Review: Unforgotten (S5 E5/6)

As Sunny and Jess reach a tentative rapprochement, the truth about Precious’s death edges closer – but at this stage, we still have four strong suspects and not much indication as to who actually dunnit. 

In investigating Precious’s background in a religious cult, DS Boulting discovers that cult leader David Bell, who got her pregnant, has died. But was Precious’s descent into prostitution related to her Joseph plans to do a flit, but is arrested in an armed raid. What will be found on his laptop? 

Elise throws out Precious’ former social worker Karol over his suspected involvement with the case, just as a newly cooperative Sunny and Jess get interested in his sexual indiscretions. DS Lingley is plainly shocked to see the two now getting on.

The two team up to question Precious’ mother Ebele, but she’s all ‘no comment’, despite them having all sorts of phone and bank records linking the two. Did she and Precious row over Ebele’s drinking? DC Willets digs into Hume’s background and discovers his political conversion may have been due to a relationship with a woman, he was seen arguing with Precious, and he worked for a company that Ebele confronted with an air pistol years before.

Forensic evidence from the bullet that killed Precious points towards Joseph, while bank evidence points to Hume; Ebele tells boyfriend Dave about her horrific childhood, and we get another round of the government bashing, which is a recurrent theme of this season.

‘No comment’ evidently runs in the family, as Joseph denies being in the vicinity when Precious died; but he finally confesses that he’s not Joseph, but his younger half-brother Jay, son of an itinerant artist, Eric Royce (which explains why Jay knows so much about the Fauvists). Jay adopted Joseph’s identity to claim his benefits; but he clams up when asked what happened to Joseph, saying that people would get him.

E-mail evidence of contact between Precious and Karol suggests she was blackmailing him over his sexual indiscretions (convenient that the only two emails recovered have this evidence) – Jay’s laptop holds more evidence against Karol, but his lawyer, working for Hume, gets him bailed again.

In a furiously fast-paced last few scenes, an anonymous phone call has information about the location of Joseph’s body – but who has phoned it in, and why now? Was it Hume, who is on his way to Dignitas?

Willets questions the doorman from Ebele’s airgun incident (children’s TV legend Derek Griffiths) who says that he was told to hush up the fact that she was looking for her father  – Tony Hume. 

A few of this week’s twists have been fairly well-telegraphed – Tony Hume being Ebele’s father, for instance – but we didn’t see the twist about Joseph coming.

It’s good to see the relationship between Sunny and Jess warming, and them showing the series’s trademark empathy with suspects  – though it will be a long time before the relationship can be as organic as that between Sunny and  Cassie. At least it means that the plot can develop with less friction between the two.    

What is perhaps most striking about this episode is the way in which the class range involved, all the way from the most disadvantaged to the most privileged, is being used thematically to make political comments. Will the conclusion next week hammer these points home? Or will it be more typical of the flavour of the series, that the damaged people involved have made bad decisions, but that even the most disadvantaged have some good about them?

Deborah Shrewsbury

Rating: 4 out of 5.






2 thoughts on “Review: Unforgotten (S5 E5/6)”

  1. Once Jay admitted he wasn’t Joseph, it certainly got better and the last third was very good. The class inequalities and cut backs have been the major theme of this series, great to highlight but even for someone, like me, who applauds it, find it overdone. Can’t say I have changed my mind, Unforgotten is ok, not great as it was in s1 & s3 and sensational in s2.


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