The police in Unforgotten exist in a strange kind of limbo.
Partly, this is formula, because there is so much that is familiar about the set-up that the two cops — glum, determined DCI Cassie Stuart (Nicola Walker) and glib, faintly comic DC “Sunny” Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar) — are required to do little more than walk through their parts, waiting for clues to drop.
The odd couple are mismatched to the extent of being a perfect fit, and are in possession of such quantities of sexual chemistry that they are practically married.
Look, here’s Cassie, at night, in a B&B bedroom with Sunny. He is dressed for sleep, in an XL T-shirt with a cartoon bear on it. They discuss the ins and outs of the ancient murder case in which the skeleton of a girl with a broken wrist was found after decades under the central reservation of the M1. Like, maybe the killer was staying in a holiday rental property and wasn’t a local murderer for local people.
And then Cassie turns to leave, and allows a faint smile to form on her empathetic face. She speaks haltingly. “Nice PJs, by the way. Very… snazzy.” It’s like Basic Instinct remade by Victoria Wood.
So, whodunnit? There are any number of suspects, all guilty of being men of a certain age. There is an artist (Chris Lowe) who lives in a camper van. He Isn’t Quite Right, and has suffered some sort of breakdown, which suggests that although he seems unstable enough, he probably isn’t. There’s Neil Morrissey, who looks shifty on account of being Neil Morrissey. He’s running around diddling cash out of vulnerable pensioners. So he’s a scumbag but maybe not a murderer.
Then there’s a TV quizmaster with a supercilious expression (Kevin McNally), who lives in an enviable house in London, which makes him guilty on several levels, even before you wonder whether he did it with a withering aside in the holiday rental.
The formula in these things used to be that the killer was the woman, because a) that was the last thing you’d expect, and b) the patriarchy. On that basis, my money’s on the twin sister of the dead girl. Never trust a twin.
Stan Lee’s Lucky Man is a comic book artist’s idea of a crime caper in which the actors straightface their lines with varying degrees of self-hatred against a spectacular backdrop. Mostly it’s tourist London but in this first episode of series three it’s Hong Kong, which looks comic-book amazing.
The Chinese characters are mystical and exotic in a way that may not be racist yet but will be soon. They’re excused by the zippy and primitive plot. Anyway, here’s our hero, Harry Clayton (James Nesbitt), with a plot-warming update. “Two years ago I was a pretty good cop with a nasty gambling problem, which means I was probably the worst candidate on Earth to be given a lucky bracelet. Flash forward to this afternoon, I’ve been framed for Isabella’s murder, I’ve lost my wife, my daughter, my job, all my friends, my whole life to this stupid bloody thing.”
It’s the bracelet, see? It’s like a Gremlins edition Fitbit, driving its wearer to ever more spectacular forms of oblivion.
Back from the Dead: the John Darwin Story - Sunday, London Live, 7pm
“New phone — canoe’s dis?” might have been one exchange between John Darwin and his “widow” Anne when he was dead to everyone in the world bar her. A double-ended paddle recovered by a search and rescue team was all that apparently survived after his kayaking trip off the coast of County Durham in 2002.
Then, in 2007, John Darwin wandered into a London police station and claimed he had amnesia. What followed is the stuff of airport novels.
What to Watch/Capital Conversation - Sunday, London Live, from 5pm
Twitter, you might have noticed, isn’t always the calmest or friendliest of places, so for his new stand-up show Bilal Zafar has attempted to sow compassion in a space where the President of the United States threatens nuclear war with North Korea. This week on What to Watch Zafar explains how he’s been trying to sweeten Twitter.
Then, in Capital Conversation host Michael Hayman meets Martha Lane-Fox, now also known as Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho, one of the country’s original dotcom entrepreneurs.