Masterpiece Mystery “Unforgotten: Series 2” is unforgettable

BLU-RAY REVIEW

Sunny and Cassie's prime suspects produce watertight alibis, and the detectives are stymied at every turn. (Courtesy of PBS Distribution)

“UNFORGOTTEN: SERIES 2”


Blu-ray, DVD; 2018; TV-MA for disturbing themes and some profanity; streaming via Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu


Best extra: None


NOTHING hidden stays buried in “Unforgotten,” the captivating mystery drama by British Creator/Writer/Executive Producer Chris Lang.


In Season/Series One, London detectives DCI Cassie Stuart (Nicola Walker, “Last Tango in Halifax”) and DI Sunil “Sunny” Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar) work with their team to solve historic disappearances and murders. Americans call them “cold cases.” Stuart and Khan solve the mystery surrounding a corpse discovered during the demolition of a London house. It turns out to be a young man of color who disappeared in 1976. The twists, turns and shock of an ending are worthy of Hitchcock and classic mystery writers such as Agatha Christie and Patricia Highsmith.


It was fascinating – and so is Series/Season Two. This cold case surrounds a body found tucked in a suitcase found during the dredging of a river. Khan learns the last dredging was in 1994, so the remains could be as old as 25 years … maybe older if it was missed the first time.


A darker story unfolds as the inspectors and their team unravels clues one by one. It’s a captivating process. As in Season One, suspects and relatives pop up in the first episode. We learn the victim is David E. Walker, who disappeared in 1990 leaving behind a wife and son. Walker was in the entertainment business, ran clubs, and volunteered for charitable organizations. He was also acutely depressed, a drug addict and alcoholic. Sexually abused as a child, he was planning to confront his abuser just before he disappeared.


The cast of "Unforgotten"

Director Andy Wilson interviews Lang in “Unforgotten, Season 2: Meet the Suspects” on YouTube. “Last year our suspect characters were more iconic,” Wilson says. “They were the lord, the priest, the social worker. This year you’ve selected a slightly less elevated cast.”


“I went with very ordinary characters, [although] the jobs they have are significant,” Lang replies. “Tessa (Lorraine Ashbourne), she’s a police officer. Her life is going to unravel as the result of the discovery of her husband’s body. Marion (Rosie Cavaliero) has had mental health issues in the past. That’s probably going to be the kind of thing that opens her can of worms. Gay couple, Colin and Simon (Mark Bonnar and Charlie Condou) … are about to adopt a child. We have a sense that (Colin) has anger issues that are going to come back and bite him. Sara (Badria Timimi), she’s a teacher about to go for the job of a headmistress, and her life is going to unravel as a result of the difficulty she’s had in the past.”


These are good people doing well at this stage in their lives. Can careers and relationships survive the secrets? The clues are all laid out, chapter by chapter, in the six episode story. Inspectors Stuart and Khan find the crimes more far reaching than anyone could have imagined. Again, the conclusion is a shock.

“Sitting there and listening to the stories, I think it broke something in Cassie,” Walker says in a podcast at pbs.org. “It elevates ‘Unforgotten’ …It makes you have a conversation about justice, serving justice and what that really means.”

“When I read the finale of Season Two, it blew my mind. It was such a clever, unexpected twist ... I really did not see it coming,” Bhaska agrees.


The 1080p transfer (1.78:1 ratio) from PBS delivers good color, depth and detail. Color is natural in exterior and interior scenes, with realistic complexions. A standard 2.0 stereo soundtrack provides clear dialogue and good ambient sound. Sadly, there are no extras. A special bonus feature, “Unforgotten: Body in a Suitcase,” was made but not included on the disc.


The series airs on PBS via Masterpiece Mystery. It was a surprise hit in Britain before it made its way to the U.S. Season Three is filming now, and tentatively scheduled to air near the end of 2018. The story is closely guarded.


“It’s something that happened a number of years ago, but it’s very different,” Walker says in the podcast. “The people we’re dealing with are from very different backgounds to some of the cases before … You get to spend a long time with the suspects. It’s got a different rhythm.”


This is a show with smarts and heart; acting is outstanding, with great chemistry among its cast. With a 100 percent audience rating rottentomatoes.com, “Unforgotten” – both seasons – is a perfect watch for anyone who loves a mystery.


- Kay Reynolds


TV series trailer

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