Unforgotten S1:E1 Dem Bones Recap

Unforgotten cover

Hi there! I’m TalksTooMuch (but you can call me TTM) and I will be recapping Unforgotten with Nicola Walker for your reading pleasure. Rolling cold cases with Gillian Cassie after the break!

We’re with DCI Cassie Stuart (Nicola Walker) saying goodbye to her dad Martin (Peter Egan) who has a busy day filled with crossword puzzles (I LOVE crossword puzzles!) while she’s off on a work call.

She meets up with DS Sunny Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar) already dressed in a forensic-friendly white plastic jumpsuit – so seventies chic plus sweaty. He’s had a long night with a Whiskey Mist, or is it Whiskey Miss? “You’re a woman, aren’t you?” he asks her as she suits up. “What is it with girls and crying for no bloody reason?” and she doesn’t know really, but she cried for no reason herself last week when her dad hugged her. All right says Sunny and I *making cuckoo finger twirls in our heads*.

They join a team of similarly-clad techs photographing bones, one is Sean Rawlins (Jonathan Harden) and he makes Cassie’s cheeks go up (River said they explode when she smiles), and he explains what they know so far. The bones belong to a young male, most likely, but they can’t tell how long ago the body was interred or even if it was intended to be a shallow or deep grave. The bones could be five or five thousand years old. The area will be treated like a crime scene and the rest of the ground excavated.

Eric Slater (Tom Courtenay) is wheeling and dealing, literally, from a wheelchair while his family looks on. This includes his wife Claire (Gemma Jones – Muriel from Last Tango in Halifax! 6 months or bust!) and two grown sons, Les (Dominic Power) and Matt (Adam Astill) who are giving grandpa the gears.  Claire needs to go to sheltered housing, she has dementia or Alzheimer’s or something of that nature.

Sean and the gang are excavating the bones carefully while we switch to a football match with Brandon (Valentine Olukoga) being chided by Lizzie Wilton (Ruth Sheen), get back in there! It’s just all that crappy, non-weed filled air that’s messing with him. He gets shamed back into the scrum by a teammate and the coach.

We’re at a posh country club, Sir Phillip Cross (Trevor Eve) who  is pouring champers for long-lost pal Liam (Matthew Cottle) is being offered a Lordship? Some fancy title Liam expects him to earn.

More bones!

The Story of My Life is being MURDERED by Father Robert Greaves (Bernard Hill), who’s been hounded by Geoff  (David Troughton) for a proper pitch for offering ladies hope (whut? Women’s program at the diocese?); he shakes it off and goes back to yodeling. I USED to like that song but neither of us is age-appropriate, are we?

Cassie’s at the station now, ooooh, she’s the big cheese! She gets glass and a door and coffee brought to her! One day…  She starts an image search on the location where the body was found, it’s changed incarnations so many times that it will be a job to narrow down the timeline.

She starts a Murder Board (not book? Happy Valley taught us they were actually books!) with all the old-timey pics and Sean Rawlins calls; there’s something she should see *meaningful music*

Ooh, the skull has a large hole in it; he thinks they’ve found cause of death. Blunt force trauma(er) he reckons, but it looks just like a bullet hole to my untrained eye. It’s the round hole bit.

Les and Matt are fighting outside quietly while Eric watches. Les thinks Matt thinks he just wants his hands on the house (because he asked him how business was) and Les thinks Matt should continue poncing back to London and leave him to it, since he’s not around anyway. Families are HARD.

Father Bob’s in to get some BUMF for the Bishop, the lady there (no name, sorry!) has been ringing in record numbers, has he called Ellie (Claire Goose)? It’s about the wedding, which is never NOT urgent.

Sir Phillip’s ringing his wife about the good news; Shirley (Cherie Lunghi) is making his favourite meal to celebrate! Awww, I love that he’s not creeping around with someone not his own age. He leaves his daughter Bella (Zoe Telford) a message, she’s in court, and apparently 4 years old, given the nature of his message: awww guess whose daddeh got a new jobbie-wobbie? NO, GUESS??

Cassie (oh that’s tough I keep wanting to call her Gillian!) and Sunny are brainstorming about the foundation of the building where the body was found, going over blueprints. He thinks odds are best that the body was laid to rest BEFORE the building was built in 1886, which makes this an EXTRY cold case.

Lizzie’s in wandering aboot the locker room with a bunch of nekkid footballers milling around. She’s there to give (the teammate who got Brandon going again) Curtis (Ade Oyefeso) a DVD: Of Mice And Men, he’s got an exam and sometimes quotes are easier to remember from movies than a book. But his mum sold the DVD player already, which means she’s using again. Lizzie invites him over to watch it at her place, which makes the coach kiss the plaque on the wall with her family name onnit. Guardian angel is she? I wonder if that’s her son? It’s a Michael Wilton and he only lived between 1991 and 2006.

Cassie’s going over the case with her dad, there’s no statute of limitations on murder (I can’t help it, I almost said something about Robbie and Eddie just then), but she thinks it was around the 1930s. Still someone’s son, his father could be alive. Martin pffts, he never knew his father and he got over it just fine, 60 years ago (me too! But like, 40 years ago and I swear it had nothing to do with any of the men I dated in my twenties. Honest). That’s not the point, though! Is a crime less serious because time has passed, asks Cassie? Is it less wrong? I would say a statute of limitations would be the final say, wouldn’t you? She thinks as long as there could be people alive, they have an obligation to society to right those wrongs and he doesn’t agree, exactly. He thinks it’s history.

