So far this season, we’ve identified the victim (Precious Falade), connected with her next of kin, (Manager) and determined cause of death (gunshot wound). Unfortunately, interpersonal matters haven’t progressed nearly as well: Sunny and Sal are processing an unplanned pregnancy, New Cassie still hasn’t updated her phone contact for Dirtbag Husband, and the entire squad have gone from wary to openly hostile.
This week starts with New Cassie dealing with the classic family breakfast argument: to cocoa hoop or not to cocoa hoop? As her kids finish their oatmeal, she finally gets a call from her sister, who cuts straight to the point: can they meet up after work that evening? New Cassie tries to explain that she’s in the midst of a complicated case and may need to punt, but her sister isn’t here for that, and hangs up to go to a meeting. And speaking of weird family interactions, Sunny tries to wander out of his house without saying goodbye to Sal! She calls him out, and he comes back to say hi, but is interrupted by a phone call from forensics. With a promise to be home early (doubt it, but respect the intention), he leaves to take the call on his way to work.
Meanwhile, Posh Guy rifles through the membership application files at the community center he’s sponsoring until he finds a particular one. Reader, I’ll be real with you, no clue what that’s about. At the same time, Manager and Chef drive to meet with their investors. Manager’s trying to put on a brave face, but given that she just found out her daughter is dead, her tears make a lot of sense. And over in Paris, Jack of All Trades is telling his coworker that he hated living in London: it was hard, full of inequality, and wore him down into a person he didn’t like. But hey, if his coworker wants to go live there, give it a try! This conversation is cut short by a phone call too, this time from the bank with news about his mortgage application. What news? We’ll have to wait to find out.
Over at the station, New Cassie reviews their progress: the next step is to find out as much as they possibly can about Precious Falade. DC Babyface has been looking into Manager, and the news isn’t great: Manager has had multiple arrests, almost all related to alcohol abuse. There is one standout offense, from the 1980s: an assault on a doorman at a stockbrokerage in which Manager was found to have a gun. Obviously that’s worth following up, so DC Babyface is going to focus on that. DS Beanpole explains that she was able to find out a tiny bit about Precious’ son, who was born in Wales in 1998. He also has a long criminal record, including theft, drugs, and battery related to gang involvement. DS Beanpole will keep looking into him, and try to find him. New Cassie is about to wrap up when Sunny pipes up.
Sunny: One more thing… I tested the rest of the plasterboard. It’s all from the 1960s; there’s no modern bit.
New Cassie: Wait, so how does that work then? We know she was killed in 2016.
Sunny: Well the lab thinks —
Reader, before he can finish that sentence New Cassie gets a text and answers it while Sunny continues his explanation. We know that she’s texting the front desk, who let her know Manager has arrived to see her daughter’s remains, to tell them that they should wait for New Cassie to get there before they show Manager anything. But Sunny and the gang don’t know this, so she just looks SUPER rude.
Sunny, continuing, somewhat perturbed: — they think it was reused. It’s got these weird bits of newspaper and they think that’s to fill in gaps from when they moved it from wherever it was originally.
New Cassie: But why would you reuse plasterboard in the first place? It’s cheap.
Sunny: Maybe you’re totally broke? Or maybe you don’t want anyone to know you bought it…. But here’s the really interesting thing: that newspaper has a date on it. Which means that if it was patched up when they reapplied the plaster, the chimney was repaired on July 12, 2016.
An even narrower window for the time of death? We love to see it! New Cassie is also pretty happy about this, and says nice work. It’s a cute moment, so she doubles down and asks everyone to stop calling her Ma’am in favor of Gov. Yes, it’s less formal, but it’s not actually chill, so it basically just feels like she did this to the squad:
They’re not thrilled, but agree. Out in the bullpen, Sunny gets a call from the lab. They found blood. Lots of blood. Meanwhile, in a different police station, Mugger is getting questioned by a police officer who holds up various things found in his flat and asks for an explanation. His response every time? No comment. This is clearly SUPER annoying for the police officer, who finally, outraged, tells Mugger that the woman he stole from in the first episode was pregnant and nearly had a miscarriage after the attack. That does seem to rattle Mugger a bit, but not enough to get him to talk (he does ask for a cup of tea though).
Back at the station, Manager and Chef watch through a window as Pathologist gently pulls back the blanket covering Precious’ face.
Manager, breaking down: The things they do to us! The way they treat us! How do they get away with it?
New Cassie, creepily, from the corner: Who do you mean by they?
