Review: Unforgotten (S2 E3/6), Thursday 19th January, ITV

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unforgotten2The tensions playing out within the four suspects’ families were tighter than the strings on Andy Murray’s favourite tennis racket in last night’s Unforgotten as investigations into David Walker’s murder continue – and Sunny and Cassie got a day out at the seaside.

In the previous episode three of the quartet had been identified by DCI Cassie Stuart (Nicola Walker) and DI Sunny Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar) and their team of magic millennials.

Now they are closing in on Nurse Marion (Rosie Cavaliero), probably the most highly strung among the pretty volatile runners. Even before she is traced and confronted by the police her incredible instability is manifesting itself in shouting matches with her family – especially husband Tony (Nigel Lindsay), who was on the verge of walking out even before her darkest secret begins to emerge.

Cassie meets Marion’s sister Elise (Holly Aird) and mother, Joy Dunphy (Wendy Craig), who can’t think of any reason why her address would be on a Travelcard found among Walker’s possessions. Their focus quickly comes down to ‘black sheep’ Marion, which leads to a prickly interview between Cassie and Marion. Obviously a waif and stray in her youth, Marion is extremely shaky and evasive in her answers. She has ‘form’ – attacking a police officer during a late-80s demo in support of the (later exonerated) Guildford Four. It seems amazing that someone with such a chaotic life ever managed to hold down a responsible job and bumped into nice steady Tony. Nevertheless, once Cassie and Sunny associate her with a convicted IRA sympathiser, it is only a short logical stroll to linking her to Walker, late club entrepreneur and Tory party fundraiser.

Marion’s agitation sends her into a drunken paranoid spiral; having earlier had a heart-to-heart with cancer patient Zoe, she buys her a Malibu and orange in a pub next door to the hospital and then cruelly turns on the ailing girl. If any one of the four tops themselves, our money is on poor lost Marion.

Mental health problems have also dogged Colin Osborne (Mark Bonnar), who left a previous career at a merchant bank under a cloud in 1990. Tory Central office comes up trumps by sending Cassie & Co newspaper cuttings from the society pages showing donor Colin with Walker. But he tells our ’tecs that he left because he had a breakdown and was sectioned and sent for a stay at the Maudsley Hospital on 6 May 1990 – his alibi for around the time Walker was murdered.

As Colin counts out the cash to give his blackmailer, boyfriend Simon (Charlie Condou) makes a not unreasonable last-ditch attempt to make him call Tyler’s bluff by going to the police. Who after all, would they believe – a high-flying barrister or a junkie? He’s starting to realise that Colin has more to conceal than keying a car in a supermarket car park.

Colin meets his blackmailer in an anonymous café, where Tyler promises that he won’t ask for more cash, then he does what Bonnar does so chillingly well –threatens the lad that he will hurt him badly if he does.

 

DI Tessa Nixon (Lorraine Ashbourne), who is being urged to take a break from active service with the Oxford Police, might appear to be handling the situation on the surface, but husband Paul (Douglas Hodge) is finding her show of equanimity unnerving – especially after her son’s meltdown in front of his teenage step-sister Becca at the end of last week’s episode. “You’re frightening me,” he tells her. Of all the suspects, Tessa is proving the hardest to crack. She has worked at divesting herself of memories from her first marriage – even to the extent of chucking out all photos of Walker.

 

By contrast, her son Jason (Will Brown) is barely hanging on, at a loss in comprehending the death of a man he hardly knew. He arrives at the police station to view his dad’s body in a scene of inexpressible sorrow. Brown is impressive as the wide-eyed, traumatised man-child constantly on the brink of hysteria.

Sunny locates James Gregory (Richard Hope), an old school friend of Walker, and gets a startling insight into the S&M bondage and generally louche lifestyle through which he blotted out his demons after being sexually abused by one of his teachers as a child.

Gregory said the pair had been estranged for years, but reveals that Walker had got back in touch shortly before his death to say he’d tracked down and confronted the teacher who had abused him, but the man had threatened him. Is the teacher dead or alive? And could he have been the killer? He’d be well into his 80s by now and the school has no staff records from so far back.

Teacher Sara (Badria Timimi) is on pins every time the phone rings; it’s Sunny wanting to know exactly how long she was in Rome at the time of Walker’s death.

Husband Hassan (Adeel Akhtar) is trying to cram her for her second job interview, but she – like the other suspects – spends much time staring detachedly into the middle distance. She admits to Hassan that the police have interviewed her and denies knowing how Walker died, but admits he had paid her for sex, at which point Hassan gets out of the car and walks off dazed.

This is just as well because Sara has a summit conference with some old acquaintances.

Writer Chris Lang has structured his story as elegantly as an intricate and delicate Tudor galliard while somehow making it feel like real life. Nothing seems to be sheer happenstance; he makes his protagonists claw for every clue but never lets them stall. Midway through the series, the antagonists are inexorably being drawn together – either to drag one another from the riptide or to cleave to each other until they drown in the murky depths of their shared secret. The episode fades out on a big and unexpected reveal.

The amount of ‘al desko’ eating that goes on at this particular nick is astonishing; everyone is constantly stuffing their faces. But these kids work a punishing schedule – Cassie has to tell them at one point: “Go home now – sleep.” This is without doubt the most functional and cooperative CID squad in TV history.

Cassie and Sunny are down in Brighton to question Colin, but there’s no time for a paddle; Sunny has a date – he has to get back to London to meet his latest Tinder match and he’s on tenterhooks about it.

We love that lone parent Sunny is always doing some routine chore at home – usually picking up after his teenage daughters (what is it about the lazy kids in this series?). This week it’s the laundry; he’s trawling around for errant socks while conferring with Cassie over the phone. This man really deserves some romance.

 Cassie’s perpetually preoccupied dad (Peter Egan) has been doing a little detective work of his own. He comes clean about his extracurricular activities – he’d been to Winchester searching for the man with whom Cassie’s late mum had an affair. As we have observed, Cassie is always operational.

Deborah Shrewsbury
@shrewdkitty

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3 thoughts on “Review: Unforgotten (S2 E3/6), Thursday 19th January, ITV

  1. I’ve always thought this is more interesting than it first appears. I like how Cassie’s Dad told her truth straight away about why he went to Winchester, unlike all the suspects to who are lying through their teeth. Also like how Cassie has a slightly hesitant and shy manner, but is doggedly thorough and professional. Relationship with Sunny is also interesting; he clearly admires and respects her as his boss. Both single, but that would be too cheesy.

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