Well well well. We’re back. Reader, I’ll be honest with you, I’m STILL not over last season’s ending, and I’m not sure I’m ok with some new wannabe Cassie joining our crew! But we must press on, and so press on we will. If you need a refresher on season 4, recaps are all available right here. Season five kicks off with a crew renovating a house who are attempting to clean out an old fireplace. They think some poor critter fell down the chimney and got stuck, because they don’t know they’re characters on Unforgotten, and are thus pretty horrified when they instead discover a full on mummified human leg.

Naturally, the next step is to bring in our pals, so Sunny’s already distracted attempt to order his morning coffee is even more interrupted by a call from DS Beanpole. Not only does she fill him in on the body, she also reminds him (and tells us) that this is New Cassie’s first day, and that they should thus probably also tell New Cassie about said crime scene. He reluctantly agrees, pays for his coffees (yes, you read that right: he accidentally bought two, because apparently this season wants me to START OFF distressed), and leaves.

Meanwhile, New Cassie’s also starting her day off pretty wretchedly: her husband has decided that today was the best day to inform her that he’s been cheating on her. Cool move, husband, now I at least have a reason to sympathize with New Cassie AND a person around here to actively dislike, so thanks for that. She bundles her children out the door, reminds him that it’s literally her first day at a new job, making him an even more massive jerk for being a cheater and telling her about it this way, and then gets the news that he’s still planning to leave for a work trip without giving her any additional information such as WHO he cheated with. She tries to physically block him, but finally relents when it’s clear he’s not going to tell her anything and will “call her tonight.” New Cassie, I know you can’t hear me, and I literally just met you, but please dump this jerk.

Anyway, our next stop is Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, for some reason, where one airport employee is translating a sweet text message from English to another language I don’t recognize for his coworker. It’s cute! How is it related to everything else? IDK man, I just recap here.

Elmo shrugs

Back at the crime scene, the chimney guy (who, yes, Call The Midwife fans, is played by the same actor who plays Cyril, well spotted) is showing Sunny and DS Beanpole where the remains are using a pretty cool scope when New Cassie walks in. Sunny starts to make introductions (awkwardly) but is interrupted by his new boss, who impatiently asks why they can’t just take the wall down to get to the remains.

Developer: We’re not taking the wall down.
New Cassie: Who the heck are you?
Developer: I own the place.
New Cassie: Well, I own the scene so… tough cookies. Is there any way to take the body out intact without removing the wall?
Chimney Guy: No guarantees.
New Cassie: Great. Wall comes down. Show me the part you found?

Look, on paper, none of this sounds as bad as it was to watch, reader. New Cassie is very blunt and direct, and has zero interest in playing nice with anyone, including her coworkers. Nothing wrong with that, necessarily, but it's a big departure from REAL Cassie, so you can see why this is going to get weird, to say the least.

Elsewhere, near the river, a woman wearing scrubs gets mugged in broad daylight. She initially doesn’t give up her purse, so the attacker full on knocks her out and runs off with her bag. Thankfully, a bystander finds her pretty quickly and calls for an ambulance. And it’s a good thing he did, because even once the paramedics get there and load her into the ambulance, she’s still unconscious.

Back at the crime scene, the pathologist explains that there are bite marks (rats: the bane of all major cities) on the leg, which is probably how it was separated from the rest of the body. She also points out that the body is pretty small.

Sunny: Kid small, or adult small?
Pathologist: Could be a kid, but I’m not sure.
Sunny: I mean, obvious question, but could this be Victorian remains?
New Cassie: That’s the obvious question?
Sunny: I mean, it’s a Victorian era chimney, could be a kid…
New Cassie: You mean like…

Sunny: Just a thought.
New Cassie: Ok. Well, want a ride back to the office? We can chat on the way.

Sunny accepts, but is clearly not thrilled about it, and makes a “help” face at DS Beanpole, who’s interviewing Developer, on his way out.

