TV Review: Unforgotten Series 5, Episode 1

Unforgotten dares to try and carry on without Nicola Walker’s DCI Cassie Stuart – can this fifth series work?

“Then I’d say it’s game on”

Just a quickie for this first episode of the fifth series of Unforgotten as I’ve just about gotten over the untimely demise of DCI Cassie Stuart last time round, a sad farewell to Nicola Walker’s iconic work alongside Sanjeev Bhaskar’s DI Sunny Khan at the heart of Chris Lang’s cold-case crime series. The team is still grieving and a parade of interim bosses has given way to the arrival of DCI Jessie James (Sinéad Keenan) who looks set to ruffle the feathers of all concerned.

For my liking, there was a little too much attention on James’ personal life in setting her up as a character. Part of the joy of Unforgiven has been its continuing focus on the victims – both living and dead – of the terrible crimes that it uncovers. And after this first episode, we’re still quite a way away from knowing anything about the body discovered in a chimney breast and the connections that are set to unfold betwee the disparate sets of characters we’ve met throughout.

I’ve no problem with the long game (or the however long you want game, since the whole show is now available to stream) but I found I had limited patience for Andrew Lancel’s philandering Steve, given we know so little about Jessie at the moment. But the nods to Cassie’s absence were beautifully essayed through Bhaskar’s pained performance and there’s a thrilling set of actors – Martina Laird, Ian McElhinney, Hayley Mills and more – set to be put through the wringer. I’ll be enjoying this week-by-week I think, and hoping for more Daniel Boys, but it seems like there is life after Nicola Walker after all…

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