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PBS Masterpiece Theater - "Unforgotten"

I just watched the first episode of this Crime Drama last night:

 

"Two stone-cold cases of murder test the wits of crime-solving duo DCI Cassie Stuart and DS Sunny Khan, played by Nicola Walker (Last Tango in Halifax) and Sanjeev Bhaskar (Indian Summers), in back-to-back seasons of the critically acclaimed UK crime series Unforgotten."

Since the one murder took place in the 1970s, it gives them the opportunity to use flashbacks & 2 casts, similar to "This is Us". The big thing last night was finding the victim's address book, and investigating the people listed in it. You begin to realize they're all connected somehow .. but how?!

 

Very suspenseful!!


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What did you think of the finale of "season 2" of Unforgotten? I loved all the complexity of the storyline, and that they solved it to be a "strangers on a train" situation with 3 deaths .. not just the original one. But after all that, it seemed a letdown - albeit a fair thing to do - that Cassie & Sunny decided there wasn't enough proof to bring any indictments. Nothing with the shock value of discovering Claire Slater the murderer in "season 1", and digging up multiple bodies in the backyard.

 

This ending also left a lot of things up in the air. Only nurse Marion Kelsey & her sister seemed reconciled; although they were both angry at their mother. Colin still had to deal with the birth mother's/father's extortion, although we can assume the adoption wouldn't be derailed when the investigation was dropped. We certainly don't know what happens with Sara Mahmoud; her relationship with her sons or that opportunity to become head mistress at a school.


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@ASTRAEA

 

It certainly was one of the strangest mystery shows ever. The ending was still harsh, and after all three suspects had been forced to make confessions about their past, they all had to go back for a second time with even more details and presumably their roles in the various murders. 

 

I was glad that Cassie and Sunny decided to drop the investigation for lack of evidence, not to mention the two missing bodies! It did leave a lot of unfinished business with all of the characters.

 

I think that Colin's story to Cassie was the game changer for her, and he said that Marion and Sara had it even worse. She was obviously sickened by whole thing. Who wouldn't be?

 

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@ASTRAEA, @MaVolta, Wow!

   I couldn't crochet at all since I knew I had to pay close attention. Sometimes the "British mumble" gets the best of me.

It was for the best that they dropped the investigation. Those three poor souls had enough to deal with after it was all upturned.

   I have to settle things, so in my own mind, Sara will be fine as her husband was really good about dealing with the chaos, and then her dad showing up might be a good thing, too. Not sure about her kids, and she can kiss the school position good-bye probably.

   Still sticking with my own way of settling things, I think Marion will be OK, too. Her husband seems to be reasonable and caring and she has repaired her bond with her sister.

   Colin's situation, on the other hand, is iffy. If the case is dropped, and Janet, the social worker, is as nice as she seems, then maybe Colin can stay with Simon and the little girl...was her name Flo? Otherwise Simon will be a single dad. Cat Sad

   There were still other things I had questions about, but I can't remember them all. Oh, Like Cassie's dad...the letter the cheater wrote was a nice touch.

   I wanted this mystery to go on and explain more stuff, but I guess I just have to speculate. Cat Tongue N.

 

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@catwoman500 - Sometimes I also have problems with the mumbling, and Scottish accents can be tricky when the characters speak so fast that that my brain can't decipher it that quickly! Cat Frustrated

I often resort to turning on closed captions. 

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@MaVoltawrote:

@catwoman500 - Sometimes I also have problems with the mumbling, and Scottish accents can be tricky when the characters speak so fast that that my brain can't decipher it that quickly! Cat Frustrated

I often resort to turning on closed captions. 


Darn, why didn't I think of the closed captions; I had more trouble with this episode than previous ones, understanding everything they said .. and not just Colin!


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@MaVolta, YES! That Scottish brogue is sometimes even worse than the regular mumble.

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Finally caught up with this one last night. It is an interesting format. There are characters spread out all over England that are somehow connected to a decades old, unsolved murder case. It is difficult to keep up with them all. Some of the more prominent accents are a little hard to decipher. I had to replay a few of them. 

 

So we have a victim from 1990 found in a suitcase with a stab to the chest who may have had mental issues, but was also a party-person and possibly connected to a prostitute. The former prostitute is now a many years respectable educator. There are the two sisters who don't get along, one being the nurse, the former spouse of the victim who was a former DI, the son who seems to have mental issues also, a barrister with a new family, and an outlier doing a shakedown on the barrister. Then there is the Cath character that I haven't figured out yet. (Yes, I did notice that she was Sr Mary Cynthia!) One needs a score card to keep up!

