Unforgotten S5:E01 Game On Recap

Well now, who said Unforgotten is back on our TV screens? You did? Yay! Thanks for the heads up, internet! I know I did a hard flounce at the end of series 4 when we lost our beloved Cassie Stuart but you know what? We still have DI Sunny Khan and writer Chris Lang and that is good enough for me! Rolling into my recap of Unforgotten 5.1 Game On after the break!

We open in Hammersmith, London on a sunny day (do you really have those in England?) where a home renovation is about to turn into our latest cold case. A severed leg falls out of a chimney, WHY would anyone touch that?? Put that down, construction worker guy! Anything you can see with toes: for the police only.

Our DI Sunil ‘Sunny’ Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar! Big fan) answers the phone in another bewilderingly sunny part of England, DC Fran Lingely (Carolina Main from Blood, an Irish drama I recommend) informs him of their new case. Should she call DCI Jess James (Sinéad Keenan) as well? I guess they should.

*I have to interject that only someone unfamiliar with American educational films of the adult subgenre would choose that particular name for a character.

Sunny looks down to see he’s ordered two coffees, one must be for our lost DCI Cassie Stuart (Nicola Walker) who died randomly and nonsensically at the end of the last series FOR NO REASON.

*One day, I will get over that. I do not yet know if this day is that day, my friend.

Ah. It seems our Jess James shares some things with our late Cassie, her marriage is ending, but right now, as we’re watching. Her wanker of an ex (of course he’s a wanker, she’s our DCI) Steve James (Andrew Lancel) is leaving because he has a new someone whose name he’s chosen not to share with Jess at this time.

He must know she will find out, she’s our DCI!

Ah but she put her hands on him, trying to get a name and reason out of him and I understand she is frustrated and blindsided but now I get why he says “let me GO!” so passionately.

Unexplained Vignette 1: a man reads texts in English to his co-worker from his co-worker’s phone in an unidentified language: someone is coming soon with lots of hugs and kisses for the  furry blond co-worker!

The construction worker guy touching the severed leg rather too much is Scott (Zephryn Taitte) and he shows DC Fran and DI Sunny the chimney mess. There’s just one forensic person in a very dim room, it’s very: tell me you’re not a North American show without telling me you’re not a North American show.

DCI Jess rolls up and takes over the crime scene, much to the dismay of homeowner Paul Bradley (Daniel Boys), her first order is to have the chimney taken apart. Sunny and Fran just look at each other.

Unexplained Vignette 2: a woman wearing AirPods is mugged for her purse, punched and falling to the ground before she is found in a pool of blood by a youngish man who does nothing to stop the mugger. He calls someone.

Dr. Leanne Balcombe (Georgia MacKenzie) is our forensic person, but she can’t tell us much yet. Sunny and Jess seem to be at odds already, her making fun of his asking if the person in the chimney was possibly a Victorian child chimneysweep.

I mean, IT COULD BE.

It’s an awfully quiet ride back to the nick for Sunny and Jess, none of the problem work-shopping Sunny was used to with Cassie.

*Yes, I will be bringing her up all the time, thanks for asking!

To be fair to Jess, her entire home life fell apart an hour before the first day of her new job. She apologizes for forgetting an entire grown man is next to her, Sunny thanks her.

She hopes to fill Cassie’s boots and to do it justice, but we’ll see. Cassie certainly never flexed for the sake of flexing and she didn’t ever forget SUNNY was right there and.

Okay, stopping, l promise!

Our mugger from UV2 Jay Royce (Rhys Yates) spends some ill-gotten gains on orange drink and instant Ramen, remember when we thought using the tap would steal all our money? And then the pandemic happened and we realised touching a germy console was worse? I think now we can go back to worrying about tap again.

It’s a quiet welcome to Jess’s first day at the office, Sunny says there have been two interim DCIs since Cassie, so there “shouldn’t be too many ghosts.”

We all wince.

Huh. It would seem the newest Detective Chief Inspector (I sure hope that’s what DCI means) of the historical cases team would like nothing more than to not have her team work on…historical cases. Sunny gently argues that the team could perhaps work on both historical and present cases at the same time but Jess writes that off as unrealistic pap.

*Sorry, someone tell me again why Sunny isn’t the newest DCI?

We go to Westminster for Unexplained Vignette 3 so Lord Tony Hume (Ian McElhinney) can talk with Rashid Ghulam (Nabil Elouahabi) about his multiple growths.

Now hold on, it’s Dr. Rashid Ghulam, why isn’t it listed like that in IMDb? I knew he must be, he had that air. We’ve got everyone else’s full titles in there, what’s up?

Unexplained Vignette 4 is in Bath, Somerset, with Ebele Falade (Martina Laird) front of house at a very busy restaurant while her fella Dave Adams (Mark Frost) cooks and runs the hot kitchen. They relax after, she will be attending what sounds like an investor’s meeting shortly, but he will not.

Sunny calls his partner Sal (Michelle Bonnard) who tells him maybe his new boss is onto something, maybe he (and we) need to be looking forward instead of moping around in the past all the time.

That’s unfortunate timing. Not likely to be Unforgotten any time soon.

Lord Tony Hume, you’re dying and you look like the weight of the world is on you, perhaps you should confess something awful involving our long-deceased young woman they’ve now completely removed from the chimney.

Dr. Balcombe can tell it’s a tiny grown woman between the ages of 30-60, but not much else. Jess wonders about the drywall / plasterboard, she sends Sunny to look into that.

She’s mostly hoping to clear the case off her books immediately because the materials look old. She would also like to find out who her ‘dirtbag husband’ is having an affair with, that’s priority 2.

I’m not sure why we’re following mugger Jay from UV2 around as he sells and buys things, but I suppose we could all use a primer on the disembodied tattooed forearms of the fictional criminal underground in London.