Developer: The previous owner was also a developer. He was planning to make this an apartment building but he went bankrupt during covid. He got it in a family probate situation — some kind of contested will/family feud dynamic, I think. By the time I got the place it’d been empty for about five years.
DS Beanpole: Do you know if the building was secured when it was unoccupied?
Developer: Not sure; one of the neighbors did mention squatters at one point but you’d have to ask them.

In New Cassie’s car, you could cut the tension with a knife. She’s obviously in a terrible mood, and Sunny isn’t so sunny himself.

New Cassie: Oh, sorry, I kind of forgot you were there.
Sunny, trying to be cool: Thanks?
New Cassie: Look, I just wanted to say that I know who’s shoes I’m trying to fill, and that I am going to do my best to do her and the team justice.

Sunny, not ready to handle that gracefully, agrees and then basically runs out of the car unhappily. New Cassie isn’t thrilled, but honestly, his reaction seems pretty reasonable; his very close friend and colleague literally died and this lady just did the “I know I could never replace your real dad but I’m here for you champ” stepfather speech! Heading inside, Sunny shows New Cassie to her new office and awkwardly explains that Cassie’s stuff has been cleared out, and since they’ve had two interim DCIs, it should be just an empty room at this point.

New Cassie: Ok. So I’m thinking let's do a real briefing with the team once we get the body out and actually know what we’re dealing with. But… just so you know, I’m not going to run the team like she did.
Sunny: Ok.
New Cassie: Like, yes, it’s great that this team is the go to for historical cases, but those cases take a lot of resources to solve, and I think those resources could be spent better elsewhere. And so does my boss. So if this body is Bert the Sweep, or even just a couple of decades old, I’m not giving it that much time. I care about murders that happen today.
Sunny: I mean, I will say that I believe we can do both.
New Cassie: Ideally, sure, but life isn’t ideal.

And with that, Sunny heads back out into the bullpen to make significant eye contact with the rest of the squad. Once he goes, New Cassie pulls out her phone and dials up “My Gorgeous Hubby.”

A man dramatically exhales as if to say "oof"

Unsurprisingly he doesn’t answer (ugh), so now she’s got even more to stew about. Over in the fancy part of London, a very posh older man is welcomed into a private medical clinic for a consultation. Unfortunately for him, the news isn’t very good: it seems like he may have a cancer recurrence, this time possibly spreading, which isn’t a good sign despite his doctor’s unwillingness to panic just yet. And in Bath, after a bustling night of service at a packed (and rightfully so, by the look of the food) restaurant, the manager and chef sit down for a coffee. The manager tries to get her partner to talk about plans for the next day (when they’ll be working offsite several hours away) but he demurs, giving her a kiss on the forehead before heading back to the kitchen.

Back with our squad, Sunny’s called up Sal to vent about the convo he just had with his new boss. Unfortunately, she’s in problem solving mode (maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to focus on the here and now!) which is NOT what he’s looking for at this moment.

Sunny: Either way, I don’t like her!
New Cassie, walking up behind him and definitely hearing that: Hey, they got the body out, time to go.
Sal, in the phone: Still good for dinner tonight? 7:30?
Sunny: Yes, gotta go, love you, see you then!

YIKES. A of all, this car ride is about to suck, and b of all, there’s no way Sunny makes it to that dinner, is there? Back at the crime scene, everyone gathers around the table where the body has been placed. Because it was hard to remove the victim, Pathologist isn’t sure what damage came from getting her out (yes, the body is female) and what came before. Despite her small size (well under 5 feet tall), the victim was probably somewhere between 30 and 60 years old. She was put up the chimney in just a dress, and the tissue is pretty degraded, so identifying her will be very very hard. Great, just the kind of case New Cassie won’t want to get involved with!

New Cassie: Hey is the owner still around? Developer, I saw some battening marks on the fireplace, was that what it looked like when you got it?
Developer: No, it was covered in plaster, which we removed.
Me: Look, I love a renovation moment as much as the next guy, but what are you on about?

