Unforgotten series four, episode five recap – what now for Cassie?

The case is nearly solved, but there’s a late shock in the penultimate episode of ITV’s cold case drama

Who saw that coming? Certainly not me, and certainly not Cassie as she carelessly pulled out without looking right just in time for an oncoming vehicle to plough into her driver’s side. If she survives, we can hope her recuperation period brings her up to 30 years on the force. If she doesn’t, Martin’s last words to her, something about her turning into an arsehole, could have been better chosen.

The investigation

It’s too bad, because the Ford Granada Four’s story is coming apart like a knockoff handbag. The Ifield landlady Monty reveals that Matthew sexually assaulted Fiona, and another pensioner surfaces with a tale of the probies carrying what looked rather like a dead body under a tarpaulin. The four must be cursing the influx of public-spirited senior citizens with epic memories.

Even better is the discovery of Dean’s remarkable backstory. Born into a family of villains, he committed the ultimate betrayal of joining the police, and got a ferocious shoeing and lifelong exile for his troubles. Equally intriguing is the weaponised fountain pen Leanne yanks out of Matthew’s skull. In a victory for literalists everywhere, the pen really is mightier than the sword.

Ram Sidhu

Anna and Ram have had the Talk about the Walsh case. They’ve had many such talks over the years, but this one feels different. With three co-conspirators, bleeding-edge forensics and a new witness surfacing every week, Ram cannot control the narrative. Even the Houdini of the tribunals has his limits, and for the first time he’s scared. Later, he just wants his dad to look at him – “then maybe I could stop all this shit – the money, the job, the lot”. It’s a curious scene and a pass-agg masterclass from the silent Sidhu patriarch, his gaze transfixed on an admittedly delicious-looking dinner. His beef with his son, though, leaves a bitter taste.

Liz Baildon

“You’re beginning to sound like a Michael Jackson song,” Eileen snarks at her daughter.

“Shut the fuck up!” Liz screams in response, apparently confusing the Bo Selecta Michael Jackson for the real thing. Liz doesn’t wanna be starting something with Eileen now he has figured out the truth about Matthew Walsh. Even so, she is frazzled enough to threaten her mother with nocturnal murder if she keeps running off at the mouth. She’s bad. You know it.

It’s not even her biggest showdown of the episode – that’s the confrontation with Cassie. The two alphas circle one another, snorting and pawing at the dirt, each sizing the other up. It’s clear from the off, though, that Cassie has the advantage. After all, she has never covered up a murder (apart from that one time she covered up three, which I wish everyone would stop bringing up). Liz leads with haughty condescension, telling Cassie “I would have expected better of you than this, DCI Stuart,” but mounting a high horse in her position is a perilous act. After catching her out in a series of lies, Cassie dismounts her opponent with “I would have expected better of you, deputy chief constable Baildon”. It’s an ice-cold riposte and, soon afterwards, a battered Liz wisely takes refuge in “no comment”.

Fiona … continuing her roll.
Fiona … continuing her roll. Photograph: Matt Frost/Des Willia

Fiona Grayson

That’s a house talk those kids won’t forget in a hurry. They slouch downstairs, expecting a Jordan Peterson style “tidy your room” sermon and instead get their stepmum giving chapter and verse on her decades of deception, suicide attempts, fraud, boozing and child killing. As the kids pick their jaws off the floor, the police barge in, Fiona welcoming them with: “You’ve come about the body, haven’t you?” Comic timing this good? You just can’t teach it.

Fiona continues her roll down at the station. It was Ram who told her Walsh had tripped and hit his head, all of them (except Fiona) who stuck him in the car boot and Rob who was tasked with getting rid of the body. Cassie and Sunny can barely keep up. Interviewing Fiona is like doing detective work with a cheat code.

Dean Barton

Pin the rosette on Dean right now. In a series where problematic parents have loomed large, the man born Dean Quinn still wins the Most Messed Up Family award by a street. A brotherly beating followed by banishment left Dean with another lifelong trauma to add to the killing he covered up on his first day as a copper. It makes his reinvention as successful family man all the more impressive. When his dying mother visits to say sorry, the prospect of closure seems possible for the first time in 30 years. That a lengthy stretch inside seems significantly more possible is the defining tragedy of Dean’s life.

Notes and observations

  • Hats off to garythenotrashcougar for correctly calling Fiona’s sexual assault and flagging the fountain pen as murder weapon. I think we may have our Cassie replacement if she doesn’t pull through.

  • It’s impressive that Monty is still horny for Ram after 30 years. The thirst, it seems, never leaves.

  • I think I concur with the theory below the line that Liz put pen to raper and skewered Matthew’s head in revenge for his assault on Fiona – though reserve the right to backtrack next week.

  • Sorry, Geoff, but I think you can wave bye-bye to that £50,000 deposit. Upside: you’ll probably clear that amount when you take Fiona’s empties back to the offy.

Will Cassie make it? Who was the fatal pen pusher? What twists are to come in next week’s finale? Please place your thoughts below.


James Donaghy

The GuardianTramp

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