Unforgotten tells the story of a murder investigation into a cold case dating back 39 years. With the discovery of a young man’s skeleton underneath the cellar at a property called Arlingham House the police investigation that ensues begins to turn back the years.
The modern day police team – DCI Cassie Stuart (Nicola Walker) and DI Sunil ‘Sunny’ Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar) gradually unravel deep-rooted and long-forgotten secrets, which will have a dramatic impact on their investigation and the lives of four potential suspects – Father Robert Grieves (Bernard Hill), Sir Philip Cross (Trevor Eve), Lizzie Wilton (Ruth Sheen) and Eric Slater (Tom Courtenay). The slow revelation of these secrets as Cassie and Sunny hunt for the killer will alter the dynamic of the families and their loved ones forever.
But who is the murdered boy and why was he staying in Arlingham House? What happened in 1976, which was the catalyst for his murder? Who did he come into contact with who eventually bludgeoned him to death? And what of his family? The pain and despair of his bereft, inconsolable mother grieving for a lost child as she still searches for answers nearly 40 years later.
With integrity, grit and compassion, Cassie and Sunny begin to unpeel the layers of the investigation only to intriguingly discover each of the potential suspects has a past they’d sooner stay buried. Reputations could be lost, relationships fractured irrevocably and beliefs and opinions challenged. Essentially, we discover the people we thought we knew aren’t who they appear to be and this has a destabilising and devastating effect on all concerned.
The drama is set in different corners of the country, from the outer London suburbs, to the Essex coast, Westminster and the Fens with the focus of the police investigation being the red-bricked Victorian Arligham House. With each of the characters’ stories running parallel, the multi-stranded narrative weaves suspicion and curiosity, connecting each of the principle characters.
This is pretty smart drama which approaches the idea of historic cases with thought... While this is on the face of it a police procedural, in fact it is a show that is actually examining what makes us — and made us — tick as a nation. And for that I commend its ambition.
It's magnificently cast, Bernard Hill... Hannah Gordon! Be still my beating heart — is his much-neglected wife, breaking your heart and rousing your ire within a handful of tiny scenes. Tom Courtenay and Gemma Jones are the Slaters, leading tiny, frantically ordered lives in fear of her increasing dementia. Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar, never less than wholly convincing, are the investigating officers. And, in pairing I think I have subconsciously been waiting for all my life, Trevor Eve (as successful, scrappy, wrong-side-of-the-tracks Philip Cross, now as Sir) is married to Cherie Lunghi. If you cannot feel the joy of this, I can not explain it to you.