Unforgotten, series 3 episode 5: have the police finally got the right man?

Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar in Unforgotten - des willie
Nicola Walker and Sanjeev Bhaskar in Unforgotten - des willie

After four episodes spent trying to unpick the perplexing murder of Hayley Reid, it seems as if DCI Cassie Stuart (Nicola Walker) and DS Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar) have finally got their man. But don’t expect a swift and clean resolution to take place next week as this penultimate part threw up some intriguing and troubling questions. 

Peter Carr is dead

Initially, it looked as if Carr (Neil Morrissey) had survived the knife attack at the hands of a vigilante who had been spurred on by the mystery blogger’s sensationalist postings (more of which later). But following a heartfelt gesture of forgiveness by his long-suffering wife (an excellent Indra Ové) at his bedside, Carr sighed a final breath.

Cue a news report admonishing the public nature of high-profile crime cases and Stuart collapsing in a puddle of tears in the ladies loos, mortified by her part in his death (she’d left his file in a café the previous week). Of course, what we want to know is whether luckless Pete had taken a dark secret to the grave.

Nice Dr Finch shows his nasty side (again)

As he went to the police station for questioning, Tim Finch (Alex Jennings) saw his old mucker James Hollis (Kevin McNally) who had just been questioned about the role his wayward son Eliot (Tom Rhys-Harries) might have played on the night of Hayley’s disappearance.

Finch gave Hollis a blokeish hug whispering the words “Stay strong” to him. Minutes later, he was dobbing Eliot into the old bill, saying that Pete had seen him climb through the first-floor window of the holiday let on the night of Hayley’s disappearance.

What he said turned out to be true, but was he simply telling the police what he knew or was he deliberately attempting a spot of misdirection, now that Pete had given him this useful information?

Kevin McNally and Alex Jennings - Credit: ITV
Kevin McNally and Alex Jennings Credit: ITV

Hayley’s decoded teenage diary offered a new lead

It emerged that Hayley’s secret teenage diary contained code words when she was up to no good. When she said “tea” she meant “sex” and when she said “cake” she meant “drugs”. If this could be applied universally, it would certainly give a new meaning to the Boston Tea Party, or indeed the idea of a charity cake sale. Anyway, because of these findings, it was deduced that Hayley had not headed straight to her New Year’s Eve party but rather to a dealer and had thus walked a different route in her last few hours.

Chris Lowe may not be as bad as we thought

Last week, it emerged that the fragile Lowe (James Fleet) had been caught using child sex abuse websites. This week, in a police interview, he said that his card had been cloned and he was abroad at the time of the supposed access to the site. The charges against him were later dropped and nice Dr Finch bought him a van to live in.

After some checks, it emerged that he should never have been charged and DCI Stuart quietly put the flaky artist in the mental lumber room of her enquiries.

Nicola Walker as DCI Cassie Stuart - Credit: ITV
Nicola Walker as DCI Cassie Stuart Credit: ITV

The blogger speaks

Having spent weeks looking enigmatically at a computer screen, sensationalist blogger Sandra Rayworth (Tori Allen Martin) uttered her first words. After being reprimanded by the police, she said that she only wrote posts galvanising readers into action (ie to kill Pete Carr) because she was fifty grand in debt after her journalism degree and jobless.

It’s true that these days you need to shock in order to be heard, but I can’t believe writer Chris Lang only put Sandra in the story as a comment about the state of modern journalism. Watch this space.

The detectives’ personal lives get messy

I know I have said that the beauty of Unforgotten lies partly in the unencumbered personal lives of its two leads. Well, now things are looking pretty bleak for Stuart and Khan.

After a promising date with smoothiechops John Bentley (Alastair McKenzie) in which they ended up talking about their favourite police films (“Fargo?” “You darn tootin’,” ), Stuart started to unravel as the case took its toll and her relationship with her father grew even more strained.

She put a rain check on any tongue sarnies, and both parties looked disappointed. Sunny, meanwhile, went for a coffee with his ex, Usha (Shobu Kapoor), who wants him and their daughters back in his life. Sunny, pragmatic as ever, quite rightly, told her he had moved on. His brow furrowed rather deeply, though.

Alastair McKenzie and Nicola Walker - Credit: ITV
Alastair McKenzie and Nicola Walker Credit: ITV

James Hollis and the case of the mown-down deer

So James confessed to Stuart and Khan that he'd been lying all along and had actually spent the past 10 years thinking that his son had killed Hayley, having accidentally run her down while out driving. He started to believe he had hidden her and then gone to retrieve her and bury her in London.

But it was then revealed that Eliot had gone on a skiing trip to Switzerland immediately after New Year (a fact confirmed by his old school) and so this could not have been the case. He concluded that Elliot had hit a deer while driving after all. It was a convincing performance from Hollis and a convincing performance from McNally portraying someone giving a convincing performance – but does everything add up? I'm not sure.

The best true crime dramas and documentaries
The best true crime dramas and documentaries

Nice Doctor Finch is arrested for the murder of Hayley Reid

Stuart discovered that Finch had committed a speeding offence on January 3, 2000, six miles from where Hayley was killed. When arrested and questioned, Finch said that he was in a hurry because he had left his laptop in the rented house and gone back to collect it. At 6.20am.

Meanwhile, his daughter Claire (Lucinda Dryzek), beginning to realise that her father isn’t quite the paragon of virtue he seems, visited her mother Derran (Siobhan Redmond) in Wales and began to come round to her way of thinking. Derran insisted that Finch hit her and that the Polaroids she took of his abuse were genuine.

Then, in the final; moments, Stuart was alerted to an old money box found in Finch’s cellar. It contained a pair of knickers, a scrunchie and a necklace with hair embedded in it. Could this be more than just a straightforward murder? Was there perhaps a sexual motive?

So it’s not looking good for Tim Finch, but no doubt there will be more surprises along the way. What exactly does James Hollis know and was his son more involved than currently acknowledged? Perhaps Chris Lowe’s mental health deteriorated as a result of what he saw that night.

Have we really seen the last of the blogger? And what about the teacher who was originally arrested and who hasn’t been seen since episode three? Oh, and Hollis’s first wife, Mel. She knows something, too. And then there’s Hayley’s family who have been on the sidelines of the action and whom I have constantly wondered about.

I can’t wait, even though I know we’re heading for a very grim finale.