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dcalley

Unforgotten

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Two stone-cold cases of murder test the wits of crime-solving duo DCI Cassie Stuart and DS Sunny Khan, played by Nicola Walker (Last Tango in Halifax) and Sanjeev Bhaskar (Indian Summers), in back-to-back seasons of the critically acclaimed UK crime series Unforgotten.

Sundays, 9:00-10:30 ET, April 8-May 13.

Unforgotten aired on ITV in the UK in 2015 and 2017. Season 3 recently started filming. PBS is showing two UK episodes per night. Please don't discuss Unforgotten things that haven't aired yet in the US unless you use spoiler bars (or unless a mod in this thread says otherwise).

First episode description:

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DCI Cassie Stuart and DS Sunny Khan confront a skeleton buried in a cellar.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/shows/unforgotten/

Edited by dcalley

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Really liked this tonight (U.S. PBS masterpiece mystery)  .... large great cast and Nicola Walker shapeshifiting magnificently ... Apparently there are 18 episodes in all (so far in 3 seasons) ... if feels like an unexpected treasure ... hooray, something to look forward to on Sunday nights. 

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Yes!  I like having all those suspects, in different houses, in different towns.  Agree, Nicola Walker is wonderfully different than she was in, "Last Tango."  It only took me a few minutes to quit expecting her to stop and have sex with someone!

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2 hours ago, graybrown bird said:

Did PBS really show two episodes last night? Did I turn off the tv too soon?  I watched from 8 to 9:30 - was there more after that? If so, I missed it!

It was two episodes but the overall length was one hour & 23 minutes, so if you got opening titles and end credits you got all of it.  This is an ITV series, which means it airs with commercials, so (like us) about 44 minutes of story per hour.

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One of the things that I first noticed about Nicola Walker back in "Wire in the Blood" days was her ability to play a competent professional woman (police) with none of that odd approval seeking or secretly-in-love-with-her-boss undertones or playing on her looks which were never referenced (the audience was allowed to notice something that was never mentioned).  In this role, she's almost unrecognizable.  There's none of the hardness or impending impatience/snark I felt in other roles.  She regards her co-workers with affection and again flirts with no one.  She loves her job (the puzzle), wants resolution but is not on a mission-from-god and is not angry-all-the-time.   In Last Tango, it was her genuine "how did I get here" puzzlement over the story of her life (which in hindsight seemed like a series of preventable calamities).  It was part of how she remained a largely (if not entirely) sympathetic character throughout. 

last tango spoiler

Spoiler

It was quite credible that Gillian never considered murdering her abusive husband, and might "not have" if the accident had finished him off quickly ... since failing to summon aid quickly enough would not arouse suspicion and she might have convinced herself his death was inevitable -- y'know?  (spoiler tagged because ymmv and the "whole story of what happened" evolved so over all 3 seasons ... I half expects some further revelation in the final scenes of the final episode ... Columbo like,  just one more thing .... adding a uniquely comic quality to tale along with her "compulsion to confess" 

Edited by SusanSunflower
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We were pleasantly surprised to find Nicola Walker in this show.  She is such a marvelous actress, I showed her fansite to hubby, he was astounded at how many shows and awards she has had.  I just adore her!  And, as a bonus, we had Last Tango In Halifax immediately afterward!

And, it is kind of delicious to see the 'bad guy' Chuckie P will be getting his comeuppance!

Edited by Brattinella
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oh yeah, Trevor Eve is always an excellent bad guy but the voice of the Tom Courtney who created my first "rush to imdb" moment ... then actor who played "Shrimpie" on Downton ...  I don't recall ever seeing the woman playing the victim's mother was remarkable (particularly as she revealed eventually what a terrible mother/person she had been ... she looked like such a sweet grieving old lady ... and her son's childhood was a living hell. 

correction:  Walker was paired with Robson Green  (as Creagan) in Touching Evil 1997-1999.  Wire in the Blood was later with Hermoine Norris, great actor, whose character did try to have more than a working relationship with Green's character Tony Hill. 

As Jane Tennyson's dalliance with one of her subordinates caused more fallout than would have probably resulted from male superior and a female subordinate, so many cop shows suggest a flagrantly grab-ass environment ...bad role modeling for young men and women but particularly women who may not realize how often it's the woman who is expected to quit and find another position elsewhere.  (in the #metoo era, young men need warning that what looks like  "easy pickings" can also have really back career repercussions." 

