Welcome back to Unforgotten where we're thisclose, I mean THISCLOSE to finding out cause of death! I know!! It's going to be miserable and we're going to feel terrible for our suspects when they truth comes out, so we have to enjoy the excitement of these baby steps while we can. Because it's always like that, isn't it? Never a clean win, except maybe series 3. Forget that guy, for real. Anyway! Rolling into my recap of Unforgotten S4:E1.4 where we find out how MKW lost his head.
It's only because we know there's a cause of death pending that we're going to lark about with personal stuff first. DCI Cassie Stuart (the incomparable Nicola Walker - absolutely awesome) sent her son Adam Stuart (Jassa Ahluwalia) out with her dad Martin (Peter Egan) to find out why he's disowned his grandson in favour of his new loudmouthed girlfriend. Cassie is convinced loudmouth Jenny has exerted some type of undue influence but Adam's pretty sure his grandad knows what he's doing. Martin is fighting rapid-onset Alzheimer's, he's giving Jenny the house as a thank you for caring for him in his final days.
He's...quite alive at the moment, it must be shared. And just as grouchy as ever, yaaaay.
Across town, Cassie's deputy, DI Sunil 'Sunny' Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar who brightens everything he's in) has just moved in with his girlfriend Sal (Michelle Bonnard), although it was her who did all the moving while he was working.
They look happy.
We've got a bit of an uneven family dynamic at the next house we visit; murder suspect Dean Barton (Andy Nyman) is almost always focused on his differently abled kiddo Jack (Rory Averdieck), leaving his younger son Casper (Jacob Lang) feeling left out in the cold with his Oscar Wilde Award that nobody watched him win.
So, last time DC Jake Collier (Lewis Reeves) found the head and hands of our long-dead victim Mathew Kieran Walsh, those parts are in the lab with Dr. Leanne Balcombe (Georgia MacKenzie) looking very different. MKW's body was kept in a freezer for 30 or so-odd years, but his head and hands were kept in an unplugged fridge in a storage locker. Those bits are mummified. They do show signs of our least-favourite possible cause of death - blunt force trauma, it could literally be anything.
However! There is something unusual that a botanist is interested in, new lead there!
(What?? It's totally normal to have a sliding scale of favourite to least favourite fictional causes of death)
DC Fran Lingely (Carolina Main) is hot on the trail of Matthew's next of kin, a brother named Clive who once stayed at a skid row hotel a couple of decades previously. Hey! Sometimes you get lucky! (I bet a lot of times people got lucky in that particular hotel). Not only do they have records of Clive, they also know where he's currently living because that doesn't strain credulity whatsoever.
Cassie and Sunny leave the police station talking together and I have no idea what they're saying because I'm fixated on his backpack. There's a whole thing about it, "What's In Sunny's Backpack?" but I don't understand why our lovely cultured grown Sunny is wearing a backpack, and by one strap. I feel as though it would make more sense if he had both straps on, that might look more symmetrical next to his silk patterned tie.
Something something why were five new cops involved in a murder?
To be frank: we don't know that they were, exactly. Cassie and Sunny were able to trace a body found in a freezer back to a former police officer who was arrested for DUI the night he both became a cop and ended his career. That was also the night our victim was last seen. Four other young coppers in the car at the time of the DUI, Cassie wants to know if any of them were involved in the murder SHE DOESN'T EVEN KNOW TOOK PLACE THEN. Although it would be an awful lot of coincidence had it not. Two of the four are still police, so there's that.
One of the four suspects that is not a police still is Fiona Grayson (Liz White) who lied about something bizarre. I didn't pick up on it until I did an audiocap of the first episode and realised she was lying to everyone about not having a family. Why is she lying to her husband and children by telling them she's an orphan and didn't know her family?
She's got more pressing things on her mind, she's meeting other suspect and current police officer Liz Baildon (Susan Lynch) to talk about the case. Discreetly, in the rain in a park. The first thing Liz does is frisk Fiona for a wire and ask to see her phone, she needs to know nothing is being recorded.
