Unforgotten: Sanjeev Bhaskar ‘still surprised’ at grief for Cassie Stuart ahead of series 5

Virgin Radio

27 Feb 2023, 12:42

(L-R) Sanjeev Bhaskar, Sanjeev and Nicola Walker in Unforgotten

Credit: Rex / ITV

Unforgotten star Sanjeev Bhaskar has revealed fans are still mourning the loss of DCI Cassie Stuart, played by Nicola Walker, following series four’s dramatic conclusion. 

The fourth season of the ITV crime drama, which aired in 2021, ended with Stuart being involved in a devastating car crash. 

In series 5, newcomer DCI Jessica James, played by Sinéad Keenan will take over and navigate not just a new role, but a grieving team too. 

Sanjeev is returning as DI Sunny Khan in the police drama, and told Radio Times Magazine how it felt to head back to the show following such a devastating character loss, and one felt particularly hard by the audience. 

The actor shared: “People say they were shocked; I was shocked four times: when I was told, when I read it, when we shot the scenes and when I watched it. Nicola and Cassie are both iconic, but I was still surprised by the outpouring of grief.”

The heartbreaking reaction from the viewers was something Sanjeev didn’t see coming, adding: "A few people messaged me on social media saying they would never watch Unforgotten again… 'Why couldn’t Cassie retire [rather than being killed in a car crash]?' Because, I said, life is not like that.”

Discussing the heavy weight of grief within the incoming episodes, the Sandman star admitted it was strange to return without his usual partner-in-catching-crime. 

"It was really weird when Sunny goes back to Cassie’s grave in the first episode,” Sanjeev added. “It was hard enough the first time."

Sinéad’s Jessica James will certainly be thrown in the deep end when Unforgotten starts back up tonight (Monday 27th February). 

The official ITV synopsis reads: “The series opens with the clock ticking down to DCI James’s first day in her new job with an unforeseen and devastating introduction to her family life. Determined to make a good first impression with her new colleagues, will Jess be in the right frame of mind to deliver and inspire the team?

“And inevitably how will the ghost of much-loved former colleague Cassie Stuart haunt her? After all, Cassie will be big shoes for her to fill. Does she have the resolve, professionalism and spirit to live up to her much-admired and respected predecessor?”

Unforgotten returns on Monday 27th February on ITV1 and ITVX.