They’re found a couple of keys in the ground next to the body, one looks just like a car key, so it can’t be 80 years ago then. DC Karen Willets (Pippa Nixon – with the GORGEOUS Irish accent) explains that they found the key right where a pocket would be, so they think it is attached to the body. By they, I’m including Crime Scene Tech John Burton (Dominic Coleman), who has identified the key material as stainless steel, meaning the key has to be at least 50s at the earliest. They’re sending it away to a lab that can show obscured tooling, like the serial number of this car. “That would be very, kinda cool” agrees Cassie.

Bella thinks her dad’s a wanker for taking this new route, but he just wants his (gotta be forty year old) daughter to be happy. She doesn’t want anything to do with it. I have to say, Sir Phillip Cross looks exactly like a slightly older Mr. Big with an English accent and all those daddy issues I absolutely do not have are for sure not rearing their ugly heads.

Father Bob is holding forth at the table. This family looks much happier! But Ellie wants to discuss something about the wedding… irreligious fiancé Tom (Duncan Pow) wants them to do “the legal bit” at a registry office and then do a church ceremony after, presided over by Father Bob, of course.  Father Bob doesn’t understand that whatsoever, what does Ellie want? A church wedding, of course, so er-ooh, WHAT’S YOUR DAMAGE, TOM?? I know I’m supposed to be mad at Tom, but I’ve been the irreligious fiancée, so I’m afraid I’m on his side. However lovely Father Bob insists the church it will be.

Grace (Hannah Gordon), Ellie’s mum, is clearly annoyed that Father Bob pushed the kids into something they’d decided not to do, but it’s not that either. She’s mad that everything they have is given away to other people, but mostly that he’s gotten his way for 40 years. She’s sleeping in the spare room AND SHE’D LIKE A HOLIDAY.

Woot, they got a serial number! And a timeline, the key was from a car made in November, 1965. And Sunny‘s found out that the concrete was torn up and redone in 1978, so they’re looking at a burial window of ten years! That’s WAY better than the 5 to 5000 year span they were eying up at the beginning. That’s detecting, eliminating all the possibilities until you’ve sorted it down and there you have it.

They know who bought the car! A Steven J. White bought it from the factory, let’s go look him up! He’s the only registered owner, but they can’t find him in the system at all. He’s never been reported missing.

They did find his widow, though, who tells Sunny Steven passed away, but the car was stolen a decade after he bought it. Longest Grand Theft Auto investigation EVER.

Ah, the coach Ray (Brian Bovell) is married to Lizzie, that’s why she’s hanging around the locker rooms! He comes home to find her and Curtis watching Of Mice and Men, then offers to run him home. Curtis knew their son Michael; he reckons he was lucky to have parents like them, even if only for 15 years. Nah, they’re the lucky ones, he says and I’m now worried for Coach Ray.

Cassie and Sunny are working over drinks, she wants to go back to the manufacturer and get the engine numbers and trace the stolen car and keep going. Sunny doesn’t see the point, but as Cassie says, they’ve got bugger-all else.

Sunny pounds the pavement, obviously not expecting much and surprised to find it. Not just that, but it was actually picked up at auction from a police impound lot: why didn’t they tell the Whites his car had been found? They’re able to go see what’s left of it, I would think talking to the police station in Islington would be a better lead, but perhaps that already happened.

There’s now’t left of the car, really, and they make to drive off when Sunny sees some more parts of the Spyder on the back of the truck. They start digging parts out and Cassie stops them, she sees a bag she thinks is important. She gloves up and digs out personal effects, including a diary and a comb that I’m pretty sure was for afros back in the day. Better leave the diary to the lab, it looks a mess.

Eric’s trying to arrange a party, getting everyone together when Claire screams from the kitchen. She’s burned her hand, mixing up the hot and cold water taps. I’m confused. She really wants to leave. She wants to be taken care of and somewhere safe, but he says they CAN’T leave. Now, he’s pretty zippy in his wheelchair, but not either of them is getting any younger, I don’t understand his vehemence.

Grace gets home to find travel agency lookbooks, she’s very happy.

Curtis lives in a shitty neighbourhood, teased and followed by local ruffians while Lizzie picks him up. She gives him a fancy pen, but he’s uncomfortable. I wonder if it paints a big old target on his back with these hooligans in his area?

Josh Cross (Tom Austen) likes his dad’s title just fine. He wants it on his letterhead, Yanks go crazy for that shite! Phillip is MUCH less warm with his son than his daughter, he never asked his old man for anything when he was growing up. But send over the paperwork, he’ll have his people look at it. Pfft. They’re watching the news with his announcement now, smiling creepily.

The lab works on the diary.

Geoff’s in to see Father Bob now, there’s an accounting discrepancy to the tune of two thousand pounds. We know it’s not been spent in Father Bob’s home, what with the 15 year old hair towels AND NO VACATION IN 6 YEARS, so who does that leave?

Now they’re laying out each page of the diary! Completely unreadable, until the luminescence. Cassie asks how that works. And doesn’t understand the answer, but she’s “absolutely fallen in love” with John anyway.

They get a name: James Niall Sullivan and a list of phone numbers to call. Oh, and it’s all our secondary characters! And the comb DID mean afro, our Jimmy Sullivan is black and fly and presumed dead at the hands of one of these people.

First impression: Eric could be the red herring because he was so insistent about not leaving the house, but the Socialist in me thinks it should be Sir Phillip Cross in his swank new job (I’m not really a socialist, I just like to Damn The Man here and there). I would take Father Bob on a redemption tour and I’ve no idea about the Wiltons; maybe something to do with football and bad kids in the neighbourhood? At any rate, we’ve got all our players; let’s find out who did it!