Review: ‘Unforgettable’ Ensures Morality

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For four seasons on ITV, British police drama “Unforgettable” Slowly and quietly it built an audience and reputation, an appropriate method for a show where the main characters rarely raise their voices and are immediately ashamed of themselves when they do. (The six-episode fourth season of the show kicks off on PBS’s “Masterpiece” on Sunday.)

That’s not to say that the two cops leading a London cold-case team, Cassie Stuart and Sunny Khan – beautifully and harmoniously portrayed by Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar – are impulsive. Cassie is anxious and clumsy, but also stubborn and a little cocky. Sunny is a peaceful and loyal helper, but at the same time a born skeptic with a keen sense of humor.

What they have in common is decency, a quality that is “Unforgettable” to a greater degree than any series I can think of, it is considered the central value. As the team tries to identify the bodies of long-dead victims and figure out how they died, the brutal messiness of the stories the team uncovers is balanced and, in a sense, compensated by their compassion and rigor. (Giving cases an extra touch of formality is the British term for cold cases: historic crimes.)

We’re familiar in “Unforgettable”: a comfortable stereotypical English mystery and a bleak, lamentable melodrama at the same time, but a particularly well-done version of each. Season 4 begins with the ritual discovery of the corpse – in this case, a headless, handsless young man found in a scrap yard. We also briefly show, in cryptic scenes, people whose lives are about to be thrown into chaos as 30 years of crime surface: a woman who crosses Cambridge to visit her domineering mother. A middle-aged man in Southall checking in on teenage girls while he brings his mom a Mother’s Day gift, a couple in the Peak District who can’t agree on a little money.

The gradual emergence of who these people are and the connections between them is one of the joys of the show. There’s also the slow but sure progress of the investigation, where clues (freezer’s serial number, an outdated candy wrapper, a football club tattoo) and constant disappointments (witnesses dead, houses destroyed) are trivial. final cuts are much more satisfying.

Alongside these typical elements of a crime drama, series creator and writer Chris Lang and director Andy Wilson use the cold case framework to add a strong local element when the show is at its best. drama. Cassie and Sunny’s job is to take people back to a possibly terrifying time in their lives and tear down the facades and false narratives they’ve built over the years.

To do this, detectives must also embark on a journey at a cost to their own peace of mind. There is always a family that is tested or torn apart; The only person who can be trusted to hang out with is the person in the team room. (The show’s portrayal of police officers is unabashedly positive; if that doesn’t sit well, you might find some consolation when the new season’s suspects turn out to be cops, too.)

Season 4 begins The team is restless – Cassie, shaken by the gruesome revelations of previous cases, has been on leave for over a year and wants to relinquish power. But he’s short on 30 years for his pension, which requires him to come back for at least one more lawsuit. This premise offers Lang and Wilson a good opportunity to showcase the show’s greatest strength: the excellent performances of Walker and Bhaskar. Watching Cassie confront a police officer with perfect passive aggression and then meet up with Sunny for a gripe session is a delight as her distracted but inescapable start to contemplate the new case. “I still get it,” Sunny said as she hurried away.

Walker and Bhaskar’s relaxed and candid teamwork is reason enough to watch “Unforgettable,” and in the story around them Lang has avoided both the over-emotional and sensationalism that usually brings so many such shows. He has a good ear for dialogue and a good sense for plot, and he has struck a delicate balance between grief and excitement for investigation.

Until the end of the new season, when something goes wrong – don’t Google the British reviews if you don’t want to know – it’s not fit for the show and it’s torpedoing the final episode. Worst of all, given its “memorable” ethic, the episode’s trivialization of solving the mystery and dehumanizing the victim is something Cassie and Sunny would never do. Season five was ordered, and luckily it was an hour-long glitch.

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