Sunny’s clearly wondering too, and asks his new boss what she’s thinking.

New Cassie: Well, I’m wondering if that plaster was meant to stop anyone from looking up there and finding the body. And then I was thinking about building regulations — my husband’s in the industry so I know the rules change all the time. I’m wondering if we can date the plaster based on its chemical composition.
Sunny, impressed: Good thought.
New Cassie: So let’s date the plaster, and if it’s cheap and easy, the dress too, because it looks old. Like 30s/40s old. And hopefully it is, so we can get this off our plate fast!

Oh NO I was hoping she’d gotten invested and would want to solve the thing, and clearly Sunny thought so too! New Cassie doesn’t stick around to see our disappointment, however, having just received a call from her mother. She heads outside to take that (and to tell her mum about the affair) while inside, Sunny tells DS Beanpole to get the team on finding a list of all the house’s owners back to the war.

Back at Charles de Gaulle, the young guy who translated for his coworker earlier clocks out at the airport, and immediately clocks IN to two different ridesharing apps, which bring him a woman having a loud phone conversation with her friend about a cute guy and a couple having a loud fight. Truly a rough second job; this poor guy.

And over in the UK, we see why the mugger stole that lady’s purse: he uses her debit card to get groceries and cash, and then uses the cash to purchase drugs, which he brings home to share with his partner.

A nonplussed man says "Well that's not good."

Meanwhile, the restaurateur couple from earlier is now on the road, and as promised, talking over plans for their day. Chef is distracted and not processing what Manager is telling him, which is obviously frustrating her. It seems like part of his distractibility has to do with the plans, which require him to get a haircut, remove his earrings, and cosplay respectability, which he has agreed to do but doesn’t seem thrilled about.

A woman says "Fair enough."

At New Cassie’s house, she fills her mother in on the situation re: dirtbag husband. He called back as promised, but claimed he had a dinner meeting and didn’t want to talk about this on the phone (tbh I don’t care what he wants at this point but whatever). New Cassie also reveals that she’s much more of an open book about this than I anticipated, and has already called her sister to fill her in.

New Cassie: Mum, what am I going to do? I can’t forgive this. I mean maybe I can, but I can’t forget it. We’ll never be able to get back to normal, even if he wanted that, which I’m honestly not thinking he does after our last conversation. I think it’s over. My normal happy marriage is apparently a lie, and over. And if that’s the case I think I need to resign; get a normal 9 to 5 with less pressure, or take leave, or something. For the first time ever I don’t know what to do.

Ugh, once again: New Cassie’s husband is trash. While New Cassie talks to her mum, elsewhere, the employee from the airport who I will henceforth be calling Jack of All Trades is ALSO talking to his mum, who’s apparently called to remind him that he’s not living up to his potential because he left his previous (and I’m guessing high powered) job to go work at an airport in France. She also tells him that his dad’s fine, and that they both think they know why he’s single, clearly aiming to touch on every young person’s full list of favorite topics to discuss with parents.

Back in the UK, the posh guy who we last saw at his doctor’s office is today spending time at a community center playing ping pong with youths. Finishing his game, he leaves, but not before telling the manager that he’s going to work on securing funding for them over the next few days. Posh Man seems to be a helpful, well-liked fixture of this community despite being so fancy, so naturally my guess is that he’ll turn out to be secretly horrible in some way. We’ll see! Meanwhile, across town, the young mugger makes instant noodles in an attempt to feed his girlfriend. She initially doesn’t want it, but finally agrees when he tells her she can’t have any drugs until she eats. And speaking of eating, Sal’s waiting with a beautifully set table for Sunny, who’s now officially 30 minutes late. Why? Because he’s being miserable at real Cassie’s grave.

A crying man says "I'm not crying, you're crying."

