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Five questions with Poppy Montgomery

Posted 7:25am on Saturday, Jul. 27, 2013

Poppy Montgomery

The actress is all smiles these days because her CBS crime drama, Unforgettable, “which I love doing,” is back for a second season, beginning at 8 p.m. Sunday. The show, in which she plays an NYPD detective with a flawless memory, was canceled after the 2011-12 season, then “uncanceled” when network execs decided they had been too hasty.

“I don’t think I’ve ever heard of that happening,” Montgomery says. “I’ve heard of shows going to other networks. I’ve heard of shows being on the bubble and getting saved at the last minute. But being officially canceled and then uncanceled? That’s a new one for me.”

Montgomery also is beaming because she’s basking in the joy of new motherhood. Her daughter, Violet, was born three months ago; Montgomery also has a 5-year-old son. And the third reason she’s flashing her pearly whites?

“The tone of the show is lighter,” she says. “In Season 1, I was so sullen about my poor dead sister. This season, I’ve moved forward. I’ve become very jaunty. I actually smile a lot. Finally, all that dental work is paying off!”

1 Thanks to a neurological condition called hyperthymesia, your character, Carrie Wells, remembers everything she ever experienced, a valuable ability for a detective. How’s your memory in real life?

This show has made me realize how incredibly selective my memory is. My memory for all of my lines is pretty great. But my memory for everything else is kind of horrible.

2 Actress Marilu Henner is a consultant, because she has this condition in real life. Does she show off her memory skill like it’s a parlor trick?

All the time. I’ll say something like, “And then my daughter was born on April 22,” and she’ll say, “Which was a Monday.” It’s crazy. She remembers everything.

3 How long after having your baby did you go back to work?

Two and a half weeks later, we started pre-production. Then I was shooting three-and-a-half weeks after she was born. It was pretty intense. And I had a C-section, so I was recovering from surgery at the same time. And I’m still nursing. So it’s been a wild ride.

4 Whereas, when you were pregnant on Without a Trace , the directors merely hid you behind a variety of props, didn’t they?

In the beginning, they would shoot me with a desk or a computer or a potted plant in front of me. Also, Samantha Spade was suddenly bringing baked goods into the office, so they could hide me behind boxes of doughnuts. Toward the end of the pregnancy, they stopped being clever about it. They positioned Anthony LaPaglia in front of me once, so all you could see of me was my head over his shoulder.

5 Your four sisters also have flower names (Rosie, Daisy, Lily and Marigold). Is that why you named your daughter Violet, to keep the tradition going?

Actually, no. Violet is named after her father’s grandmother. But I told my mom it was to have a new generation of flower names. She was thrilled until she read the real story. Now she’s not speaking to me!

— David Martindale, Special to the Star-Telegram

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