Manager: Do you mind? I’m having a private moment with my dead kid. Go away.
New Cassie: What did you mean?
Manager: Who do you think? Men. That’s who it’ll be. It’s always men.
Speaking of men: at the other station, the cop who questioned Mugger has pulled his lawyer into the hallway to talk about what’ll happen next. Mugger will go to court, and he won’t get an option for bail.
Lawyer: Why not? He’s actually remorseful, he just isn’t showing it well.
Cop: You want to fight for a guy like that? I know it’s your job, but yikes.
Lawyer: I know it’s YOUR job, but you don’t know his background. Yes, I want to fight for him.
Cop: Well I don’t care about his background, I care about the woman he attacked. Apply for bail; we’ll reject you.
Over at the crime scene, a tech shows Sunny where the blood was found. Short answer? ALL over the floor: there was a big puddle in the middle of the room, and then a smear leading to the fireplace. Someone tried to clean up but didn’t do a very good job: the blood has soaked deep into the wood. Good news? There’s enough blood to compare the DNA in the boards to Precious and make sure it’s hers. Sunny’s pleased with this info, until he gets a call from New Cassie summoning him back for an interview with Manager… if he cares to show up. Uncalled for! Anyway, obviously he does care, so Sunny heads right back.
While all this is happening, Posh Guy heads to an apartment building and knocks on the door. After being invited inside, he tries to explain.
Posh Guy: Look, I know this is weird. It’s weird to me too. But I played some table tennis with your kid the other day and I saw something in him that reminded me of myself when I was that age. I know life is hard around here, so I just wanted to ask: is there anything I can do to support your family? Financially or otherwise?
Table Tennis Kid’s Mom: Well, I studied econ back in Mogadishu. I knew who you were before my son told me about you. I’m grateful for your offer, but your money isn’t what I need. I need help for my community: our schools, our hospitals, all of the things your party defunded for years. Who fixes those? So no, sorry: money from you would make you feel better, not us.
Reader, is it possible to fall in love with a fictional character you just met? Asking for a friend. Obviously, that wasn’t what Posh Guy wanted to hear, so he leaves, distressed.
Back at the station, Sunny and New Cassie sit down in interrogation with Manager, ostensibly to find out as much as they can about Precious’ life around the time of her death.
Manager: Did you find out when she died?
Sunny: We’re pretty sure we have a small window now. Tissue?
Manager: No thanks.
Sunny: Yesterday when we talked, you seemed a little unsure when you last saw your daughter…
Manager: It was actually January 2016. Her birthday is the 15th. I checked my diary; she had come from Wales and was staying in emergency accommodation in the city.
Sunny: She was unhoused?
Sunny: And she didn’t live with you?
Manager: She had, in the past, but it was too hard with her whole thing.
Sunny: And her son was with her then?
Manager: No, he stayed up in Wales. I only visited her there once, a long time ago.
Sunny: Why did you only visit once?
Manager: Because of them. The cult.
Sunny, and me, tbh: THE CULT?
Manager: When she was 15 she was abducted by a cult.
Sure didn’t have a cult on my bingo card, reader, not sure about you! Manager explains that the cult recruited members in London, and they’d grabbed Precious right out of school. The group was called “the family of blessed light” and Manager tells our friends that she never reported any of this to the police. Precious told her she wanted to go with the cult; it was only much later that Manager learned Precious was unhappy. Honestly this seems pretty suspicious to me (a young teen can’t really make that kind of decision for themselves in a vacuum) and New Cassie agrees, and presses Manager about that.
Manager: Look, she was a strong willed kid; hard to control. Always getting into trouble. I thought working on a farm outside the city might actually be good for her. I should also say that she was pregnant at this point.
Sunny: By whom?
Manager: The leader, David Bell. I think he was 42 when he met her.
Sunny: How long did she live in Wales?
Manager: Ten or fifteen years. She’d get tired of it every once in a while and move back to London for a year or so, which was always hard: she couldn’t find work or housing so she’d steal or do sex work. When that failed she’d go back to Wales. That happened many times.
Sunny: And she went back on her own accord? Nobody came looking for her?
Manager: Not that I saw, but the leader would call her a lot, and she was very scared of him. He might have come down sometimes. I tried to help her, but I had my own challenges. Alcohol, which I’ve worked through. But you have to take care of yourself sometimes. So I cut her off.
Sunny: After that last meeting?
New Cassie: On her birthday?
Manager, annoyed: Yes.
