Poppy Montgomery on 'Unforgettable's' Big Makeover — and the Challenge of Being a Redhead

Suzy Byrne
Yahoo TV

Poppy Montgomery is enjoying her "Unforgettable" makeover.

No, we're not talking about a new hair color — she's still a fiery redhead for the role — but the CBS show, which returned to the air July 28. It has been revamped in several ways, and it shows.

"It's summer. It's upbeat. It's much closer to my personality," Montgomery, who plays Carrie Wells, the NYPD detective with a photographic memory, tells Yahoo! TV of the new direction of the show after it was briefly canceled, then resurrected for a second season. "I'm more upbeat than my character, so now she's a little more like I am, which means I don’t have to act as hard. I actually get to smile and show my teeth."

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In addition to getting to act sunnier, Carrie is less preoccupied with her past — specifically her sister's death, the only murder she can't seem to solve. And her career has gone in a new direction: Carrie and Dylan Walsh's character, Detective Al Burns, have moved their flirty partnership from their Queens precinct to Manhattan's Major Crimes division, where the crimes are more high-profile and the crime-fighting tools more high-tech.

"We have some good episodes coming up," the 38-year-old native Australian promises. "We had a bank robbery. There's one like 'National Treasure.' We've got a 'Die Hard' episode. Really cool stuff. I'm excited." In this Sunday's episode, the scientist who helped Carrie understand her unusual memory abilities is murdered, and she's on the hunt for the killer.

Watch two sneak peeks from Sunday's episode:


While many changes are afoot on the series — including the addition of cast members Dallas Roberts, Tawny Cypress, and James Hiroyuki Liao to complement returning TV vet Jane Curtin — the romantic spark continues to flicker between Carrie and Al. It's just become a little more subtle.

"It's peppered in," Montgomery says of the onscreen romance. "It's like seasoning. It's sprinkled in depending on what the case is. If it's a very complicated case, it will be less personal. If it's a less complicated, a more caperish case, then we will see more of the relationship because it's fun. It depends on each episode."

One thing that hasn't changed? Carrie's signature red locks — though Montgomery admits they are high maintenance.

"My hair seems to have turned blond," she says, holding up a chunk of her locks in the sun. "I love my red hair, but it's the hardest color on the planet to maintain. It fades so quickly. It's like I went to bed a redhead last night and I woke up a blonde today. Four washes and I have to [dye] it again. I love it, though. I don't think I will ever be blond-blond again, unless it's for a role."

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And it's hard to find time for frequent trips to the colorist when she's headlining a show and taking care of a new baby. The actress's second child, a daughter named Violet (dad is boyfriend Shawn Sanford), was born in April. And while Carrie is known for her superduper memory, Montgomery says she's been distracted these last few months.

"Oh, yes — I have mommy brain. I have breast-feeding brain. I have pregnancy brain. I have overworked brain," she says, laughing. "I have walked around looking for my sunglasses for 45 minutes and they were on my head. And I just [posed] for a bunch of pictures wearing my son [Jackson]'s 3-D glasses that he took home after seeing 'The Smurfs' movie. I put them on my head and forgot. When we were all done with the photos, someone pointed them out and it was like, 'Oh, grrrreat.'"

Watch Montgomery in action on "Unforgettable," which airs Sundays at 9 PM on CBS.

Check out more photos from "Unforgettable":