The third series of Unforgotten has been unmissable thus far, as DCI Cassie Stuart (Nicola Walker) and DI Sunny Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar) investigate the murder of Hayley Reid, but the fourth episode takes things to a whole new level. In fact, with more revelations than you could possibly imagine, I think it’s safe to say that the Chris Lang-penned drama delivers its most shocking episode yet.
The investigation into Haley’s death continues and, as Cassie and Sunny now know that Hayley could’ve disappeared any time after 10pm on the night in question, one of the four suspects — Tim Finch (Alex Jennings), Chris Lowe (James Fleet), James Hollis (Kevin McNally) and Pete Carr (Neil Morrissey) — could be Hayley’s killer.
It’s Pete, however, that’s first up for interview, after Cassie and Sunny hear back from the forensic team, who confirm that Pete’s DNA matches the DNA recovered from the church robbery that took place on the night Haley disappeared. Cassie doesn’t hold back this time, grilling Pete in the interview, calling him out for his lies. She’s more confident in her approach this time around, leaving no stone unturned. Nicola Walker shines here (mind you, when doesn’t Nicola Walker shine?), and this is the first time that Cassie let’s her frustrations get the better of her.
I’ve mentioned before how Lang’s characterisation of Cassie is one of the best things Unforgotten has to offer, and this episode, in particular, strengthens her character further. She might be badass police officer, but she’s still human, and this fact becomes more apparent in Episode 4, when her problems at home begin impacting on her work life. She’s consistently tired, and yet she’s unable to sleep. It was implied in the first episode of this third series that she’s lonely, and Martin’s (Peter Egan) forgetfulness isn’t helping matters. Cassie confronts her father over his forgetfulness, but he gets defensive, claiming that she is deliberately trying to sabotage his relationship with Jenny (Janet Dibley) because she’s lonely. At this point, the troubled detective stops fighting back because, although he’s wrong about her motive, she is, in fact, lonely. But it all gets on top of her — so much so that she accidentally leaves Pete’s police folder behind in a coffee shop. Upon realising her mistake, she immediately reports it to Detective Superintendent Andrews (Colin R. Campbell). The internal conflict is rife here, and we can’t help but feel for Cassie, who normally wouldn’t be the sort of person to make a mistake of this magnitude, but she’s been under so much pressure lately. One also can’t help but wonder if the decision to stop the investigation into the murder of David Walker is also still impacting her?
Elsewhere, DC Jake Collier (Lewis Reeves) speaks to Tim’s ex-wife Derran (Siobhan Redmond) who, as Tim said, is suffering from mental health issues. However, she suggests that Tim isn’t as nice as he makes out and that he’s capable of anything. This was a really great scene, and Reeves was particularly great here. I’m enjoying Jake’s increased screen time this season. And it’s not just Tim we learned about, as we get quite a bit of information about all four suspects this week, from Pete’s illegal activities in Hong Kong to James’ unique sexual appetite. But the biggest shock of all — which is really a testament to Lang’s writing ability — came when we learned that Chris’ downfall was a result of his credit card having been used on child abuse websites. Lang’s strong characterisation of Chris makes such a revelation almost impossible to believe.
Just when things couldn’t get any worse, Sandra (Tori Allen-Martin) — AKA the blogger — leaks Cassie’s police file online, and Pete Carr ultimately becomes Public Enemy No. 1. Social media goes into meltdown, and Pete receives some pretty nasty messages. Cassie publicly accepts full responsibility for the situation, but it’s hard to wonder what impact this will have on her career – especially when coupled with the complaint that Chris has made against her. Apart from a fabulous selection of new coats, Cassie has very little to be joyous about in Series 3, so a breakthrough in the case is exactly what she needs right about now. But unfortunately, things are going to get much worse for our well-meaning detective, because the final moments saw Pete brutally stabbed outside his place of work. Lang did mention how he wanted to look at how dangerous social media can be, and he’s certainly accomplishing that with this storyline. But will Pete survive? If not, his death could have severe ramifications on Cassie’s career — and on her health. What’s more, from a plotting point of view, the fact that Pete relayed crucial information about Chris’ son Elliot (Tom Rhys Harries) to Tim before his stabbing possibly suggests that the businessman won’t survive his injuries. Either way, the pace has significantly increased, and with the world watching, things are only getting harder for our beloved detectives, as they try and hunt the killer. As always, Unforgotten is miles ahead of everything else on television.
Contributed by Stephen Patterson
Unforgotten continues Sundays at 9pm on ITV.