Jane Curtin returns to the tube tonight (2/7) joining the cast of “Unforgettable” as an acerbic and demanding forensic pathologist who teaches romantic poetry on the side. It’s a part the “Saturday Night Live,” “Kate & Allie” and “3rd Rock from the Sun” television favorite tells us came “out of left field. My agent called and said, ‘You have an offer to become a regular character on a procedural cop show that started in September.’ It was such a great idea. Why not? It’s something I’ve never done, and I do like a challenge, so I’m doing it.”
She hasn’t asked why creators of the Poppy Montgomery crime drama thought of her for the part, and doesn’t plan to do so. She knows better than that, she explains. “When I was first starting in the business, I got a commercial and I wondered, ‘God, why did they pick me?'” Then she found herself sitting next to the product manager on a plane ride, so she asked him. “And he said, ‘Your face was big enough to superimpose a drain on,'” she recalls.
Curtin surmises that the “Unforgettable” series team was probably looking for her to bring some humor and lightness to her character, the tough and brilliant inspector, Joanne Webster.
She’s been working with the same technical advisor who helped Leslie Hendrix learn about the medical examiner’s work for “Law & Order,” she lest us know. And that’s big, because “She set the standard for playing a medical examiner. No one’s done it better than she.” There are certainly an abundance of medical examiners on television – Dana Delany, Robert David Hall and David McCallum, to name just three. Curtin is well aware of that. Or, as she puts it, “Anybody who is anybody is a medical examiner these days.”
Naturally, “You wonder how you’re going to differentiate this particular medical examiner. It’s not as if people who work in that end of medicine are lacking a sense of humor. There are times when you use it to relieve the stress. These human beings deal with a lot of stuff every day, and sometimes the only thing you can do is quote Monty Python lines.”