It's getting so tense on Unforgotten, I almost forgot to moon over Nicola Walker's best-half-smile or Sanjeev Bhaskar's lustrous locks...ALMOST. Rolling our penultimate episode of our third series of cold case corruption of the soul, I was just thinking that I like this series the best so far. Season two had some standout performances (Mark Bonnar stole it like he drove it) but it was almost impossible to sympathize with/understand the victim and that's sort of key for me most of the time. We're into it after the break!
We open where we left off, with poor hapless Peter Carr (Neil Morrissey) dying from a stab wound after he was outed online as a prime suspect in the disappearance of Hayley Reid, whose remains have recently been found.
Medics work to revive Peter while our DCI Cassie Stuart (Nicola Walker!) shares a meal with hunky John Bentley (Alastair Mackenzie), the original detective on Hayley's disappearance.
The copper (Warren Sollars with an intriguing nose) on the scene calls in Pete's attack while John tries to convince Cassie to forgive herself for misplacing Pete's police file.
Cassie's been a copper for 28 years? When did she start, in middle school??
She's contemplating doing something else, but there's nothing like police work, he gently reminds her. He was sectioned out (made redundant?) but what he did and what she does is help restore order to the world.
Pete's wife Maria (Indra Ové) runs into the hospital while John and Cassie try out their North Dakota accents. A lovely goodnight later.
And DI Sunny Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar) calls with the bad news.
I'd completely got the wrong end of the stick last week, Pete's fine, he's gonna make it and they already caught the guy who stabbed him. It wasn't fellow suspect James Hollis (Kevin McNally) or even Dr. Tim Finch (Alex Jennings), but rather a local whackjob with ties to a local far right group. Those were their words!! Regardless, it seems our blogger Sandra Rayworth (Tori Allen-Martin) will be on the hook for that attack, given her posts that they'll say incited peeps to anger.
James himself is back in interview with Cassie and Sunny, he's pretty collected given that he lied every single time he opened his mouth last time he was there. They can call that Perverting the Course of Justice, can't they?
*I have my PHD in British crime dramas
James bluffs his way through, he didn't tell THE POLICE the truth because they might have leaked it. I'm pretttttty sure that's not how being interviewed by the police works, James.
James pffts and pffts until his son Eliot (Tom Rhys Harries) is brought up and his world gets small. How old was Eliot at the time of the murder? Almost 16, with a history of drug use and stealing his dad's car. Was Eliot driving the black car with tow bar that night?
And why did James call Eliot a little boy when he was practically an adult?
Hold on. We can't call Eliot "an adult for all intents and purposes" at almost-16 when they already called 16-year-old Hayley a child.
REGARDLESS: Eliot is a viable suspect and James knows it (and much more he's not sharing with us yet), so his solicitor Linda Cray (Buckso Dhillon-Woolley) shuts down the interview.
James runs into Tim as he's leaving the station, it's the doctor's turn on the hot seat. He blames everything on James insisting on collusion, which we saw, all to protect...Tim gives up the info Pete shared with him easy peasy. Pete saw Eliot climbing in the upstairs window at 2 am *meaningful stare at detectives*
He's so full of shite.
We're back briefing the gang at the station, DS Murray Boulting (Jordan Long) has been digging into Eliot's life online where he's turned up a resume listing some UK construction site work.
Time for a deep dive into everyone's accounting histories!
Maria's sorry she asked for a divorce for her husband that is almost dead, she knows he's a good man.
DC Fran Lingely (Carolina Main) has cracked the code Hayley used in her diary, it seems Hayley was both sexually active and using drugs periodically. Fran thinks Hayley was meeting up with her dealer "G" the night she went missing, now they need to find out who that is.
Artist and suspect Chris Lowe (James Fleet) finally checks in with his sort-of-fiancee Jamila Faruk (Sasha Behar), who isn't picking up. Probably because she's in hiding with her young son after she found out about Chris's history on "child abuse" websites. He implores her to not think he's a bad man.
It's Chris's turn for an interview with Cassie and Sunny, let me see if I can paraphrase his recounting of his night:
"Bullshit bullshit bullshiiiiiittt personal event bullshit walking around bulllllllshit and then I fell asleep."
He details his sharp turn downhill, within 4 months his life was over and he'd lost everything that had meant anything to him. But he was innocent.
Here I'm stuck because I can't tell if he's not a great actor or he's lying through his teeth. Either way, something in the milk ain't clean.
Murray interviews James Hollis' ex-wife Mel (Sara Stewart in a positively delicious role), does she remember who packed the trailer? That creeps her the eff oot, but then she remembers the time James (or her son?) told her he hit a deer...Mel draws the line at detailing where her son was sleeping that night, her vendetta against her husband has borne unwanted fruit.
Chris repeats his claims of innocence over and over, starting to stutter but apparently did manage to prove as much, getting a record deletion and the charges dropped. Huh. Not like he bought his innocence or anything.
Chris lived in homeless shelters for the next 6 years until Tim saved him with his own van and presumably medication for his illness. So that's his explanation for lying to the police, he'd been burned hard by an unfortunate circumstance, why would he trust it wouldn't happen again.
