‘Unforgotten’ Episode 3: Lies Galore as Cassie & Sunny Question Suspects (RECAP)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Unforgotten Season 4 Episode 3.]
“You never know, do you, what someone’s capable of.”
That statement could be the theme of Unforgotten’s gripping third episode, which debuted on PBS Sunday, July 25. It’s uttered by Dean Barton (Andy Nyman), one of four living suspects in the 30-year-old “historical murder” of a young man whose body had been hidden in a freezer.
He’s referring to Robert Fogerty, the recently deceased man who kept Matthew Walsh’s body for decades. Fogerty, like Dean, had just graduated from police college in 1990, on the night Walsh went missing. They were in the same car with three other new recruits when a police officer pulled it over and cited Fogerty for drunken driving.
In this hour, which, like every episode of Unforgotten, manages to be both fast-paced and deeply probing, lead detectives Cassie Stuart and Sunny Khan (Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar) finally come face to face with the men and women they believe know something about, or were involved in, Walsh’s death. Despite the suspects’ law enforcement training, they show little regard for the truth in their interviews.
Cassie has been given 48 hours to work the case, which isn’t much of one yet. Police don’t know Walsh’s cause of death and they haven’t found his head or hands, which weren’t with the rest of his body.
The first suspect she questions is also a senior officer. Liz (Susan Lynch), who has gotten a tip-off that she’s going to be offered the chief constable job she interviewed for, knows the tricks of the police interrogation trade. “I’m not saying it didn’t happen,” she explains to Cassie when asked about events on the night Walsh disappeared. “I just don’t remember that, 30 years later.”
Even though Cassie looks a little uneasy conducting her first interview after a lengthy absence, the passive-aggression between the two flows off the screen in waves.
Sunny, meanwhile, visits Fiona (Liz White), whose career as a police officer was brief. She admits she only joined the force to please her father, who wanted his daughter to follow in his footsteps. “Dad always said the day I qualified was the happiest day of his life,” she explains, getting emotional.
Fiona at least has a convenient excuse for her memory lapse — a past filled with alcohol abuse — yet we see a brief memory flash in which she appears to be having sex with someone. And later, she worries that the bank will withdraw the mortgage for the house she and her partner are buying if her criminal conviction comes out. For what, we don’t yet know.
Dean gives an emotional speech at a fundraiser for a charity named in honor of his special-needs son, Jack. “He has taught me to look for joy in the most unexpected places,” Dean tells the wealthy patrons. “He has allowed me to find an ease with the world that I never thought possible.”
But the next day, when Cassie interviews him, Dean also has a flashback, to a violent incident of someone getting badly beaten. Talk about never knowing what someone’s capable of! Dean at least admits to remembering Fogerty, but not much else about the night in question. He also had the shortest law enforcement career of the quartet, lasting just a few weeks on the job.
We also see two very different sides to Ram (Phaldut Sharma), the other senior police officer in the group. He puts the kibosh on the sexual misconduct case against him by recording his accuser using a racial slur — when he tries to bribe her! But later, after Ram’s wife admits she doesn’t think she could handle raising a baby with Down syndrome, he confesses that he wouldn’t want to end a life “because it wasn’t the perceived idea of perfect. There’s a crack in everything…that’s how the light gets in.”
Based on what we’ve seen of him so far, who would have thought Ram capable of such compassion? He certainly doesn’t have any for Sunny when the detective wants to question him about that infamous night. After initially trying to bond with Sunny over their Asian heritage, Ram refuses to speak to him and even derides him as a “coconut.”
But it looks like our suspects, who have gone their separate ways since their police college days, are making plans to meet up. Fiona approaches a nervous Liz, who agrees to talk to her in secret. Ram uses a pay phone (remember those?) to call someone.
Cassie’s father, Martin (Peter Egan), is also showing he’s capable of kindness on his good days. When he goes for a drink with grandson Adam (Jassa Ahluwalia), he explains why he wants to leave his money to his girlfriend instead of his grandsons: She doesn’t have any savings of her own, and she’s going to be the one who looks after him as his dementia worsens. Adam understands, but will Cassie?
And speaking of Cassie and her team, they finally have some evidence, thanks to a couple of underused supporting players (the actors as well as the detectives they portray). Fran (Carolina Main) has found a witness who remembers seeing two men running after Walsh on the night in question. One was Asian, the other was very tall.
The heroic achievement of the week, however, goes to Fran’s colleague, Jake Collier (Lewis Reeves), who manages to track down Fogerty’s storage unit — and find the missing parts of Walsh inside!
Was one of their four suspects capable of murder 30 years ago? Were all of them? Three more episodes and we’ll have an answer!
Unforgotten, Sundays, 9/8c, PBS (check local listings at pbs.org)