Edited by SusanSunflower
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6 hours ago, Brattinella said:

We were pleasantly surprised to find Nicola Walker in this show.  She is such a marvelous actress, I showed her fansite to hubby, he was astounded at how many shows and awards she has had.  I just adore her!  

I know her from River (on Netflix), all of which kind of broke my heart, her performance included. A sad, dreamy police inspector show.

Wound up watching this twice (wasn't paying attention at the beginning and was dozing toward the end, no fault of the show) and it holds up very well on second viewing.

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12 hours ago, graybrown bird said:

Did PBS really show two episodes last night? Did I turn off the tv too soon?  I watched from 8 to 9:30 - was there more after that? If so, I missed it!

I think this was cleared up already, but in case not, PBS/US episodes are doubled up in this case, so we have 3 instead of 6 for season 1, and again 3 instead of 6 for season 2. It will probably be the same for season 3. If so, the "18 episodes in all" @SusanSunflower mentioned will be 9 in the US.

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"Cold case" detective series aren't unusual so at first I felt a let down, but there's a different feel and extending pacing to this. (I won't quibble about any nation's or city's police department dedicating generous resources to such investigations,) The time leap and the characters who are not now who they were then and the stories they tell themselves are interesting and potentially the stuff of really good stories if allow time and room to breathe. Auspicious beginning. 

Edited by SusanSunflower
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I'm not fond of the CEO, and he may have had something to do with that kid's death, but when he grabbed that MP who tried to condescend to him, I was definitely on his side. A bully running into a bigger bully is always a little satisfying.

I was familiar with Nicola Parker from a few other things, but I didn't remember her in Four Weddings and a Funeral. I had to look that up. I was surprised. “I cahhhn't lahf, and I cahhhn't sing."

Edited by 7-Zark-7
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The "Telly Visions" blog at PBS station WETA's site had made a comment that the plot wasn't so great. I guess it's early yet, but it seems fine to me so far.

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Are you overwhelmed by the sheer list of names and credits? You should be because that's where all the money went in this first season. Unfortunately, that means there wasn't much left for script or plot.

Here is that blog's recap of the first US episode, if you need a refresher on who's who.

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I really enjoyed this. BUT, I kept wondering why they don't just get a carer in for the woman with dementia/alzheimer's/whatever's going on with her. Wouldn't that be the compromise between them living alone and having to leave their home. 

I'm looking forward to the next episode. Looks like the excrement is going to hit the air circulation device. 

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5 hours ago, AnnieBeez said:

I kept wondering why they don't just get a carer in for the woman with dementia/alzheimer's/whatever's going on with her.

I think the father doesn’t want to leave the house because he doesn’t want people to know  where the bodies are buried... literally. And he probably doesn’t want some caretaker in the house who might listen to the old woman’s demented ravings (especially the ones that start with “I won’t stay here, not after what you did!) take her seriously and make some gruesome discovery.

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I'm already making some guesses on what happened to the dead young man.   It will be interesting to see how all of the people we've been introduced to tie into the murder.  One thing that bugged me: that almost all of the scenes were probably less than a minute each.  So it was a snippet here, next snippet there, on to the next snippet.  The show may do this as a device to save time, but not being of the MTV Generation (and younger) it is like watching ADHD TV. 

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I fell asleep watching this and woke up to a Nicola Walker scene from Last Tango in Halifax (which I had never seen before.) Boy was I confused!

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16 hours ago, anniebird said:

I fell asleep watching this and woke up to a Nicola Walker scene from Last Tango in Halifax (which I had never seen before.) Boy was I confused!

LTiH is pretty good.  If you have Netflix, you can watch the whole series.

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These people are making me sad.  Is the racist woman going to jail for theft after all these years?  Cross's career is over, so I guess that's his main punishment, unless people with missing fingers come forward and he goes to prison for torture.  The priest's daughters were interesting in their contrasting opinions, but they may both agree if they find out the girl was fifteen.

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5 hours ago, kassygreene said:

I only noticed tonight that the red letters are back.  Part 1 is Cervantes.  Part 2 is Remembrance of the Daleks.

Thanks for the reminder!

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5 hours ago, JudyObscure said:

These people are making me sad.  Is the racist woman going to jail for theft after all these years?  Cross's career is over, so I guess that's his main punishment, unless people with missing fingers come forward and he goes to prison for torture.  The priest's daughters were interesting in their contrasting opinions, but they may both agree if they find out the girl was fifteen.

Watching last night, we were wondering, is there no statute of limitations in the UK for stealing 50 pounds?

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6 hours ago, Rickster said:

Watching last night, we were wondering, is there no statute of limitations in the UK for stealing 50 pounds?

