While the writers and actors are striking, and I hope they get everything they want, Mitzi and I have been watching "new to us" past series, especially British programs.

We've just finished season 2 of Unforgotten on Prime and it's outstanding.

Where Lancaster, er, I mean Halifax had several examples of cringe-worthy dialog in every single episode ("I'm still your commanding officer!"), Unforgotten has some of the best dialog I've ever heard in a police procedural.

The title of the series is a double entendre, that snuck up on me about two-thirds of the way through the first season. At first I thought it was about the victim being unforgotten with the discovery of the crime. But it's really about the explosive damage the act of "unforgetting" the past delivers to the present. It made me think of UXB, if you've ever heard of that. It's not an especially novel idea, but it's extremely well done here.

Mitzi and her daughter Sherri love Law and Order, in all its many manifestations. I mean, really love it. I liked the characters in the original series, but I don't care for any of the others. A six-episode season of Unforgotten is like the first half of a single episode of Law and Order, which is a vastly different dynamic. There is no "trial" portion. The case is solved and we're offered some idea of what the future might hold for everyone, but there are no courtroom theatrics.

It's a slow boil as the detectives work hard to identify a victim who's been dead for over 30 years. That's the forensic piece that's always been fascinating to me since I read Thomas Harris' Red Dragon, back in 1984. So far, there's been no "profiler," which is a tired saw as far as I'm concerned. It's just gumshoe detective work, aided by some bits of fairly interesting forensic science. As these cases are so old, there's no "blood spatter" analysis, which is refreshing.

The on-screen violence is largely confined to bits of stylized flashbacks of recalled memories. There's no man-handling of suspects, no car chases, no SWAT teams. But the tension is still palpable as the noose grows inexorably tighter and you try to figure out which of the ensemble of possible killers did it, and why.

There's no snarky banter from the detectives to the suspects. No bravado, no threats. "I know what you did, and you're going down for it!"

Nicola Walker is a marvelous actor. She's in a lot of these British shows, and Mitzi liked her in Last Tango in Halifax (no relation to Lancaster, er, I mean Halifax.), but that was a rather soapy affair with everyone always yelling or in tears all the time. Not my "cuppa." But I think she offers a remarkable performance as DCI Cassi Stuart. All the cast give credible, understated performances.

As much as I've enjoyed Luther, this is like the exact opposite and, really, much better and far more enjoyable.

Kudos to Chris Lang, the writer and creator. This is great TV and deserves a wide audience.

Originally posted at Nice Marmot 05:31 Wednesday, 16 August 2023