This is what I know. When you throw a boulder into a still pond several things happen. Firstly, the boulder sinks with a thud that is not heard. Secondly, ripples go out in every and any direction and there is no assurance of when or where the ripples might go or even if they generate enough force to turn into a Tsunami.

And lastly it would take a tremendous amount of effort and luck to retrieve the boulder and whatever negative effects the incident had at the time cannot be undone. Consequences be damned. As it says in the Alcoholic Anonymous Big Book: Hearts are broken. Sweet relations are dead. Affections have been uprooted.

Throughout the history of time, plays, movies, news reports and all forms of media have reported on the gruesome qualities of child sexual abuse and any and all forms of sadistic sexual behavior. There is no scarcity of stories of abhorrent acts, yet as I say this all too true fact, I can say without reservation that I saw a British TV series that portrays this depravity in a very different light.

The series is reminiscent of an American TV series called “Cold Case,” which was a police procedural crime drama that ran on CBS from 2003 to 2010. The series revolved around a fictionalized Philadelphia Police Department division that specializes in investigating cold cases. In Cold Case, the detectives intentionally went back through case logs in search of open cold cases.

Unforgotten is a British crime drama television series, which initially aired on ITV in on 2015. It is written by creator Chris Lang and directed by Andy Wilson. The program follows two London detectives, DCI Cassie Stuart (Nicola Walker) and DI Sunny Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar), as they solve cold cases of disappearance and murder only after an actual body, mostly skeletal remains, are stumbled upon accidently. The detective force are determined to give voice to the voiceless.

The 3-season series, each consisting of six episodes, was broadcast in the UK from 2015-2018.  Each season deals with only one new case, introducing seemingly unconnected characters who are gradually revealed to have some relationship with the victim. As the murder mystery unfolds, the emotional ramifications of the crime are also explored in the lives of those affected. It is a tragic web they weave. The focus of my blog is Season 2. Yet all three seasons are very worth watching. Without COVID19 I never would have seen this show. A blessing in disguise.

At the start of Season 2, workers dredging the River Lea in London discover a body in a suitcase that may have been in the water for a long time. Cassie and Sunny are assigned the case and try to identify the victim through his watch and pager. Meanwhile, in Brighton, criminal barrister Colin Osborne (Mark Bonnar) and his husband, Simon (Charlie Condou), are adopting a six-year old girl. They are being blackmailed by her birth mother’s partner, Tyler, who witnessed Colin keying the car of a homophobe. Meanwhile in London, Marion Kelsey (Rosie Cavaliero) works as a nurse on a children’s cancer ward and is struggling to balance supporting her patients, her marriage and dealing with her family. In Salisbury, teacher Sara Mahmoud (Badira Timini) attends an interview for a headmistress position at a private school. In the Cotswolds, Jason Walker who struggles to maintain relationships with women, is visited on his birthday by his mother Tessa Nixon (Lorraine Ashbourne), a detective inspector in Oxford. On the surface these people appear unrelated. It is a tapestry conceived from tragedy.

Detective Sunny identifies the watch’s owner as David Walker, who disappeared in May 1990. Cassie and Sunny notify Tessa, the dead man’s widow, who has remarried and tried to move on with her life. The confluence of all these moving pieces and the power of the story as it unfolds leave the viewer overwhelmed in a way that other genre pieces have fallen short. The multigenerational (epigenetics), lifelong dysfunction combined with the power of secrets converge for riveting theatre.

In our journey to wholeness that we take in recovery everyone after the addictive behavior[s] have been arrested has to stop and look back into the recesses of their own life, trauma, and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE). None of us grew up in an idyllic cocoon. The power of this show is in the wholistic approach it takes from cradle to grave in a way I have not seen represented in any other form of “entertainment.” It’s two thumbs up with tissues.

The sheer visceral power of the subject matter and the reality-based performances of the entire cast makes this series stand out in a way that none other has. To say it rented out space in my head is an understatement. With caution and an asterisk* [do not watch alone], this is a must see for anyone regardless of life experience. This viewing left me speechless and initially stunned, followed by sadness and anger. A life is too precious to waste, yours, mine, and all of humankind.

If the isolation from the virus and life is taking you to places that are problematic for you, have no fear, you are not alone. Contact me if only for a chat and remember misery is optional. Stay safe.

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