was thirsty, and Ritchie saw some water in the car. Curtis certainly has a long road to recovery, but in the end, everything worked out. A killer is caught, Carrie is nominated for a bravery medal, and oh, Eliot (Dallas Roberts) is seen as a “genius” by the mayor for the fantastic work on the case.

All in all, it was a good episode, but still not even in the same league as the premiere episodes last month. Of course, the season is not even half over, and so, the show still has plenty of time to make a comeback.

Unforgettable airs on Sunday nights at 9/8c on CBS.

Most memorable quotes

  • Manhattan has a much higher class of cadaver — Dr. Webster to Carrie
  • If this is some weird thing you’re doing to make me go along with you, it’s working — Eliot to Carrie
  • I have a feeling you have your own rule book — Murray
  • June 5, 1999! Murphy Bed! Murphy Bed! — Carrie to Al

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