Unforgotten–Third season continues the crusade of DCI Stuart in BBC/Masterpiece’s unusual crime drama

Review by C.J. Bunce

Just when you thought Nicola Walker′s (Collateral, Law & Order: UK, Luther) compassionate cop Detective Chief Inspector Cassie Stuart is fed up with humanity–with the criminals that have gotten away with murder literally for decades and the antics of her family at home–they keep pulling her back in, with two more seasons in the works, and the fourth season hopefully arriving in the U.S. this year.  We reviewed the first season of the BBC’s Unforgotten here at borg just last month, and we’re happy to report the series only improves in the next two seasons.  The first three seasons are on BritBox via Amazon Prime, and if you want your fill of red herrings and surprise villains in your modern British crime drama, look no further.  With its fifth season currently in production, PBS is also now streaming the first three seasons as part of its Passport membership, a chance for U.S. viewers to get caught up on the show before the new episodes arrive.

Stuart as a character is as real as it gets, a smart, conscientious worker doing her job, out of balance between her home and work.  The lack of family troubles from the first season, which resulted in some of the best humor of the series, transforms into some of that more typical fodder of the genre, but fortunately the humor remains strong.  Sanjeev Bhaskar′s (Doctor Who, Arthur Christmas, Notting Hill) DS Khan plays a bigger role and by the end of season three we get a look at his home life, too.  But it’s the cast of suspects that will keep you coming back for more.  

While genre fans are waiting to see Liz White (Life on Mars, Doctor Who) arrive in the fourth season, Humans, Doctor Who, and Shetland’s Mark Bonnar provides a riveting, award-winning performance as a gay adoptive father who suffered abuse as a child in the second season, with Pirates of the Caribbean, Life on Mars, and Supernatural’s Kevin McNally in season three as a TV show personality committed to protecting his troubled son from the strange happenings at a millennium New Year’s celebration decades ago.  

James Fleet (The Watch, The Pale Horse, The Phantom of the Opera) shines as a bipolar drifter who is finally gaining his footing in life after an accusation cost him his career and Neil Morrissey (Bob the Builder, The Syndicate, Penance) is as smarmy as it gets as a perpetual fraudster, both as guest stars in season three.

But the real star of the show is always Walker, who audiences will be glued to as she gets more of her determination taken away as the dregs of humanity continue to surprise the 20-year veteran of digging into these unusual cold cases.  After the season three finale, any viewer will be on the edge of their seats wondering what can get her back investigating.

For solid storytelling by writer Chris Lang and great whodunnits and suspects, check out all three seasons of Unforgotten now on PBS Passport and BritBox via Amazon Prime.

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