BUT someone framing you for accessing "child abuse" websites isn't an unfortunate circumstance or a twist of fate; what the hell?
Again, I can't tell if bad acting or he's meant to look as though he's lying through his teeth.
DC Jake Collier (Lewis Reeves) gets a call as Maria is approached by young Dr. Walsh (Ash Rizi - a lovely Irish accent, brought me right back to The Fall!) with...not great news.
Peter Carr died after all. What??
Was Tim in there at any time? I could see him slipping Pete something to give him a heart attack, absolutely.
Cassie breaks down in the bathroom then collects herself to walk through the station while everyone watches. She calls Maria to apologize, ah it's so terrible.
I feel much worse for Cassie than Maria but then there are the children.
Sandra Rayworth is arrested as all our remaining suspects and the family of our victim watch the news reporting on Pete's death.
Cassie's dad Martin (Peter Egan) picks THIS MOMENT to explain that he's moving in with his odious girlfriend Jenny, great f***ing timing, DAD.
Sunny is meeting with his ex-wife Usha (Shobu Kapoor) who left to be with her "soulmate" lo those many years ago.
*Not that it matters, but I don't think leaving is a bad thing. I just don't believe in soulmates
Usha would like to come back, even though Sunny has finally found happiness with his new girlfriend Sal. Maybe they should ask the girls, suggests Usha, which is bulllllshit. Kids do not get to decide who parents stay with or date, forgeeeettttt that. And that's incredibly manipulative of her to suggest that. #TeamSunnySal
Sandra Rayworth is in interview with Fran, she reads over Sandra's blog post directing people to take justice into their own hands and posting his work address with a picture. Jaysus.
Sandra wasn't trying to get Pete killed, she just wanted a job! She has a journalism degree worth 50k and not one job in that field, despite her ability to write clickbait like nobody's business. She was just trying to shock people, that's what it takes!
Well you might write recaps for three years and one day someone like an actor with a full head of lustrous locks might read one of your recaps and comment. It could happen!
Cassie is on mandatory referral because of Pete's death, but the Reid family want her to stay on the case.
One of Tim's daughters wasn't quite as vocally supportive as the other with the police, now we're about to find out why. Emma Finch (Jo Herbert) wants to know if her dad hit her mum. He denies it, but we're still quite unsure if he's lying or not.
James has finally found his son; Eliot is passed out in a flophouse. He wants the truth! He'll lie for him, cover up however he can, but he needs to know! Did Eliot hit Hayley with his dad's car then bring her body back up to London?
No, I don't believe he did and Eliot seems to realise it at the very same time. All those wasted years doing penance for something he didn't do.
Jake's found the G drug dealer, he'll be round shortly! But first: James and Eliot are here for a voluntary interview. Cassie is confused.
James lays it out for the detectives, for the last 18 years he has believed that Eliot killed Hayley and that her body was washed out to sea. But Eliot went back early for a ski trip, there is no way he could have brought her body back with him to London to bury her. So James, in trying to protect his son from the consequences of his own actions, and by believing the very worst about him at the same time feels he has completely ruined his son's life. For no reason at all.
Chris and Jamila's reunion doesn't go well, she's leery of him and his history. He suggests that she remember that sometimes like can be randomly cruel as it can also be wonderful, but she's too busy crying to hear that past part.
Eliot ditches his dad immediately after the interview, this time James lets him go.
Cassie explains the updates to John COULD HE HAVE DONE IT??
He's heading back to Middlewhatsit, can he call her? No, *carefully closing door*, she's got too much on. But he'll call anyway.
Emma Finch couldn't leave it alone, she drove 5 hours to see her mum and ask if the photos were real. They were indeed. Derran (Siobhan Redmond) kept meticulous records.
G, aka Gandalf aka Nigel (Fergus O'Donnell) confirms that Hayley came to his house on New Year's Eve to buy drugs just after 11 and then they left together. Her most likely route to her party was by the woods, so away from where James and Eliot were and in the neighbourhood of Chris Lowe and Tim Finch.
By the by, the detectives who investigated Chris figured that the initial investigation was "flawed" and he lost everything for nothing.
Woooo I told you it was Tim!!
Guess who got a speeding ticket the third of January?? 6 miles out of Middlewhatsit on his way to London!
Tim is arrested at his home with a crowd of people while his wife Carol (Amanda Root) watches.
The house is searched and Tim is brought in once again for questioning. He blames the return trip to Middleofnowhere on a laptop left behind and just as we're grinding down to the smalls, Jake interrupts.
In the search, they turned up a necklace with a LOT of hair on it, a scrunchie and a pair of knickers.
Dr. Tim is a serial killer?
I almost feel too overconfident, Unforgotten loves to wring out a last minute twist so my solid suspect might run away yet. The thing is: Dr. Tim could have easily killed Pete in the hospital and lied about what Pete said he saw. He's certainly been the one keeping the group together, hasn't he? Could he have set up Chris? Let's find out next week!
As always, Nicola Walker left me in little pieces with her performance of up and down and sorrow but so much pain. Kudos as well to Tori Allen-Martin, she made the most of her 30 seconds of screentime, very impressive.