It's sort of like looking down the wrong end of a pair of binoculars at the earth, we really don't know what these two are talking about except:
- Something terrible happened at the pub; once the police find out what, they'll be able to connect our suspects
- That something terrible happened to Fiona and the others were protecting/helping her
I'd like to feel as triumphant as Cassie when she finds out about Matthew getting into an altercation at a police bar, but I've a sinking feeling that the something terrible that happened to Fiona was sexual assault and I absolutely hate that.
Cassie and Sunny interview Ian Henderson (Ian Burfield) together; he trained all our suspects; he has all sorts of opinions about DCI Ram Sidhu (Phaldut Sharma). He says Ram played the race card every day and every way he could, he got away with everything! Sunny...
Now, Dean, on the other hand, was a great copper, analytical and a good team player. Not so much outside of work, however. More of a secretive loner. Rob Fogerty, who had been holding onto Mathew Kieran Walsh's body for three decades, was a gentle giant, Liz a capable motivator. They all five formed a gang, including wet blanket Fiona who didn't want to be there nohow.
The only thing Ian saw that united them was: the lack of others. They all had nobody there at the ceremony, and you can see why it's impossible to hate the murderers on Unforgotten. They're all making up for something or overcoming something or both. Except the guy from season three, fuck that guy. Seriously.
Dean and Ram are meeting in the woods while Cassie and Sunny work their interviewing magic, I'm wondering why Ram didn't have anyone at his ceremony. He is still close to his mother and brother, why weren't they involved? We know Dean is estranged, Liz's mum is a nightmare and Fiona's completely written her family out of her past.
Huh. A little while ago, Dean did an illegal run into another country for money, he was helped out by...Ram, it turns out. Did a mention that Ram is a high-ranking police detective, like Cassie? They both swear they're not going to get back into that again, phew.
This is the one single moment I have seen Ram happy ever on this show.
But. He's not happy with his girlfriend; she's pregnant and at risk for birth defects and doesn't want to have the baby and they're at odds about it. And she has his last name. But it was nice to see a tiny spark of joy in our angry, combative Ram.
What? Fran found Matthew's brother, he saw everything and he's ready to talk??
Jaysus, first we've got to try to figure out what the Sam Hill DS Murray Boulting (Jordan Long) is saying to June Marshall (Denise Black) about the fight in the pub when Matthew Walsh was cautioned. He attacked a probationary police officer who was Asian? Beat him up and hurled racial epithets? This must be Ram, but I don't see him taking that laying down and how is this protecting Fiona? SPEAK ENGLISH, MURRAY!
Technically, I'm sure parts of it are English words.
Matthew's brother Clive (David Schofield) did see most things, even if he left out the part where his brother was a violent, racist, would-be-rapist. He saw an "Asian lad" take off after his brother; there's a beautifully sad moment where he contemplates if he had just shown himself, would it have changed anything? He chose to hide; that's why he didn't say anything because he was ashamed.
Cassie is ecstatic to have confirmation that all five suspects got out of the car to follow the victim on foot.
She holds a briefing with her team, newbie DC Karen Willetts (Pippa Nixon) doesn't have a whole lot to add, but there is one thing: Dean didn't really exist, legally, before 1991.
Cassie wants to go hard on Ram right skippy, Sunny thinks sewing up their ideas with some eyewitness backup is a better plan but Cassie wants Ram in NOW. Sunny and I see how difficult Ram is going to make this, how hard he's going to fight. In a way, he's been training for this confrontation his whole police career. He's definitely been trying to prove something just as long.
(I know we're supposed to hate Ram and his cocky, arrogant ways, but I haven't lived that life. I've never had to deal with casual and systemic racism. I don't know what that would do to me and how I would react. NOT THAT I'M SAYING MURDER IS OKAY)
You know when you and your partner are not only on different pages; you're in bookstores across the street from each other, perhaps in different cities? Cassie has been living with John Bentley (Alistair MacKenzie) but he's being transferred to another area. To him, this is a step forward into growth, they're going to sell the house Cassie owns with her dad and buy a house together in this new place. Cassie hasn't even fully committed to selling the house in her mind, she still wants to talk her dad into leaving his equity to his grandson instead of his new girlfriend. Selling the house while Cassie's dad is set on the current path means Cassie's son Adam will get nothing.