 

DI Stuart and DS Khan do not seem convinced that the former spouse is telling everything that she knows. Most everyone questioned lies until confronted with evidence that they did indeed have a connection to the victim.

 

I love the way they use modern technology to let found objects tell their story.

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@MaVolta - Thanks for mentioning the gay couple in the process of adopting that little girl! That seemed so disconnected .. but a whole story in itself! I thought that especially considering that one's a barrister, it was very dumb to indulge in keying the anti-gay driver's car. And even dumber not to have gone to authorities he has to know personally in his position about the "shake down".

 

Am I being too rational & hard on people, when I say that on TV crime series, these seasoned members of law enforcement often seem to make incredibly dumb decisions in their personal lives? Although they certainly have the inside track on who's knowledgeable & can help them with a problem, they tell no one & try to handle things on their own .. usually breaking the law themselves. It rarely ends well!


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@ASTRAEA, @MaVolta, There was so much in that episode on Sunday. I had completely forgotten about the barrister and his partner with their little girl! It certainly did seem like an entirely different storyline from the rest of the episode. N.

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@ASTRAEA 

@catwoman500

 

I think it just goes to show that even well educated, well informed people are human and make bad decisions and use poor judgement, especially when there is a personal connection. It happens all the time.

 

The barrister's connection is going to be an interesting one. It seems that the shakedown guy is the partner of the natural mother of the child adopted by the gay couple. He mentioned that she had cleaned up her drug habit, and he wanted the money to get away, and she would never see the little girl.

 

The barrister mentioned that he was a former banker in the 80's at the time he lived in London, and that his flat had been party central for any number of people. To me, that implies money, drugs, and sex, and a connection to the victim, the prostitute, the little girl's mom, and the barrister. 

 

 

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  I tried so hard to pay more attention last night, but ended up more confused than ever! 

Is there a relationship between Tessa, the widow of the dead David, and the nurse, Marion? I swear it was those 2 that were in the first show at the table with the 2 kids that were then taken to a party just as they were starting to have dinner. Maybe I have that wrong... which is entirely possible with all the characters in this show, but if they are sisters/sisters-in-law, how can Marion say that she didn't know David?

And so many people are keeping secrets from those that are close to them!

Then the whole (are they Muslim?) family falling apart after the youngest hears his dad speaking of the mom, Sara, being a former prostitute.

And why the secret meeting of Colin, the gay lawyer, Sara, and Marion? I really need to watch this again to try to figure out the gaps in my understanding. Cat Frustrated

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@catwoman500 - I'm glad you said that .. I thought that Tessa was Marion's sister too, until last night when they interview Marion's motherm, and the sister is obviously not Tessa!

 

Some of the items we're getting about the suspects have to be red herrings .. like why would a successful gay banker like Colin Osborne just walk out of his job, because of a sexual harassment complaint by a young woman? Maybe you have to be older than Sara Mahmoud's son, to know that telling anyone something like what he overheard, is a very dumb idea .. even if it is to a "best friend"!

 

It makes you wonder about the overall benefit of investigating a 30 year old case, when there are so many family secrets, that the lives of even the suspects found to be innocent are ruined. Sara seems like a suicide candidate, based on what's happening to her .. forget that new job running a school!


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If the show didn't have enough twists and turns already, now we find out that the victim was quite likely an abuser, himself. They are now looking at links to three (I think) places where David worked or volunteered, where children may have been abused. DI Stuart thinks that one of her suspects could have been a victim who got revenge. DC Khan was outraged. 

 

I felt sorry for Sara, that her son found out, and of course, it went from there. Colin's relationship with his partner, the adoption, and possibly his law practice, may be in jeopardy when it's found out that he may have committed a sexual assaul, and ended up in a mental hospital. And Marion's husband is also troubled to learn the truth about her previous life in a lesbian relationship with an IRA terrorist. Tess and her husband, who rightfully has concerns about Tess' son being around his daughter, are also being torn apart. 

 

All of the suspects had a past that they were trying to hide for very legitimate reasons. But then, they all three end up meeting at a bar! Obviously, they know each other from somewhere. If one of them did not commit the crime, they must have some idea of who did. Or were they all three in on it? 