When he finally gets back in the car and sees several missed calls on his phone, Sunny obviously immediately realizes what happened and calls back right away. This call goes pretty much exactly as you’d expect: Sunny says he was working late and left his phone in the car (lie, and I’m pretty sure she knows) Sal says she didn’t make anything special (lie, and I’m pretty sure HE knows), and then she reminds Sunny that she’s got to leave for a work thing very early the next day, so she’ll be asleep when he gets home. Just the worst all around. Well, almost: the young mugger wakes up from a nap to find his girlfriend passed out next to him. He checks her over and then calls an ambulance right away, telling the dispatcher that he’s pretty sure his girlfriend has had an overdose.

Meanwhile, in France, Jack of All Trades returns home and gets into bed… where he’s not alone! The little scamp was fully lying to his mum about being single! TBH given that whole conversation earlier I already kinda get why, but boy howdy do I need more details.

Back at the office, DS Beanpole researches the victim’s dress, and finds out that it is vintage, and from a shop that was open from just before WWII to the 1960s. She also found a sub label that says “Shaper” which Sunny asks her to research further before heading into the morgue to meet Pathologist and New Cassie. Pathologist explains that she can’t see any clear cause of death on the outside of the victim, but having had another look at her teeth, she’s narrowing the age window to late 20s - early 40s. She also notes that the victim is missing a lot of teeth.

Sunny: Isn’t it weird for someone so young to be missing that many teeth? Even back then?
Pathologist: Not really, actually; no fluoride in the water, poor hygiene, poverty…
Sunny: And her height, could that also be related to poverty? Malnutrition?
Pathologist: The bones don’t reflect that, but she does seem to have been very thin. No clue on ethnicity, but I might be able to get fingerprints with a new hydration technique to get an ID. That’s expensive, but it’s really cool.
New Cassie: I’m going to stop you right there — we can revisit based on the plaster age, but if we’re looking at a body from 70 or 80 years ago, we’re not going to look for fingerprints. Agree, Sunny?
Sunny: Yeah. But one thought — any chance that dress was purchased vintage? That’s a big thing these days I hear!
New Cassie: Oooh fancy man likes fashion, huh? Who’s doing the plaster btw?
Sunny: DS Grumpy.
New Cassie: Great, maybe I’ll take that off his plate. Toodles!
Pathologist: Actually, one last thing: she has a c-section scar.
Sunny: Oh!
Pathologist: Yeah. It’s hard to see because of her position, but it’s there.
Sunny, desperate to get New Cassie to care about this: SO, it’s possible that child is still alive!
New Cassie, not biting: Yup. Good to know. Bye!

Blerg. Sunny and Pathologist aren’t too happy, but to be fair, neither is New Cassie, who’s calling her cheating spouse from the car. Again, he refuses to answer any questions until he gets back, which continues to make her furious.

Dirtbag Husband: This isn’t the right way to do this! I can’t hear you, your signal is bad!
New Cassie: I’m putting my foot down. Tell me now if you’re still seeing this woman, or don’t come back home! Hello?

Either the call dropped, or he hung up, but either way, this does nothing to make me like him more. Meanwhile, the restauranteur couple meet with the reason for the fancy act: potential investors, who proclaim the food “the best vegan dish they’ve ever tasted.” High praise indeed! The question, says the potential investor, is whether our friends can be scaled; is the best bit about their business that it’s small?

Manager: We think it’s scalable.
Potential Investor: And what about you, Chef?
Manager, quickly: He agrees!
Potential Investor: Let him answer.
Chef: We don’t underestimate how hard it would be to scale; what I do is labor intensive, and that’s not cheap. So it’s a challenge.
Manager: But one we know we can overcome. We’ve been through so much to be here today; please believe in us.

While they wait for an answer, Posh Guy is forced to pull to the side of the road to get out of his car and vomit. Not good! While he wipes his mouth off, the restauranteur couple gets into a fight on their way home.

Manager: I know you were being honest, but nobody wants honesty! They want ambition, and believing in yourself! Just lie like the rest of us!
Chef: Sorry I don’t find that as easy as some people.
Manager: It’s like you don’t want to be successful!
Chef: We already ARE! I just don’t want to make everything bigger!
Manager: Yeah, which is why you were living in a tent when we met, and why I’ve been bankrolling you!