Sunny: Was she using at that time? And was it just meth, or?
Manager: Yes, and I’m not sure what she would use. I didn’t interact with that part of her life.
Sunny: How did her son fit into this?
Manager: He didn’t, really. The cult and social services raised him. I wasn’t involved.
Sunny: Ok. One last question: can I ask about your 1986 firearms charge?
Manager: I’m sure it’s all in your files. So unless you’re going to arrest me, I think I’ve said enough.
Honestly, fair, but I definitely feel like that arrest is related somehow. Anyway, over in France, we finally get that mortgage update: the bank wants our pals to put down 20%, which is going to be hard given that they’re struggling to come up with 10%. Jack of All Trades wants to tighten their belts and do it anyway: if they want to have a baby, they need a bigger place! Jill of All Trades seems to agree, but she’s not happy about it.
Back at the station, DS Beanpole interviews a former case worker who knew Precious. Yes, she had struggles, but this woman’s belief is that Precious’ biggest problem was FASD: fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, which can have wide ranging symptoms including difficulties with attention, learning and coordination, and can result in a shorter than average height. Given what we know about Manager’s alcohol use and Precious' life, this actually explains a lot, including their tense relationship: Manager refused to accept the diagnosis, apparently.
Case Worker: They had a terrible relationship. Fought all the time, and they were both very angry at each other.
DS Beanpole: Did they every fight physically?
Case Worker: Yes, often. Precious wasn’t aggressive in that way; Manager would have instigated. Anyway, I was looking after Precious, and then I went on maternity leave. When I came back, my partner and I shared responsibility of her until I was back up to speed.
DS Beanpole: And who was that?
Case Worker: Well, this recapper’s calling him Jack of All Trades. He left in mid 2016; quit social work entirely.
DS Beanpole: Does that happen a lot?
Case Worker: Oh yeah, all the time. Anyway, here’s the notes from our last meeting with her, written up by Jack of All Trades. They’re super brief; normally they’d be MUCH more detailed.
DS Beanpole: I’m sorry, am I reading this right? “Son wants her to go back to sex work” “Looking into rehab; she wants to go” “Mother assaulted her again” — yikes. Why weren’t these written up?
Case Worker: He resigned the next day.
DS Beanpole: Well I need his contact info asap, please.
Now that’s an interesting lead. Across the station, Sunny and New Cassie debrief about the interview. Key takeaway? Manager really didn’t want to talk about that gun. Also New Cassie really wants to know more about the grandson and the cult. Same!
Sunny: Well, if you wanted to maybe grab coffee we could talk over some ideas?
New Cassie, cutting him off: DS Grumpy, did any of the police records on that house come back?
DS Grumpy: I’ll check again now.
New Cassie: And the phone and bank records?
DS Grumpy: Filed the applications just now, waiting for results.
New Cassie: And where the heck is everyone else?
Well, DC Babyface is trying to find the relative who kicked the squatters out of the house, and DS Beanpole is also following leads. This all seems pretty reasonable to me, but not to New Cassie, who grinds out something about them working at a glacial pace and storms off, yelling at Sunny for forgetting to call her Gov, not Ma’am, on her way. Look, I get it, we need results, but do you really want to be aiming for Miranda Priestly as your boss blueprint,
Sunny apologizes to DS Grumpy, and then asks him to look into the cult. Unfortunately, reader, I think this is going to get worse before it gets better, but it’s already pretty rough. Get it together, folks!
Over at the other station, Lawyer has a chat with Mugger about the art in Lawyer’s phone background. I like this Lawyer already, but it’s great to see him treating his client like more than just an offender.
Lawyer: Who got you into art?
Mugger: My dad.
Me: WHAT? Your dad the cult leader??
Mugger, wry, then serious: Did you know that that artist’s pen name is wild beast? No wonder I like him. Look, my girlfriend needs help: can you call my social worker and ask him to check on her?
Lawyer agrees, and someone comes in to escort Mugger to jail to await his sentencing. Back at the squad’s station, Sunny’s done waiting around. He meets with their collective boss to complain about New Cassie.
DSI Boss: Her previous squad loved her.
Sunny: Yeah, but we don’t. She’s getting worse every episode! Rude, distracted, mean to my team… I didn’t want to ease her in, but I did it for you.
DSI Boss: I’m not super sympathetic to that given that I wanted to give the job to you, but —
Sunny: Like I get it; there’s these hotshot people getting promoted too fast, but she’s not good! DS Beanpole should get the job, she’d crush it. This is NOT working for me, sir.
