To prove as an actor/actress that you have the strength, drive and talent to engage an audience and headline a feature film or a TV series is for the most part the beating force of any acting hopeful. It grabs hold of those special few who are steadfast in their craft and have a clear headedness when moving into new productions, working partnerships and endeavours. This clarity is an essential part of over coming obstacles and wading through the messes that can often arise in the entertainment industry. Carrying productions is a scary, hopeful, daunting, life changing experience with many over tones of doubt but when gifted with all of the aforementioned qualities, it becomes a path that an actor/actress would never dream of giving up without a fight… And fight for everything they do.
“Poppy Montgomery to star as lead in…“ is a familiar yet distinctive headline. It has been a prominent sentence accompanying the Australian native for much of her career but became a steadfast tag after she was cast as Marilyn Monroe in the 2001 CBS mini series Blonde which depicted a mixed tale of fictional biographical and real life events of the american Actress and model; sharing glimpses of her childhood years, marriages, family and career.
After this portrayal, the next “headlining” part Montgomery was cast in, was that of Samantha Spade in the, once again CBS driven, mystery drama Without A Trace which follows the cases and lives of agents of a Missing Persons Unit (MPU) of the FBI in New York City. From 2002 to 2009 Montgomery defined the female lead character and developed an audience that craved her strength, vulnerability and her tact in performing a role that while physically beautiful, gave heart and drive to a woman in a man’s world.
As the seasons stretched on, we follow Montgomery’s character on personal, professional and emotional crusades; mixed with triumphs and failures. Work as an FBI agent in the MPU would be hard at the best of times and anyone would find it difficult to keep it all together and that’s part of the reason why her audience grew with such an intensity; the portrayal of Samantha Spade by Montgomery, with all the flaws, intricacies and fallacies of an everyday person, while wearing her FBI Cape, gave many viewers the power to feel like they could make it through anything in due time.
It seems that Montgomery has found her niche for playing lead roles in TV Land, managing to be cast in yet another CBS show, crime drama Unforgettable in 2011. Fans from all over the world were over joyed to hear of her casting in another strong lead role; another law enforcement placement nonetheless!
Unforgettable centres its throws around Carrie Wells, a former homicide detective with hyperthymesia which allows her to have perfect recall, who is persuaded to re- join the NYPD in Queens by old flame Al Burns (Dylan Walsh), 9 years after leaving their hometown of Syracuse because of the investigation into her sister’s murder having being shut down. Using her Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory (HSAM) Wells is often the clue to solving most of their cases.
But, not everything would seem worth remembering after CBS cancelled the crime drama after only 1 season, leaving fans far and wide wondering what ever did happen to that Detective and her memory?. It wasn’t until 2013 that the show was resurrected from the ashes for a second and then consecutive third season, running 13 episodes a piece. CBS however didn’t feel it could run with the show much longer and cancelled it shortly after the end of the third season. But like anything good in life, the show seemed to have made waves and rippled its way onto cable network A&E who picked up the procedural for its fourth and as of yet, its finale season.
Across its many lives, the show took on some changes, in both cast, setting and overall tone. The only constant remaining was that of the lead roles, both Montgomery and Walsh remained a dependable duo, giving viewers some of the best chemistry on television to date. While fan hearts all over the world were missing beats shipping the pair right until the end, Montgomery’s Wells drew its own solo crowd. The vulnerable but headstrong Wells gave viewers a platform to remind themselves that while things can be tough and bad things happen, your allowed to bend, break, rebuild and carry on in your own way. The sensitivity of the character given by Montgomery also shadowed glimpses to the weight of having such a “gift” and being able to do your best with what your given, rather than letting the pressure destroy you completely.
With Unforgettable‘s heartbreaking and for most fans, untimely cancellation came that ever distinctive headline of “Poppy Montgomery to star as lead in…” This time in a CBS remake of Aussie comedy Upper Middle Bogan for US audiences titled Furst Born.
With so many successes under her belt already, most believe, that this will not be huge leap for the actress. While a categorical change, Montgomery has the headline acting chops to accompany any production into new territory. With hands at the helm like, Todd Holland, Dan O’shannon and original Aussie series creators Robyn Butler and Wayne Hope the whole concept, production, cast and crew seem to be in safe, diverse, storm handling ready hands.
Mel Walker – Writer, PM Daily.