With all the suspects this season turning up with alibis, Unforgotten's mystery of who killed David Walker seems unsolvable.
Colin: I'm not the kind of man who forgets when someone screws him over.
Unforgotten's second mystery has reached its final episode. With only an hour and change to put the clues together, the first 15 minutes have Stuart quickly rounding up clues to confirm most of our suspicions from last week. The woman, Maria Gonzalez, who claimed Colin raped her, was an employee of David Walker's and admits it was a frame-up. Walker had her do this because "Osborn asked him one question too many." Osborne is genuinely shocked to learn the allegations were fake, he believed he'd raped her during an alcoholic blackout. But with this admission comes confirmation he's been lying about knowing Walker.
Also, DCI Stuart has also lit upon the idea the three suspects who are not Walker's wife Tessa know each other. (Viewers know this to be true from last week.) She deliberately puts them in a waiting room together in hopes of getting something. What she gets is three people loudly ignoring each other, which is as much of an answer as if they'd broken out into another pub huddle.
But then all three turn out to have unshakeable alibis. Marion doesn't have one for the date of the murder, what she has is an alibi for a motive. She lived in Ireland until 1986. And Colin lived in Scotland until 1985. So that's two with no motive to kill him. On top of which, Stuart and Khan have confirmed Colin was in a mental home on the date in question. They had a "soft door" policy so he could have snuck out for a few hours and done the deed. But if he wasn't abused by Walker, why would he?
Sara is confirmed to have attended his parties. But her Italian alibi is still semi-solid. Things get more interesting when she finds herself under questioning about her childhood, as everything she tells the police about that time period is a lie, including that her father died when she was a child. How do we know? The scene is interspersed with her father, a man who is very much alive, confessing to Sara's husband, Hassan, that he threw her out at 13 years old, an act he regrets to this day. Hassan redoubles his efforts to find proof of her innocence and discovers an entire box's worth of evidence of Sara's whereabouts the day of the murder. Time-stamped photographs, train tickets, live theater stubs, it's a watertight alibi.
Stuart: You don't know where he moved to do you?
Neighbor: Half a mile down the road, to the cemetery.
At least Sara's relationship seems to be weathering the storm. Colin's is not. Simon can't take it anymore and insists on going to the social worker, and if they lose the child, so be it. The response from the social worker is that Colin has to move out immediately if they have any hope of keeping her. Colin obediently goes to a hotel. Marion, meanwhile, goes completely off the rails, getting thrown out of the hospital for trying to see Zoe and then throwing her husband out with wild accusations of him sleeping with her sister Elsie and being the father of their nephews and really paranoid brainweasel-level stuff.
Meanwhile, Walker's victim recalls a memory of the night David Walker's wife showed up at the party, freaked the hell out, and drove her home. Confronted, Tessa admits it's true. She did follow her husband to the party, she did confront him, and she did take the girl home. But he told her the girl was 16 and willing. It was the 1980s, her husband ran clubs, underaged girls wanting to sleep with him was a status symbol. And she wanted to believe. Tessa loses her position in the police force, but she is innocent.
Stuart is right out of suspects until she has a brainwave. Sara didn't just have a couple pieces of evidence of her whereabouts the day Walker was murdered. She had an entire BOX. As if she knew she'd need it for the day in question because he would be killed that day. Both Colin and Marion show trauma of sexual abuse. So what if the three of them made a pact where they would kill the other's abusers? It's a Murder On The Orient Express twist. But it's also really hard to prove. Marion and Colin would both need to have abusers in their past, way too much alibi evidence the day their abusers died, and two more bodies to boot.
Stuart tries anyway. She flies to Scotland and tracks down Colin's dad, who provides a story of his son's childhood that tracks with classic "victim of sexual abuse" behavior and a suspect, a "bloke from work" who ran "a Ranger's Platoon" for young boys... and who was jailed for assaulting two other boys in 1988. But there's a lack of body. He was assumed to have committed suicide in 1992 when he disappeared and his yacht turned up a few days later. Oh.
Khan hits up Marion's sister Elsie, who reveals in Ireland she and her sister got separate bedrooms, coincidentally right when Marion's behavior changed towards everyone....except her father, with whom she was "freakishly close." When Khan puts the pieces together in front of Elsie and their mother, it turns out their mother knew. Marion has told her and Mum had done nothing. Elsie, finally having an explanation for her sister's behavior for the past two decades, freaks. By the way, the body is in a grave. Their father was found hung, assumed to have committed suicide in 1991. Oh.
Colin: Let me tell you this. You can't judge me.
Stuart's next step is to catch Colin and Marion before they find out she and Khan have been asking questions. But she's too late. Elsie went straight to Marion to apologize for everything. Stuart pulls up in time to see them share their first real hug since childhood. But Marion also called a pub meeting. Stuart follows Marion on the long drive, only to be rewarded at the end with the evidence for a conspiracy she's been looking for. Colin even confesses everything. Not the murders, mind you. Instead, he confesses to what was done to him, in graphic detail, buttonholing it with a reminder that Sara and Marion's experiences were worse. It may be his finest defense speech ever.
Convinced they were found out and in Sara's words "It's over" all three return to their spouses and confess, both to what was done to them and to what they did. But Stuart, faced with pressing charges, realizes she can't. Her zeal for punishing old people for crimes committed across the decades fails her. (Khan, who already believes Walker to be the real criminal, seems grateful to concur.) These aren't guilty people, no more than the Slaters were 40 years on in Season 1. But this time it's more clear-cut these are victims, their lives ruined enough every day for decades. Stuart's digging has probably ruined them all over again for good measure. The least she can do is let them live in peace.
Stuart lets it go. Now that is a far more satisfying ending than Season 1.