And with that, he leaves. Ugh, rough all around. Over at the lawyer’s office, DC Babyface looks over their phone records to try and find the mysterious relative who kicked the squatters out of the house (and who may have killed Precious). And in Paris, Jack of All Trades is arguing with his partner. His take is that she’s too scared to tell him she doesn’t actually want to have a baby. She disagrees, saying that she’s just trying to be realistic about how complicated their situation is.
Jill of All Trades: You already work too many hours; I don’t want you to do more. He’s going to make me get a lawyer; that has to be the priority! You get that, right? Also, I don’t need to have a baby with you to prove to me (or to you, I hope) how much I love you.
Jack of All Trades: But I really need this, do you get that?
Jill of All Trades: Of course! You heard what I just said.
Jack of All Trades, hearing her playful tone as derisive: This isn’t funny! You have two kids with that jerk and won’t have one with me! Am I not good enough? Is that what’s happening?
And then he storms out. Look, I get that this is hard, but pressuring someone to have a kid with you isn’t cute.
Back in London, Sunny has a chat with Pathologist. The tea? Sunny feels responsible for Actual Cassie’s death, either because he wasn’t able to help her or didn’t notice how bad things had gotten. Obviously he isn’t responsible, which Pathologist tells him, but this is kind of a textbook reaction.
Pathologist: Have you talked to Sal about this?
Sunny: No. It’s hard enough already; she definitely thinks I should have gotten over this by now. Everyone does.
Pathologist: I don’t. I think about her all the time; if you can’t or won’t go to a therapist about this, you come talk to me, ok? I’m always here.
A truly perfect response, we love to see it. A+ work, Pathologist! Upstairs, in the bullpen, DC Babyface is on the phone trying to get the call traced. And, as Sunny leaves the canteen, he gets a call from New Cassie.
New Cassie: Hi, Sunny. Look, I’m sorry I snapped earlier, that wasn’t ok.
Sunny, not really sure what to say to that: Yup.
New Cassie: …ok. Well I just had an interesting chat with DS Beanpole about Precious’ social worker. How would you feel about a trip to Paris, where he lives, to talk to him.
Sunny, confused: Can’t we just zoom him?
New Cassie: We could, but right now he’s the last person who saw her. The next day, he quit his job, and two weeks after that, he quit the UK entirely. I’d think you’d want to see him up close.
Sunny: Why not.
Sunny, I know you’ve got a lot going on, and I get it, but on behalf of everyone who won’t ever get offered a field trip to Paris from their boss:
New Cassie’s about to leave the office when DC Babyface pops in with news. That relative? The one who checked in on the house? It’s Posh Guy.
New Cassie: That Tory LORD? Whaaaaat? I hate that guy.
DC Babyface: Yep, mood. His wife’s sister was the owner. He’s the one who changed all the locks.
New Cassie: Very interesting. I wonder what could POSSIBLY connect a Tory Lord with a sex worker?
DC Babyface, picking up on her boss’ sarcasm: Indeed.
New Cassie: Start digging into him. Actually, can you get me his address?
Oh HELL yeah, let’s take down the rich and powerful! The bad news is that New Cassie wants to do this right now, instead of having those planned drinks with her sister. And speaking of letting people down, Sunny gets a call from Sal while he’s already on the train to France.
Sunny: Hi love — so sorry, was about to call you. I’ve been sent to talk to a possible suspect in Paris. I’ll be back tomorrow!
Sal: I, uh. I think I’m miscarrying. I’m going to my mum’s.
Sunny, horrified: Oh god, I’m so sorry Sal! Do you want me to come back? Are you going to the hospital? I’ll come straight back!
Unfortunately half of that is cut off because the train has just entered the chunnel. Terrible timing, Eurostar! While Sunny settles in for the worst train ride ever, Jack of All Trades works away at the airport, where unfortunately he’s up to some possibly shady stuff. He’s scanning various boxes, and, after measuring one, he opens the top to look inside. Whatever he’s about to do is interrupted by a coworker asking him to sign something. The coworker definitely notices that something is weird, but Jack of All Trades brushes him off, even after the colleague tells him he’s there to talk, any time. Speaking of time, guess what’s in that box? A bunch of presumably expensive watches. Dude, I know you need money, but I feel like you’ll get caught instantly if you steal these. Don’t do it!
