Unforgotten 1.03: Episode Review

Each episode of Unforgotten on Masterpiece Mystery can be summed up in a single line of dialog. For Episode 3, it would be: “This is who we are now.”

The generation of characters who would have been small children or not even born when Jimmy Sullivan was murdered are now adults whose lives have been redefined by revelations during the past two episodes. The parents they relied upon, trusted, underestimated, and took for granted are not who they seemed to be. The happy family they thought they had was something else entirely. This is who they are now.

Even DCI Cassie Stuart (Nicola Walker) is contending with some awkward truths about her father (Peter Egan). But the shock of finding your pensioner dad necking with a woman on the sofa is nothing compared to the eroding family dynamics among the suspects in Jimmy Sullivan’s murder.

For 39 years, Jimmy’s killer has been living life as usual while Jimmy lay buried beneath a basement floor and his loving mother (Frances Tomelty) spent every waking moment aching for news of him, good or bad. That’s long enough.

Cassie probably feels more empathy than she should for the suspects, but that doesn’t stop her and her partner, DI Sunny Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar), from arriving at the home of Eric and Claire Slater (Tom Courtenay and Gemma Jones) with a warrant to search the premises during a party celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary. (In the middle of Abba’s “Dancing Queen,” no less!) After all, there has to be a reason beyond nostalgia and pride that makes Eric so adamant about continuing to live in the family home, even when leaving would make more sense. Claire has dementia. Eric, confined to a wheelchair, is unable to care for her. Yet even though Claire wants to move away, he insists on staying.

Could it have something to do with the body Claire says is buried in the garden?

Eric dismisses that story as nonsense, and even if it were true, Claire, with her addled memory, is the dictionary definition of an unreliable witness. But the police are digging, and we know something will turn up.

Meanwhile, Lizzie Wilton (Ruth Sheen) is MIA. Now that the truth about her racist past has been revealed, she can’t face her husband, Ray (Brian Bovell), or Curtis (Ade Oyefeso), the young man they’ve taken under their wing as a surrogate son. She’s demoralized and drinking, living on the streets. Ray and Curtis are distraught and desperate to find her.

Sir Phillip Cross (Trevor Eve), former mob heavy gone legit, is now entangled in something nefarious involving Turkish gangsters. Best not to ask.

Dodgy clergyman Robert Greaves (Bernard Hill) has confessed his sins—most of them—in bits and pieces to those concerned.  He’s been stealing from the church and from his wife for years. His secretary, Sheila (Tessa Peake-Jones), reports him.

“We’d love to know what you’ve been spending it all on,” says his superior (David Troughton).

“For what it’s worth,” Greaves replies, “none of it was for me.”

Nor for his wife and daughters, who only recently learned about his infidelity some (you guessed it) 39 years prior.

As the man said: “This is who we are now.”

It doesn’t take a whole lot of imagination to guess where the story is headed, even with its twists and turns. (Please, no spoilers here!) Writer/creator Chris Lang’s series isn’t perfect, but it has its moments and a great cast to see it through.

This wraps of Series 1 of Unforgotten. Next week on Masterpiece Mystery, we have the first of three episodes in Series 2.

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