 

I have no idea where they are going from here! 

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This is definitely one of the more complex murder mystery series I've seen in a long time!

 

 

On another topic .. did you guys know that Robson Green ("Grantchester") is hosting a travel series, about the British coastline, and also hosted a series on "Extreme Fishing"?


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@ASTRAEAwrote:

This is definitely one of the more complex murder mystery series I've seen in a long time!

 

 

On another topic .. did you guys know that Robson Green ("Grantchester") is hosting a travel series, about the British coastline, and also hosted a series on "Extreme Fishing"?


@ASTRAEA, No, I did not know that about him. I Googled briefly and see that he has also written a book about Extreme Fishing. Interesting. Not sure I would want to do any extreme fishing although I have fished before. Cat Happy N.

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@ASTRAEA @catwoman500 @MaVolta

 

Enjoyed reading all your comments about "Unforgotten"  boy there are threads everywhere and it is hard to keep them all straight.  I love these British mystery shows and this one is really complex.  There are enough costly mistakes to go around that's for sure and many could have been avoided by the person telling the their family or SO the truth about their past  and not keeping the lie up but sometimes like Astraea said, you wonder how useful it really is to go back and sort everything out and fix blame.. there is plenty of that to go around as well.  

How much do you want to know about someone's past and how much do you want to share.. interesting considerations.

 

 

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WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE NEW CASE IN SEASON 2; THE MAN IN THE SUITCASE?

 

I'm beginning to understand the pattern of this series better. They discover a long-dormant cold-case; this time from the late 1980s .. so not as old as Season 1. Then there are scenes introducing a lot of other characters .. but they seem to have no obvious connection to each other. Then as the investigation progresses, you begin to see the connections those people had at the time of the murder. It's more fascinating, that their characters tend to have changed so much over the intervening years .. like a sex worker getting an advanced education, and now being considered for the position of head of school for troubled students.

 

At this point, there are still some relationships & details we can't see connected to the main case .. like the nurse who's the sister-in-law of the murder victim, and why it's such a big deal that she's given her personal number to a cancer patient with whom she's bonded. Oh, and the murder victim's widow is also a "copper" - as she puts it; a homemaker who was so impressed by the investigative work on her husband's "disappearance" in 1989, she became a detective inspector since then.

 

FUN TIDBIT: Season 2 has a character named "Cath" .. played by Bryony Hannah; who played Sister Mary Cynthia on "Call the Midwife"! I can't remember if Cath was introduced in last night's episode, because I didn't realize the connection until this morning.

 

 


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   @ASTRAEA, Yes, Sister Mary Cynthia as Cath! I recognized her right away when she came to the apartment door. Apparently she had not come to the party and Jason, (I think that's his name), the dead man’s son) was headed up to his place and stopped briefly to speak with her. He seemed annoyed with her and she seemed worried about him. He's kind of a basket case.

 

   It's true that so many characters are introduced without connections and we are led to link them through the season. Not sure why the big deal with the nurse who gave her phone number to the young cancer patient. That struck me as being odd, also. There is a little contention between the sister-in- laws. Why were the boys taken to the party just as they sat down to eat? Hope I can keep the characters straight.

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@catwoman500 - I didn't get the rushing-the-kids-out either! At first I didn't realize the 2 women were sisters, and thought maybe it was a shared custody thing. I still can't place "Cath".

 

I kind of like the way these stories are "woven"; better than some of the American crime series, where it becomes a standard formula, with several "red herrings" leading you astray, every episode.

 

Last season we got to meet Cassie's father .. widowed, I assume. This time we're getting to meet DI single dad "Sunny" Kahn's noisy children. Do you think it humanizes & softens them .. or is just a distraction?


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I think the brief appearance of Sister Mary Cynthia's character was near the end of the show. Jason...(I'm calling him that since I saw that name on the text that the widow's new husband's daughter sent her dad because the widow's son was at the house and acting nutso.) had come home...I assume to his own "flat" and Cath had come to the door of her downstairs flat to talk to him, presumably because she saw him come in?

Way too many characters! HA! So Sunny's kids were so annoying! Something is also going on with Cassie's dad. Doesn't she have a son, too? YIKES!

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Quite a full ending to season 1 (3 episodes) of "Unforgotten" .. wasn't it?!

 

I just read a review of the series, and definitely agree that the best part is that the situation is complex, and the ending isn't obvious within the first few minutes, as on other murder mysteries!