Back in the UK, Lawyer knocks on his client’s door to check on his girlfriend, as promised. She doesn’t answer, but someone else does: a shirtless man who looks like he’s under the influence and insists that “he’s looking after her now” and “she’s fine.” I don’t want to be a Negative Nancy, but somehow I doubt it, reader. There’s not much that Lawyer can do here, so he leaves disappointed.
While that’s happening, Posh Guy drafts an email that basically says “I’m getting my affairs in order; I have to tie up loose ends.” The recipient? A secure Swiss email service, which has me thinking about secret bank accounts, at best, and much darker secrets at worst. His writing is cut short when a car pulls up the very long, very fancy drive. Of course, Posh Guy has no reason to recognize New Cassie, but the face he makes gives me the impression that he knows a cop when he sees one. Posh Guy heads downstairs, where his wife introduces him to New Cassie. Ever posh, he invites her into the sitting room so she can “grill him in comfort.” She cuts right to the chase, and gives him an overview of what they know so far.
Posh Guy: How horrible! And what a way to treat remains! How can I help?
New Cassie: We’re trying to narrow down when she died, and we hear you may have been in the house sometime around May or June of that year?
Posh Guy: Yes — some squatters were hanging around, and a neighbor who knew I used to visit called me at work. I can’t remember exactly when this was, but late May, I think? I can check my calendar.
New Cassie: And what happened then?
Posh Guy: I went down the day after I got the call. I knocked on the door, told them who I was, and that they had to leave. I tried to keep it friendly.
New Cassie: How many were there?
Posh Guy: Two came to the door, but I saw five people leave. Three men, two women. They were super hostile; basically said to get lost. Physically threatening, too. They looked like addicts to me, and from my charity work I know that people can be dangerous when they’re sick like that. I was scared, to be honest.
New Cassie: So how did you get them out?
Posh Guy: Cash. Gave them 500 bucks; they originally asked for 1000, but went for the lower amount. Left within an hour or so.
New Cassie: Can I just ask: why didn’t you call the police?
Posh Guy: Well, I wasn’t sure what our rights were, legally, and I didn’t want to deal with a long court case; it was already bad enough with the will. I figured money would do the trick more easily, and it did. Got locksmiths in soon after, and we had things well secured from there on. No problems after that.
New Cassie: And what was the state of the house when you went in?
Posh Guy: It was terrible: damage, garbage, horrible smell. A lot of the historical features had been removed. Oh my goodness, the smell — could she have already been there?
New Cassie: We’re not sure. Sorry, but to go back: what did you do with the new keys?
Posh Guy: I dropped them off with the lawyer a few days later.
New Cassie: Well according to this it would have been about five weeks later, actually. Any reason for that?
Posh Guy: No, just busy I guess!
New Cassie: Sure. And, last thing: can I show you a picture of our victim?
Once again, reader, we get the flashback moment Unforgotten is so famous for: Posh Guy claims to not recognize Precious, but obviously he’s lying. He then doubles down on his claim that the squatters were very unpleasant, maybe even dangerous, and escorts New Cassie to the door. She obviously doesn’t believe him, and calls up DC Babyface to get a gut check: what did the neighbor say about these squatters last episode?
DC Babyface: She described them as nice, gentle, polite. I think she said “sweet.”
New Cassie: Great. Thank you. Goodnight!
DC Babyface: Goodnight ma’am. Gov.
Lol. Inside the house, Posh Guy watches New Cassie drive away, and then calls up someone to leave a message that says only “what did you do? Call me.” Reader, I wish I knew who he was calling, but we won’t get answers now. Also not getting real answers? Posh Guy’s wife, who gets a very basic “remember the squatters? One must have overdosed and died in the house.” She doesn’t seem to buy that entirely, and is an inch from picking up her husband’s phone to snoop out who he last called. Unfortunately, she can’t hear me yelling at the screen in encouragement, and decides to walk away.
In Paris, Jack of All Trades checks the passenger seat of his car to distract himself from the pregnant couple he’s driving, revealing one of the watches from the box. Sunny arrives in Paris and tries again to call Sal (no luck) before he’s escorted to his hotel by a driver. Manager listens to a worried message from Chef asking where she is, before ignoring it and walking into a bar. And in jail, Mugger places a call.
Mugger: You don’t know me. My mom was Precious Falade, and I was there that night. I saw everything.
WHAT? WHAT? How am I supposed to wait until next week for clarification on ANY OF THAT? I don’t know how we’ll make it, reader, but you better believe I’ll be back next time with the recap. Until then!