This descends into a very dumb slap fight, which is never good, but especially bad when one person is DRIVING. Manager escalates things, and manages to get in a pretty solid jab at Chef, who immediately pulls over, gets out of the car, and storms off (the right choice; good gravy). She’s clearly pretty contrite, but yikes.

Back at the station, Sunny and DC Babyface are going over the list of owners of the house. They’ve eliminated anyone before the 1940s, and have started to speculate on which owners were more likely to hide a body in a chimney (probably not the people with 5 kids running around, for instance) when New Cassie shows up to rain all over their parade: the dress is from the 40s, so that’s probably when the body went into the chimney! Especially, she says, since she’s gotten the results on the plaster, which was dated to around 1950.

New Cassie: This isn’t therapy, DI Khan. Yes, it’s sad that someone was killed, but it was at least 50 years ago, get over it. Case is closed.
Everyone in the squad room:

A man says "Damn girl."

There’s not really much to say after that, so Sunny hands the papers he was looking at over to DC Babyface and returns to his desk.

Meanwhile, in the countryside, Posh Guy returns home to his estate, where we find out from his wife that, if I’m reading between the lines correctly, their son has sexually assaulted a classmate, but that Posh Guy’s wife believes this to have been ok because “these young girls drink so much.” Rather than being horrified, Posh Guy says he’ll call the school to make sure the response is proportionate. Maybe he’s just distracted due to his health situation, but that’s really not excusable, so he just went from benevolent grandpa to bad guy in the space of one episode. It’s a record! Sometimes I hate being right, you know?

Over at the hospital, the mugger’s girlfriend is thankfully able to walk out the morning after overdosing totally fine (aside from the overall health situation which is very clearly not great). He admonishes her to let him pick her dosage from now on, saying she doesn’t know how much to take. Across town, Manager arrives at a beautiful house boat, and once she gets inside, she calls a friend and tells her that she’s going to drink. The friend (or perhaps sponsor?) asks Manager to explain what’s going on.

Manager, sobbing: I hit him again.

Oof. Back at the station, Sunny’s had enough, and is busily drafting his resignation letter, effective immediately, when DS Beanpole approaches. The label in the dress actually said “Snaper” and that’s relevant because Snaper and Co is the name of a vintage shop that opened in… 2010. DS Beanpole has not only confirmed that the label is theirs, but also found the literal actual dress the victim was wearing on their website. The dress was sold in 2016, and paid for by debit card. Victim ID just got a whole lot more possible (and a whole lot less cold case-y). Take that, New Cassie!

Sunny: Game ON. Call the bank, see if you can get the name for that card. And you’re a STAR, well done!

Newly invested, Sunny saves his resignation draft, and then, straightening his tie, approaches New Cassie’s office to fill her in.

New Cassie: So how do you explain the plasterboard
Sunny: No clue, but that’s part of the job, right? I mean obviously that part was 50 years old, but maybe they replastered over the original opening. From what I remember from the scene the board was in a million pieces on the floor, maybe you just grabbed the wrong part!
New Cassie: So it’s my fault, huh?
Sunny, genuine: It's nobody’s fault, that’s just how it goes sometimes, right? We’re moving forward, right? Good.
New Cassie, as he’s leaving: Did you apply for this job?
Sunny: No. But it was offered to me multiple times. They begged me, actually.

You know what, after how this has gone so far I get why he’s being a bit of a brat about this, but nobody here is setting themselves up for a successful long term working partnership, huh? And despite the personal win and getting a jab in at a boss he doesn’t like, after leaving the squad room, Sunny heads to the bathroom to have a tiny breakdown (a classic choice!). Will he and the rest of the squad be able to process their grief over Cassie so they can get along with New Cassie? Will she stop bringing her admittedly reasonable unhappiness from home to the office? And which of these other people is responsible for the murder? We’ll just have to come back next week to find out!