Or even assault when the victim is dead?  I blinked and missed something because I could not figure out exactly what she was charged with. I also don't get the extreme acting out of  the student she is mentoring. 

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The student was acting out because he overheard that she was (had been) a racist member of the National Front. He's trusted her. He's fended off alienation/bullying from his friends and bought in to her encouragement to get his GCSEs and make a career/future -- and he feels betrayed, as though his friends were right, telling him he's fooling himself. He's a kid. He acts out, tosses it all, skips his exam, chucks out his books, has a wee tantrum about the rank hypocrisy of all adults and her in particular. (I was glad when he went back outdoors and picked his papers back up.)

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On 4/11/2018 at 2:58 AM, 7-Zark-7 said:

I think the father doesn’t want to leave the house because he doesn’t want people to know  where the bodies are buried... literally. And he probably doesn’t want some caretaker in the house who might listen to the old woman’s demented ravings (especially the ones that start with “I won’t stay here, not after what you did!) take her seriously and make some gruesome discovery.

This is one piece that strikes me as false. The sons seem too bright not to see the obvious need for some kind of assistance or intervention in that house. If the wife was diagnosed with dementia there would be some visiting nurse or home health aide at least. When I go to get my eyes checked they ask me if I am safe at home for crying out loud. She seems coherent enough and continuously expresses fear to whoever is in earshot. That should trigger some action regardless of what the father wants.

Also, in US at least plumbing codes prevent hot water temp from being set to scalding levels. If not by code, then obviously if you have someone in the house with dementia who has access to scalding water, you would turn the water temp down at the tank.

As for the racist woman and the boy they are mentoring, the tossing of the chem textbook was too on the nose. Like, get it? Mentor is a racist! Homies told you, were right all along! Get it? Huh? A chance to go for some nuance lost there. 

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14 minutes ago, fauntleroy said:

That should trigger some action regardless of what the father wants.

Should, yes, but the power dynamic of a  dysfunctional family trumps all kinds of 'shoulds.'

 

On 4/9/2018 at 11:40 AM, SusanSunflower said:

One of the things that I first noticed about Nicola Walker back in "Wire in the Blood" days was her ability to play a competent professional woman (police) with none of that odd approval seeking or secretly-in-love-with-her-boss undertones or playing on her looks which were never referenced (the audience was allowed to notice something that was never mentioned).  In this role, she's almost unrecognizable.  There's none of the hardness or impending impatience/snark I felt in other roles. 

I think NW is an international treasure. I will watch her do nothing and be glad for it.  To your point, however, one of the delights in the character she played in MI-5/Spooks was that she decided, without any direction whatsoever, that she was going to play her nerdy, super-efficient data expert as though she was head over heels in love with Peter Firth's character (she confesses as much in the dvd commentary). Firth, being a good actor his ownself, decided to play back at her, jealous and fussy when she had a scripted romance with somebody else. None of this interplay was written for them, until the writers caught on (after several seasons) and wrote them a romance. 

And those of us old enough will remember her fondly as the Barry-Manilow-singing performer in the 1st of the Four Weddings and a Funeral. The memory of which made me smile when she started singing "Sunny" at her underling. Which isn't Manilow, thank heavens.

She's a clingy, lesbian vicar in the Netflix series Collateral. If you need even more of her. Which you should; she's awesome.

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Should, yes, but the power dynamic of a  dysfunctional family trumps all kinds of 'shoulds.'

I dunno about this. They are elderly and well off. Presumably she is under some routine care. Family members abusing other family members is why elder protective services exist, and case managers are trained to spot this kind of situation. And it's not exactly hard to detect here. The dad wouldn't get to have his way just because he can convince his oblivious sons. One 'do you feel safe at home' question and she'd be out of there. It's not a show-stopper for me, just rings false, and I chalk it up to dramatic license.

Tom Courtenay can certainly play creepy still, that's for sure.

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Indeed and this last episode raised the question of whether the "demented" wife is just acting-the-part as her (abusive) husband demands ...  She does not have that glazed (fugue) look associated with dementia. She's been playing this role of oppressed early-onset wife, for years.  Did it begin voluntarily because family members were too inquisitive for safety?  

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21 hours ago, fauntleroy said:

As for the racist woman and the boy they are mentoring, the tossing of the chem textbook was too on the nose. Like, get it? Mentor is a racist! Homies told you, were right all along! Get it? Huh? A chance to go for some nuance lost there.

Nuance delivered via recovering the papers afterward. Teenagers tend not to default to nuance.

