What do you get when you mix a bunch of stone cold weirdo detectives, seedy crimes, and the stunning backdrop of Amsterdam? Van Der Valk, of course! I personally can’t wait to see what bonkers cases we’ll solve this season (and if you need a refresher on what happened previously, recaps for seasons one and two start here and here, respectively). This time around, we’re trying something new, recaps-wise, because I’m ALSO covering Unforgotten season 5.

First up, let’s refresh our memory on the names we need to know, shall we?

The Squad:

Piet Van Der Valk aka Euro Cash: fearless loner leader of the team, we all remember him from last season and from the literal name of the show

Lucienne Hassell: Euro Cash’s BFF, total badass, and former bomb squad member

Julia Dahlman aka Big Cheese: The boss, unfortunately on the hook for Euro Cash’s shenanigans

Hendrik Davie aka Drunkie Howser: medical examiner, saxophonist, and lover of a good tipple

Sniffer: Big Cheese’s dog, adorable

You might have noticed a few important omissions from that list, and that’s because Job and Brad (aka Woodsman Cop) are unfortunately not around this season. Job’s apparently touring the world with his sister, and is currently in Vietnam, possibly indefinitely. Brad’s gotten a job at Interpol. Euro Cash actually admits, out loud, that he misses them both, which is frankly shocking and the most relatable thing I think he’ll probably ever do. But you can’t have a crime-solving scooby gang with just two members, so, of course, we’ve got some fresh faces on the team:

Eddie Suleman: Apparently a kick-ass marksman, mentee of Euro Cash, and great at chess, which, per Euro Cash, means that Eddie is either really good or really lucky. Eddie is a nice person and a relatively open book, which is surprising in this crew. He’s also the type who sizes up a person by their car (I drive a Honda Fit, so… extrapolate from that what you will) and is very put out when his mentor correctly deduces that Eddie drives a beater bike.

Citra Li: By contrast, the super competent newly-promoted Sergeant Citra (who’s technically in Traffic) is a very very closed book. Given that she’s basically a younger female version of Euro Cash she, like Job before her, immediately draws his Euro Cash’s dislike. I, however, am a fan, if only because at one point in this episode she breaks into Drunkie Howser’s office to play his saxophone without permission and then pump him for information about the case. Speaking of which…

The Case:

Our murder victim is a young man named Caspar, a freerunning champion who ditches a party in his honor to do a bunch of parkour around the city before leaving for a big competition in Paris. The previous evening, he and his friend Milton were up to some dodgy climbing of shipping containers, apparently to “make it all go away” which is… concerning. Anyway, when Caspar and his girlfriend Marian get on the road to Paris, they’re shot at by an unknown assailant, killing Caspar and injuring Marian when their van runs into a bollard. Milton, who was also not at the party earlier, arrives at the scene with literal blood on his hands, but runs before getting too close.

We meet Citra because she was the first officer on the scene, and is handling everything extremely competently. Euro Cash? Unimpressed. Everyone else? Big fans, and that includes Big Cheese, who aggressively hints that Euro Cash should take her on as a second mentee. He for some reason resists and says they don’t need anyone else, so Big Cheese, quite rightly, ignores him and brings on Citra anyway. He’s grouchy, but I like it; Big Cheese has a real knack for finding brilliant young weirdos who Euro Cash will come to love despite himself. Milton’s girlfriend Sanne, who was unfortunately video calling Marian when the accident happened, arrives at the crime scene just as our detective friends are wrapping up. She allows them to escort her to the hospital to see Marian, but not before she gets a call from Milton who basically says “don’t tell the cops anything.”

At the hospital, guess who’s treating the first victim’s girlfriend? It’s Lena, the lady Euro Cash was really trying to be in a relationship with last season, and who then turned out to be secretly engaged. Awkward! Euro Cash’s reaction isn’t cute, but then again, when has it been? Lena won’t let anyone in to see Marian yet, so while we wait, Hassell and Eddie go to inform Caspar’s family of his murder. Caspar’s dad is shattered, and has no idea that his son was in trouble despite being pretty involved in the kid’s career as a manager/promoter. He explains that Milton was a friend but also a rival freerunner. He also shares that he didn’t like Marian, who apparently used to date a guy named Lenny who is legendary in the freerunning community and used to mentor Caspar. It just so happens that Lenny also has a guy named Finn in his crew, who our pals know as a low level thug who was arrested last year for having a gun.

