Unforgotten: Viewers left reeling after emotional series finale

Unforgotten will return for a fifth series, ITV has confirmed, putting an end to fans’ fears last night’s shocking series finale marked the end of the cold-case thriller.

‘Sobbing’ fans watched as DCI Cassie Stuart (Nicola Walker) lost her fight for life after sustaining fatal injuries in a car crash at the end of the previous episode.  

The final moments saw DI Sunny Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar) deliver a moving eulogy to his ‘mentor and friend’ and devastated father Martin Hughes (Peter Egan) weep freely as he listened to his daughter’s last voicemail on repeat.

‘Torn to pieces,’ one Twitter user wrote. ‘What heartbreaking TV.’  

The departure prompted fans and critics alike to question whether this might be the end of Chris Lang’s crime drama – but ITV has now confirmed the show will return with Sanjeev Bhaskar, who plays DI Sunny Khan, as the lead.  

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Unforgotten viewers were left 'sobbing' after last night's series finale that saw DCI Cassie Stuart (Nicola Walker) lose her fight for life. Pictured, with Sanjeev Bhaskar as DI Sunny Khan

Unforgotten viewers were left 'sobbing' after last night's series finale that saw DCI Cassie Stuart (Nicola Walker) lose her fight for life. Pictured, with Sanjeev Bhaskar as DI Sunny Khan

Unforgotten viewers were left ‘sobbing’ after last night’s series finale that saw DCI Cassie Stuart (Nicola Walker) lose her fight for life. Pictured, with Sanjeev Bhaskar as DI Sunny Khan

DI Sunny Khan held DCI Cassie Stuart's hand during their final moments together

DI Sunny Khan held DCI Cassie Stuart's hand during their final moments together

DI Sunny Khan held DCI Cassie Stuart’s hand during their final moments together

The heart-wrenching final moments saw DI Sunny Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar) deliver a moving eulogy to his 'mentor and friend'. Above, the detective lays flowers at DCI Stuart's grave

The heart-wrenching final moments saw DI Sunny Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar) deliver a moving eulogy to his 'mentor and friend'. Above, the detective lays flowers at DCI Stuart's grave

The heart-wrenching final moments saw DI Sunny Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar) deliver a moving eulogy to his ‘mentor and friend’. Above, the detective lays flowers at DCI Stuart’s grave

Like the character's family, fans of the show said an emotional farewell to the police detective (played by Nicola Walker) who had sustained fatal injuries in a car crash

Like the character's family, fans of the show said an emotional farewell to the police detective (played by Nicola Walker) who had sustained fatal injuries in a car crash

Like the character’s family, fans of the show said an emotional farewell to the police detective (played by Nicola Walker) who had sustained fatal injuries in a car crash

A statement read: ‘ITV would like to thank Nicola Walker for playing the brilliant role of Cassie Stuart in four series of Unforgotten which has become one of the best loved and most critically acclaimed police dramas on TV. 

‘Nicola and writer Chris Lang decided that Cassie’s story would come to an end last night, but that Unforgotten would continue, in series 5, with a new case, and a new “Partner in Crime” for DI Sunny Khan.’ 

Series five, which focused on the 1990 murder of Matthew Walsh, has been a ‘record-breaking’ season for Unforgotten. 

Episodes 1-5 attraccted an average of 7.5million viewers based on seven day consolidated data, which is up by 1.6million viewers and 26 per cent on the last series. 

The identity of Matthew Walsh’s killer was also revealed, thanks to the tireless work of DI Khan and the team who continued with their investigation in the wake of DCI Stuart’s accident. 

‘If there’s one thing I can be sure she’d want us to be doing right now is carrying on with our jobs,’ Khan told the deflated team. ‘And doing everything we can to find Matthew’s killer. And as ever, I can see no good reason to go against her wishes.’ 

Cassie's family and partner (pictured) were given the difficult news that she wouldn't recover

Cassie's family and partner (pictured) were given the difficult news that she wouldn't recover

Cassie’s family and partner (pictured) were given the difficult news that she wouldn’t recover

Shortly before the crash, Cassie had left her father a voice message, apologising for their estrangement and asking if things could go 'back to normal' between them

Shortly before the crash, Cassie had left her father a voice message, apologising for their estrangement and asking if things could go 'back to normal' between them

Shortly before the crash, Cassie had left her father a voice message, apologising for their estrangement and asking if things could go ‘back to normal’ between them

Devastated father Martin Hughes (Peter Egan) wept freely as he listened to his daughter's last voicemail on repeat outside the hospital, pictured

Devastated father Martin Hughes (Peter Egan) wept freely as he listened to his daughter's last voicemail on repeat outside the hospital, pictured

Devastated father Martin Hughes (Peter Egan) wept freely as he listened to his daughter’s last voicemail on repeat outside the hospital, pictured

Although the most obvious murder suspect was detective Ram Sidhu (Phaldut Sharma), it emerged Dean Barton (Andy Nyman) was actually the man responsible.