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21 hours ago, fauntleroy said:

Also, in US at least plumbing codes prevent hot water temp from being set to scalding levels

Really?  I know someone who was scalded by hot water, so I'm not sure this is correct.  Wouldn't it depend on how your water heater is set, if you have one?

I'm really enjoying this show, and want more at the end of every episode so far.  I love that Nicola Walker's character is not overburdened with angst, unlike the characters in so many British cop shows in the last decade or so.

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We'll have to see where they go with that story line, "She used to be a vicious skin head racist in large part to fit in with her boyfriend and crowds, but renounced that when she left him" ... and/or is she currently still attempting atonement for past deeds or what?  Does she deserve to be "forgiven" or less drastic understood and accepted as sincerely repentant.  Racism is a big topic that I've found people tend to paint with a wide brush, ignoring nuance and ignoring the possibility that people can (and do) change in their understanding and focus.  We'll see if they want to tackle that complexity.  I would welcome it.  I've found many people who do not consider themselves racist are capable to articulating sentiments that are unmistakably racist, if analyzed,  In the 1970's-80's it was understood that because of institutionalized racism (including the media), most Americans (anyway) had internalized unconscious racism ... true of African Americans, true of Hispanics, true of Anglos. The key was generally considered cultivating humility and tolerance, not screaming epithets.

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Re scalding water, when I complained to our plumber that our hot water was not hot, he said by code he was not allowed to set it any higher than X, then showed me the little thermostat on the water tank and said if a person was to set it hotter, this is where they would do it, wink wink. Maybe a local thing, and only for new installations. But in general, that seems like an obvious precaution to take if there is an occupant with dementia. And that's not some old rundown cottage. If they use gas for cooking, yikes. For that matter would you let a person in that condition near the kitchen?

I like the idea that she may not be as demented as she seems. If can get away from awful husband, may experience dramatic change for the better. Maybe theme of women adapting perforce to accommodate bad men?

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I'm a renter. The last two apartments I've rented, the kitchen sink water could get scalding, but the bath/shower could not. FWIW.

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Corrected in post, so as to avoid confusion and the possibility of anyone missing the correction.

Edited by some1105

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correction:  Walker was paired with Robson Green  (as Creagan) in Touching Evil 1997-1999.  Wire in the Blood was later with Hermoine Norris, great actor, whose character did try to have more than a working relationship with Green's character Tony Hill. 

corrected on 04/09/2018

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I didn't realize this was a three-episode arc so thought well they are moving this right along! Good job all around, the pacing in particular was well done. So many of these shows spend too much time on moody scenes and such then have to cram loads of dense exposition into the last few minutes. This unfolded at a better pace allowing us to absorb what was happening. Also didn't beat us over the head with the 'genius' detective, just thorough police work. Nicola Walker is great in this role - just enough of capable, without showiness.

Remarkable that the main suspect might be less reluctant to admit murder than admit something so commonplace now. How times have changed. There were a couple of points I wasn't clear on but will catch it again to clear those up.

I can rarely sit through whole police procedurals anymore, this was an exception.

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I really liked how they showed the effect the crime and the investigation had on the suspects' whole family.  Watching the son as he, in turn,  watched his parents' home and grounds being searched was especially good.  I'm glad the ex-racist woman's family came around to forgive her. That actress can do poor-pitiful-thing like no other.

Who hung himself in the prison?

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Trevor Eve's character after confessing (to hiring the hit) pleading guilty, being convicted and tellling his his kids he did it all for them and he was proud of them. 

I didn't remotely realize it was a finale episode until about 45 minutes from the end as story threads ended and it became obvious there was going to be nothing to unravel next week. It did wrap up better than I thought, even as I was watching it with some dismay (even if I have some difficulty with the murderer, at least (unlike so many) the acts of murder were not a matter of superhuman strength or cunning. (though I was less certain than DCI Cassie Stewart (Nicola Walker's character's name).  Lots of dignity for pretty much all characters.  Again wondering how lawless the 1960's were wrt gang/mob violence and how broadly that criminal activity was spread. 

. Looking forward to next week. 

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10 hours ago, JudyObscure said:

Who hung himself in the prison?

I think it was Cross, the one who hired the hit on Fenwick. 

I was also surprised that the series is wrapped up.  Will there be another?  I'll watch.  This was excellent.

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25 minutes ago, AuntiePam said:

I think it was Cross, the one who hired the hit on Fenwick. 

I was also surprised that the series is wrapped up.  Will there be another?  I'll watch.  This was excellent.

