“You might put me in prison but let me tell you this: you can’t judge me unless you’ve had it done to you.”
Blimey, I knew Unforgotten was good (here’s my Episode 1 review, and my Series 1 review) but I wasn’t expecting it to be this soul-shatteringly excellent. More fool me I suppose, Nicola Walker is a god among mortals and her presence alone is reliably proving a harbinger of excellence, but allied to Chris Lang’s scorching writing, it’s hard to imagine that we’ll see much better television than this before the year is out.
That it managed this by using elements that have been seen recently (historical child sex abuse as per Line of Duty; the Strangers on a Train twist featured in Silent Witness just last month) and imbuing them with a compelling freshness is impressive enough, but the way in which it revealed this at the mid-point of the series and yet still had hooks and surprises aplenty to keep me gripped right until the bitterly haunting end.
At its heart was a trio of devastating performances from Badria Timimi, Rosie Cavaliero and Mark Bonnar, gradually unpeeling the layers of shocking damage perpetrated on them in their youth and how their entire lives were impacted in one way or another. And Adeel Akhtar, Nigel Lindsay and Charlie Condou as their partners respectively, finding out the truth at pretty much the same time as us, provided a great route into the unfolding mysteries of the case.
And investigating, Walker’s DCI Stuart and Sanjeev Bhaskar’s DS Khan offering contrasting views on the ethical certainties of digging into such cases, the nature of moral relativism of punishment and, in one of the much-needed lighter moments, the importance of being able to deal with misguided drunken sexual advances in the best possible way. Brutally affecting in the final analysis and superbly acted, there’s no danger of forgetting just how good Unforgotten is – commission series 3 now!