other thoughts


[No run to report, resting my sore left calf]

Over the past few years we have enjoyed watching UK police/detective shows on the internet-served TV.

My most recent edition of The Atlantic has a short article about these shows and lists some of them. The article is insightful about the differences between US police shows and UK police shows, but that’s not the subject of my post.

No, I saw one mentioned in the article that I had not heard of, so we asked Alexa who lives in our fire-stick to play Unforgotten and now are 4/6ths of the way through season one.

The basic premise is that some off-screen plumbers were doing some basement work in an old building and found some bones which turn out to be a young man from the 1970’s who met a violent end. So they eventually start to piece together his life and the people he knew and their various relationships (many of a nefarious nature).

There seem to be four main threads they are following. All have a central person who was related to the deceased in some way long ago and the police dredge out various unsightly skeletons and the wife and family are aghast and say things like, “I don’t even know you!” and “Our whole lives have been a lie!”

And we are starting to see the various reactions. One lady is repentant and has gone to the police and pretty much confessed her sins. Her family and friends are starting to gather back around and accept/comfort her. Other scenes are still developing. (The possibility of repentance is a nice relief from the political fervor of our election season.)

So the thing I was thinking about were these 40-years-later-I-am-so-surprised scenes. I’ve been married 35 years and I find them on the edge of unbelievable. First of all, anyone with sense probably knew something about the person they are saying “I do” with. Or if they grew up in the household they probably figured out that Dad has a violent streak or Mom is prone to fudging the truth. You would have to have had an abnormally bland and uneventful childhood not to have seen your parents in some situation of duress (probably with you as the focus of such situation) and developed an understanding of how they respond. The more violent and unpredictable their response, the more likely you are to have tuned your senses in to that person and formed your life so as to avoid another go.

If you know someone intimately for 20 years and they suddenly start acting unexpectedly, either they are under inordinate stress, have had a religious conversion, or are mentally ill. (or some combination of similar unusual circumstances). Likewise some breakdown is indicated if someone pops up from 40 years ago and says, “your <intimate acquaintance> did <very bad and unusual things> to me long ago”. Or the new person could be lying/mistaken.

So we have the four supposed suspects all having been “good” people for a long time with nobody the wiser and now they are having their various reactions to scrutiny. The police are digging like crazy to find out why Jimmy met a violent end 40+ years ago. And the families of the suspects are gasping and pearl-clutching about how it means their life was a lie.

Other than the obvious fantasy aspects, the show has been interesting!

One reply on “Unforgotten”

A good friend of mine got married 20 years ago to a guy she met at work. His parents live in the area and all were social. About 3-4 years into the marriage she found out the husband was pathological liar with other serious issues. She went to his parents who told her “he’s your problem now” (paraphrasing). Point is the in-laws knew and didn’t bother to tell her. They divorced.

Similar but not the same the show you mentioned:

As of 2018, documents that could shed light on his activities remain classified as “sensitive” by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, under section 3(4) of the Public Records Act 1958.[6] The effect of his deceptions on his wives and descendants were dramatised in the 2018 BBC miniseries Mrs Wilson, in which his granddaughter, actress Ruth Wilson, portrayed her grandmother, Alison (Wilson’s third wife).

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