So while John's printing off house listings, Cassie's wishing he would go away so she could pretend she's never selling the house and isn't being slowed down from attacking one Ram Sidhu.
Dean gets home from his meeting in the woods with Ram to find his wife Marnie (Lucy Speed) wanting to talk. She heard the police were sniffing around, but he assures her it has nothing to do with "that." "That" will never ever be a problem so we now know it's already a problem.
Ram is affability himself in interview with Cassie and Sunny; Sunny takes the lead in questioning while Cassie stares at her fellow DCI and tries to get his measure. He's much calmer with more than one person in the room but he smiles more too, which seems insincere.
We do finally get his flashback, though.
Who had glasses? Rob? The gentle giant?
Cassie presses him on his recollection of not getting out of the car, recounting the eyewitness statement where an Asian lad got out of the car. Ram brings up what I've been wondering; is there just ONE Asian police officer in all of Britain and now two?
This is what Sunny and I were worried about. They're not ready, they're not prepared, they have nothing on him, or any of them, really.
That isn't to say that they're not RIGHT. They just have zero evidence tying anyone definitively to the crime so they're staring down a narrow funnel.
Everything is upside down on Unforgotten, it always is and now we've got housekeeper Eugenia (Mina Andala) blackmailing Liz Baildon for her overdue gas bill of 287 pounds and a living wage of 9 pounds an hour. It's backwards because Eugenia feels worse about it than we do, she'd really like to not have to resort to this but here we are. She's caring for Liz's nightmare of a mother who told Eugenia what Liz has done.
Fiona has come home to tell her secrets. Her husband Geoff Thomlinson (Daniel Flynn) received a call from his slimy brother about her reticence to have her name on legal documents. She must not have given him what he wanted in return for his slimy silence. Her reason for wanting the name change had nothing to do with possibly killing Matthew Walsh, surprising all of us.
She was speeding and hit another car which may have been on the wrong side of the road; a toddler in the back in an incorrectly-fastened seatbelt was killed in impact. The amount of detail she gives...makes us wonder if these are the facts she recites back to herself when she can't sleep.
Her husband can't believe they've been together for 17 years and she's kept this secret the whole time. How do you do that and stay sane? Well. What else hasn't she told him?
(Maybe you should tell him about your family, Fi; and get out ahead of this Matthew Kieran Walsh thing.)
She does not.
Dean's not as good at keeping secrets as Fiona, his wife Marnie could smell it on him. She's known all along that his mother is actually alive but hidden away and that he was messing about in Calais the other day with stolen goods. She can't take the lies any more.
So we were all wondering about drinking when Fiona was telling her dangerous driving story; but it didn't come up. DI Newb dug up the police report and found that police on the scene smelled alcohol but were unable to administer a test because of how hysterical Fiona was. Her blood was taken at the same police station where Fiona's pal Liz Baildon happened to work. Then that blood sample was misplaced.
Cassie and Sunny ponder; was this a coincidence? A case of Liz and Fiona being romantic partners or some kind of blackmail scenario? Sunny says he knows which one he'd bet on but I don't. Liz kissed Fiona twice on her head with great affection, but I don't know if I saw a romantic connection.
Ah things are complicated with our Ram at home. His wife Anna (Clare Calbraith!! From Home Fires!) is pregnant and tests have now confirmed that the child will have some sort of birth defect. She did not want to raise what she thought of as an imperfect child, but he didn't agree. Now he can see that he may not be around to help raise this child, he sees her point of view. They cry together; they were both trying to reach each other's viewpoints and all they found is sadness.
DC Jake finds the spot where Matthew most likely died while Dr. Balcombe shows us how. There was a metal spike through Matthew's head, I think probably rebar? That would make sense given there was brick dust on his head too. So we've either got an accident that happened during a drunken chase or a brutal and violent murder.
I would like to vote for accident but I don't think that would fit the brief of Unforgotten. We're out for now, until next time! Cheers.