There  are 3 series. I believe the UK has already viewed all three and they are shooting the 4th?  In the U.S. I think they plan to run the next two on Masterpiece back to back, or at least series 2 should start next week.

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10 hours ago, JudyObscure said:

I really liked how they showed the effect the crime and the investigation had on the suspects' whole family.  Watching the son as he, in turn,  watched his parents' home and grounds being searched was especially good.  I'm glad the ex-racist woman's family came around to forgive her. That actress can do poor-pitiful-thing like no other.

Who hung himself in the prison?

I know, I have watched her in other shows and you hit the nail on the head.  I was a little annoyed by that story line. I get that the boy felt let down by finding out about her past, but all she had ever shown him was kindness so I thought his reaction was over the top.  He was more upset than the husband that she was with for years and had a son with.  That read to me as if he was feeling the pressure of expectations and this was a welcome excuse to cut loose, act out and escape a little bit.  Then he realized he was being unreasonable. 

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What just finished on Masterpiece was series 1, broadcast in six episodes in the UK in Oct & Nov 2015, and squashed to three 90 minute episodes for Masterpiece (what I think of as the Rebecca Eaton treatment).  What is coming up on Masterpiece for the next three weeks is series 2, six episodes originally broadcast in Jan & Feb 2017, squashed to three 90 minute episodes for Masterpiece.  Series 3 is the same format, started filming this past February, and will probably broadcast next winter and possibly hit Masterpiece early next year.

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kassygreene, thanks.  When you say "squash", do you mean that we're not going to be getting everything?  The program will be edited for length?

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It's Masterpiece.  Downton Abbey was notorious for having different edits for the US & the UK, neither of which included all of the other.  Sometimes they apparently cut out some bits for the tender sensibilities (i.e. excessively Puritan heritage) of the US market.  I think all we're losing is the time for the extra opening title sequence, and possibly the first end credit roll - Masterpiece seems to make its own end credits. (Red Letters on this episode are Reg Varney, who apparently was the lead on a very popular britcom called On The Buses, and some spin-off movies, and his career never really recovered from that success.  For me he has a Hey It's That Guy face.)  I suppose somewhere in the episode there was a reference, but I'm unfamiliar with the source material....

Anyways, when you take what was two standalone (or at least separate) episodes and put them together, I call it a smashing.  Or a smooshing, if it's especially smeary.   In a series like Unforgotten it works because the episodes are meant to be a linear arc.  I've seen it done on other series (none of the names come to mind) where they decided to show two parts on the same night, and they pretend it was always one episode, but if the writing and directing credits are different, it wasn't.  Also, this was broadcast on ITV, which does commercials and therefore like us has 44 minute "hour-long" episodes.  So we get a smashed-up 88 or 89 minutes (depends also on how much Alan Cummings has to say).

I overthink this stuff.

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I was surprised and pleased that, rather than all the 'suspect' characters having been involved in James' murder, they mostly had separate stories in the end which were just connected by them having all known James.  That wasn't at all what I expected, and it seemed an unusual choice.  I also loved how information generally came from good policework instead of some genius detective intuitively figuring it out.

I'm already anticipating the next series.

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Didn't the coroner establish that Jimmy was tortured before he was murdered?  Did Mrs. Slater torture him?

On a purely shallow level, the actor who played Sir Philip's son was gorgeous.

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I think he was tortured separately from the murder -- e.g. Sir Phillip put a nail through his hand to "remind" him to come up with the fifty quid he owed the gang, and then he was murdered while doing Mr. Slater in the basement to get it (plus the extra fifty for JoJo's abortion that didn't happen). 

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As the investigation into the cold-case murder continues, the forensic team discovers that the marks on the victim's body are consistent with known gangland torture methods.

He was tortured (injuries to fingers) by the loan sharks (about the car?) which I think was a tie in to Jimmy C/Trevor Eve's character who "drove" and did odd jobs for the gangland/mafia typel. 

 

Yes, Sir Phillips son ... gorgeous 

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Did they really put a nail in his hand or whatever for crummy 50 quid? Sheesh that's harsh.

Also am I right in thinking that it was left ambiguous that the wife really did both, or that the husband prob did them and he could blame her since though sounding implausible she wasn't in a position to say otherwise?

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I was under the impression that the wife did both murders.  She was suffering from post-partum psychosis and both murders happened not long after the birth of a child.  What I'm not sure about was the deal with the well-off son (the one who drove the BMW).  He seemed very sadistic towards her - anger because she brought grief onto the family and his "perfect" life or was it implied that he was a prick all along?

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