Naturally, their next stop is to talk to Lenny’s crew. Lenny’s take? Caspar used to be a good kid, but he got caught up in the glitz and the money side of the sport of freerunning, and that’s why they’re not close anymore. He very poetically says that Caspar took art and removed the soul. Unsurprisingly, the gothy BFF squad of Euro Cash and Hassell are a bit cynical about this, and also about Finn’s claim that Lenny reformed him. Which is kind of fair, in a way, because this crew’s cash flow comes from breaking into businesses to test their security - all above board, they claim. Lenny also insists that he doesn’t care about Marian dating Caspar at all. Hassell and Euro Cash? They don’t buy it.

So who’s the best suspect? Eddie thinks Milton, and at first Milton’s looking like a good bet: his blood was at the scene, he was a rival of Caspar’s, he was avoiding the cops, and when the team pulls up the security footage from CCTV, he’s standing near where their shooter would have been. But when the gunshots start, he’s not the one shooting. Milton actually got clipped by a bullet, hence the bleeding hand.

Back at the hospital, Marian wakes up and tells Sanne that Caspar’s death was all her fault. Before she can explain, Euro Cash and Hassell rock up to the hospital, and Sanne leaves. But not without picking up a tail in the form of Eddie and Citra, at the behest of Euro Cash. Inside, the detectives press Marian for information, which she isn’t willing to share. They’re about to make a breakthrough when Lena, who’s protective of her patient (and also probably mad at Euro Cash), kicks them out.

Meanwhile, the kids trail Sanne to an abandoned car lot where she meets up with Milton, who basically says “we have to leave; they’re after Caspar for something we did and they’ll come for me next” which is extremely scary. He also says they can’t tell the cops because of Marian, which I don’t love. Anyway, they’re about to hit the bricks, so Eddie tries to stop them with his badge, which as Citra points out, is a really bad idea: these kids are both freerunners, and as you’d expect they basically parkour out of there while our young detectives do their best to follow. Thankfully, Euro Cash and Hassel drive up just in time to catch the pair and be cross at their younger colleagues. Citra, for some reason, does exactly what I hoped she wouldn’t and tells Euro Cash that this was her fault. Hilariously, nobody buys it, and both younger detectives get the grumpy treatment from their work dad Euro Cash on the way home.

In interrogation, Milton continues to cover up whatever happened, clearly terrified. Sanne doesn’t actually know anything, except what Marian told her in the hospital, but Euro Cash keeps both suspects in custody to see if they can’t shake out something helpful. Sanne finally relays what Marian told her, but since she doesn’t have any context, “it’s all my fault” isn’t actually that helpful.

Citra and Eddie seem to work well together, which is evident from their duo interrogation of Sanne. Watching them work, Hassell (a fan of Citra), gently nudges her bestie to interrogate why he’s so against working with this new gal given that she shares his weirdo loner vibe and is already beloved by everyone else in the group. Begrudgingly, he takes her advice and the next day over coffee he asks Drunkie Howser about Citra. Our coroner friend explains that she lost both of her parents within the space of two weeks; her mom from cancer, and her dad died by suicide afterwards. With a little more insight into her backstory, Euro Cash is more willing to work with Citra, and stops being quite so much of a hardass after this conversation.

Back in the office, the team discusses the gun (newly identified by tech), Milton’s phone (a burner; his real one must be out there somewhere), and Lenny’s gang (almost all recovering drug users). They’re about to leave when Citra intercepts a message sent to Marian that reads “I want you; I’m watching you” and includes a picture of the hospital (big yikes), prompting the whole scooby gang to pile into Euro Cash’s car and head right there. At the hospital, Lena’s just told Marian that her family have been in contact to check on her. Marian, horrified, explains that her family isn’t around, and that she needs to GTFO ASAP.

Arriving outside, Euro Cash tells Citra and Eddie to search the outside of the building, and even hands Citra his gun since she, having joined them on loan from Traffic, doesn’t have hers on her. Inside, Euro Cash and Hassell arrive just in time for someone to take a shot at Marian’s window. No one is hit, so after pulling Lena to safety and telling her and Marian to stay low, the goth besties head out to search for the shooter. Lena goes to help other patients, and obviously Marian takes that opportunity to leg it out of there in her hospital gown. She’s just made it outside when she’s knocked out. By whom?? Is it the same person who killed Caspar? And why is Marian so dangerous? No clue, and since that’s where the episode ends we will have to wait for next week to find out!