 

Quite a mixed bag at the end; closure for one mother, several people set free from long-held secrets with hope for the future, an unlikely ending for another character, and salvation for another.


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I just caught up with episode 3. There were certainly a lot of twists and turns, and some unexpected outcomes. There was one thing, however that I didn't catch, and that was the son who abused Claire. Did he blame her for what happened to his father, or was it something else? He said something about her scaring her grandson (his son). Early on, I thought it was the husband abusing her, but then the story tended to lead us there.

 

@ASTRAEA - You summed it up very nicely! 

 

@catwoman500 - Our local station advertised the season 2 episodes for next Sunday.

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@MaVoltawrote:

I just caught up with episode 3. There were certainly a lot of twists and turns, and some unexpected outcomes. There was one thing, however that I didn't catch, and that was the son who abused Claire. Did he blame her for what happened to his father, or was it something else? He said something about her scaring her grandson (his son). Early on, I thought it was the husband abusing her, but then the story tended to lead us there.

 


@MaVolta, yes, that family was the one that really confused me. And the way that son took off in his car when all the cops were at the house. Maybe Astraea figured that one out?

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I thought it was Eric who had the temper & treated Claire poorly. I did think it was strange when the one son sat in the car & then sped off, but figured they were both having trouble dealing with the possibility of their father being a murderer, coming on top of Claire's Alzheimers. I'd have to watch the show online again, to catch further nuances between them. I was amazed after-the-fact, to realize that Eric Slater was played by Tom Courtenay; hot stuff back in the day.

 

I found this link recapping the show; it includes this excerpt (highlighting is mine):

 

With Eric’s murder charge in the news, the rest of the Slaters have to deal with the press pack and Claire gets packed off to a country hideout. With her mental deterioration only likely to accelerate, no one thinks a successful prosecution possible. Even though a flashback confirms she remembers murdering Jimmy, how could she reasonably defend herself? Eric will do time in prison but Claire gets away with a supervision order.

 

Don’t imagine that’s a victory, though. We haven’t seen much of the Slaters’ younger son Mattie (too busy “poncing off back to London”, to quote his brother) but it looks as if Claire is going to be seeing quite a lot of him. “Me again,” he says with a malevolent glint in his eye as he gets her alone. His regular visits to his mother are merely to play Bait the Pensioner, tormenting her with sundry cruel tricks. You can understand the resentment, but he’s getting way too much pleasure from it.

 

Tom Courtenay 2.jpg


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@ASTRAEA - Thanks for the recap link. It's a good summary.

 

I also thought it was Eric who was abusing Claire, but I think that the story led us down that road. These British mysteries tend give a lot of misdirection to keep the audience guessing! Maybe that's why we love them so much.

 

Anyway, Claire kept telling the older son that she wanted to leave, that it wasn't safe. I believe that he was beginning to suspect his father, or they made it look that way. It was the older brother who found the house in a remote location where the family could hide from the press. Once Claire arrived he went to her room and literally shook her up, and said something about scaring her grandson. Then finally, we see him abusing her in the lock-up facility, as though he will be her worst nightmare for however long she has to live. I just never made the connection of why he was abusing her. I can only guess that he blamed his mother for what happened to his father (driving into the tree).

 

It was a nice touch to see Thea united with her half-sisters, and how they finally came to accept her as part of the family. 

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@MaVolta - I do remember her wanting to leave to be safe, but that can be a sign of dementia, so I didn't think anything odd about it. And Eric had a temper. I remember that final scene in the institution where Claire reached for something (water?), and the son moved it just out of her reach.


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@ASTRAEA...Is that really the end to the season? It seemed like an ending, but I was thinking that there might be a new mystery. I looked ahead in the TV Guide and it is scheduled, but PBS is big for not showing what is listed in my TV Guide.

I was so happy that things turned out OK for Lizzie and her husband, too.

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@catwoman500 - There are 2 "seasons", each with 3 episodes here; I think that in the UK they might have shown them as 6 hour-long episodes (with commercials). A 3rd "season" is being filmed this year.

 

This gives you a little background about the show & season 2: "Unforgotten". I can't seem to find anything online, as far as when the 2nd season/case will be broadcast here.


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@catwoman500 - According to the PBS station I watch; THIRTEEN, they are starting "season 2") of "Unforgotten" this coming Sunday (last Sunday in April).


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