He had stabbed Matthew Walsh in the allotment back in 1990 as revenge for the gangland death of his beloved older brother. 

Channelling his boss, DI Khan was able to piece together the hitherto unnoticed connection between the two men. They had both been born into families with criminal ties and lived just streets away from each other. 

Walsh had killed Dean’s brother, and in turn Dean stabbed him with the fountain pen given to him by his slain brother shortly before his death. 

The identity of Matthew Walsh's killer was also revealed, thanks to the tireless work of DI Khan and the team who continued with their investigation in the wake of DCI Stuart's accident

The identity of Matthew Walsh's killer was also revealed, thanks to the tireless work of DI Khan and the team who continued with their investigation in the wake of DCI Stuart's accident

The identity of Matthew Walsh’s killer was also revealed, thanks to the tireless work of DI Khan and the team who continued with their investigation in the wake of DCI Stuart’s accident

Although the most obvious murder suspect was detective Ram Sidhu (Phaldut Sharma), it emerged Dean Barton (Andy Nyman), pictured, was actually the man responsible

Although the most obvious murder suspect was detective Ram Sidhu (Phaldut Sharma), it emerged Dean Barton (Andy Nyman), pictured, was actually the man responsible

Although the most obvious murder suspect was detective Ram Sidhu (Phaldut Sharma), it emerged Dean Barton (Andy Nyman), pictured, was actually the man responsible

Nicola’s final goodbye 

Actor Sanjeev Bhaskar revealed he ‘cracked’ when he discovered a surprise goodbye message from co-star Nicola Walker.  

Nicola had put a handwritten note and a framed photograph in his character DI Sunny Khan’s prop bag. 

The message reads: ‘Dear Sunny, I love you, you know. It’s worth saying sometimes. Love Cassie x.’

Sharing a photo of the message on Twitter, Bhaskar wrote: ‘The last of this series #sunnysbackpack was unbeknownst to me, packed by #NicolaWalker – with a note she wrote, when I opened it on set. I cracked.’

Personal farewell: Nicola Walker left a note to Sanjeev Bhaskar in character

Personal farewell: Nicola Walker left a note to Sanjeev Bhaskar in character

Personal farewell: Nicola Walker left a note to Sanjeev Bhaskar in character

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He then convinced the rest of the gang, Sidhu, Fiona Grayson (Liz White) and Liz Baildon (Susan Lynch), it had all been a mistake. 

All four members of the group were arrested on various charges. Fiona and Liz got off relatively lightly, while Sidhu faced charges for assisting Barton in the international drug smuggling operation that was touched upon earlier in the series.  

All feelings of triumph were soon dwarfed by the death of DCI Stuart. 

Her family was brought into a dimly-lit hospital waiting room to be given the devastating news.

‘We knew from our scans she’d had a bleed on her brain,’ the doctor said softly, ‘but when we opened her up it was much worse than we had feared… Someone with that level of damage is, I’m so sorry to say, very unlikely to recover brain function.’ 

At the same time a jubilant DI Khan was on his way to the hospital to deliver the good news about the case to his boss. 

But when he arrived he found Cassie’s boyfriend DCI John Bentley (Alistair MacKenzie) sitting in the corridor alone. ‘No,’ he said, stopping short.   

Outside Martin wept on a hospital bench as he listened to the voice message Cassie had left just moments before the crash, in which she apologised to him and told him she loved him. 

‘This job has drained me,’ she said. ‘But it’s ten-and-a-bit more weeks and then I’m done. And then I hope we can get back to normal…

‘I will be better, I promise. Then for however many years we will have together, we will try and get back to normal.’

She added: ‘I love you so much.’ 

Sobbing, Martin put his phone back up to his ear to listen to the message again. 

The final liness of the episode were given to DI Khan, whose eulogy was played over a moving sequence showing him laying flowers at her grave

The final liness of the episode were given to DI Khan, whose eulogy was played over a moving sequence showing him laying flowers at her grave

The final liness of the episode were given to DI Khan, whose eulogy was played over a moving sequence showing him laying flowers at her grave

The final liness of the episode were given to DI Khan, whose eulogy was played over a moving sequence showing him laying flowers at her grave. 

‘People like Cass Stuart are extraordinary,’ he said. ‘So we can be sad we lost someone we adored. And who we will miss every day. 

‘But we can also be grateful for the time we did have with her, and the impact she had on all our lives.

‘Cass Stuart was my colleague, she was my mentor, she was my friend. And I loved her.’ 

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