The translator from UV1 is Karol Wojski (Max Rinehart) and we watch him leave work to set up two phones for what must be a French UBER-type company. Hard working fella!

DS Murray Boulting (Jordan Long) hasn’t said a word yet, but he is tasked with recovering the drywall for analysis so maybe soon he’ll get some lines.

UV2’s Jay gets home from a long day of low-level criminal activity to set up his lady love Cheryl (Hebe Beardsall) with the drugs she so badly needs, they both look immediately very relaxed after his ministrations.

Ebele from UV4 wrangled Dave into coming with her to the sales pitch meeting, atta girl!

Jess drinks win with her mum Kate (Kate Robbins), what’s she going to do? She’s not the sort of person who can ‘forgive this sort of crap.” Maybe forgive, but never forget, but who knows if Steve even wants to? Is everything over? Her normal-seeming happy-seeming marriage dead as of ten hours ago?

She thinks if this is it, she will have to resign. She’ll have to take something with less pressure.

Her mum drinks wine and looks upset. That’s pretty much my support playbook in a nutshell but with tea. Sometimes I throw in a ‘that’s bonkers!’

Karol (UV1) talks to HIS mum Rebecca (Maria Friedman) who has figured out what to do about his still being single, he jumps right off the phone without even listening!

Lord Tony (UV4) loses a rousing game of ping pong at a rec center to a young Black kiddo while other young Black men watch, what is the whitest Tony in the world doing there looking so comfortable?

Sunny is home late from work and not answering the phone, Sal, because he’s nowhere near ready to give up the past. He’s at the cemetery, communing with Cassie’s gravestone.

*Okay Sunny, I’m not moving on either!!

How long was he out there?! He’s two hours late for dinner! And it was an important one, too, Sal had champagne. This is very bad. Perhaps focus on the present should have some sort of priority. Sal says it’s okay when it’s not.

Now Cheryl (UV2) is overdosing, her doting boyfriend calls the ambulance and presumably hides all the drugs he got for her that she hadn’t managed to ingest yet.

I’m sorry. That was mean. Sometimes it’s hard to know how to support those you love. Things are always more complex than a quick slogan will explain.

Single Karol (UV1) gets home to bed with his boyfriend, I’m guessing his parents are not down with the alphabet mafia and more fool them.

Fran has been looking into the little bit of clothing found on our historical case, and Dr. Balcombe has news for us! Gosh, it really is a tiny little skeleton for a grown person between 28-40 who gave birth to someone who is possibly still alive.

There’s not much for hard fact, there is a possibility of retrieving fingerprints through an expensive hydration technique but Jess will be having none of that. She stopped Dr. Balcombe at ‘expensive.’

Jess has to leave to go berate her estranged husband into discussing his affair on cell phones within earshot of constables, he declines.

Ebele and Dave (UV4) are knocking it out of the park at their sales pitch, can restaurant Tinhu do the same thing at ten offshoots? Ebele tells investors Seema (Nimmi Harasgama) and Tai (Johnny Ong) they sure can but they want Dave’s input. Dave is more honest and a whole lot more negative.

The ride home is very screamy until Ebele takes a philosophical disagreement and makes it physical by punching Dave in the face as.he’s.driving. He pulls over on the side of the road and walks away into the woods.

There was a whole lot there, she met him when he lived in a tent? She’s got some ongoing issues they’re not allowed to discuss that make her punchy? Later Ebele calls her sponsor, she wants to drink really really badly because she hates him ‘again.’ Hm.

Sunny discusses the history of our crimescene with DC Karen Willetts (Pippa Nixon), there was a spinster in residence until 1979 (really? Spinster?) and a Garton family and then DCI Jess walks up and craps all over everything.

“This isn’t therapy” she tells Sunny, before swallowing some of her words and informing them that the case is at least ’55 fu***ng years old’ so they won’t be investigating further. I mean, I know she’s going through a rough time right now but she seems to be going out of her way to be an arsehole, isn’t she?

In fact, I dislike her so much that I think she took the plasterboard sampling from Boulting so she could NOT do the sampling and torpedo the case.

Take THAT, DCI Jess James!

Everyone looks scared and alarmed except Jess, who is steaming still in her office.

Lord Tony (UV4) finally gets home to his estate after having to stop and puke on the side of the road, his wife Lady Emma Hume (Hayley Mills!!!!!!!!! From The Parent Trap!! She’s a LEGEND!) is waiting and happy to see him.

Young Cheryl from UV2 is greeted with frustration outside the emergency room by Jay, why did she do that?? He can help her be safe!


Sunny works on his resignation letter but pauses to listen to Fran’s whispered news about the dress label she was investigating. They both don’t want to be heard by Jess, but the news is good! The dress was definitely vintage and purchased less than 6 years previously.

Sunny saves his resignation letter and heads into the lion’s den to discuss the new evidence.

I mean, what were they going to do? Surely they couldn’t match the empathy, the quiet wit of Nicola Walker’s Cassie Stuart, so of course they went the other way. I would just like a two page brief on my desk by tomorrow as to exactly WHY Sunny wasn’t promoted, there’s a good showrunner, fanks.


Jess is combative and disbelieving, she asks if it’s her fault the plasterboard doesn’t match the rest of this evidence? Oh and by the way, did Sunny apply for her job? No.

*I literally hollered. Nevermind, showrunner, as you were!

Sunny has to calm himself by repairing to the washroom where he works off some aggression by kicking stall doors. Wow. This is a very interesting arc for Sunny and for Sanjeev Bhaskar. I like the depth we’re seeing here, Sunny has mostly been a lovely foil but now. Now. I’m glad I finally found it was on again, cheers, everyone!