Unforgotten Season 3's latest episode sees Stuart make a dreadful error, which leads to the possible death of one of the suspects.
Mark: Have you not been online? ...Google your name.
This week opens with good news all around for Stuart and her team. The church break-in, which Bradley had a feeling could be related to Hayley's disappearance, tracks back to the four suspects in question. Peter Carr, to be precise, is a DNA match for the blood found at the scene. That's enough to get him in for a formalized interview where any pretense that last week's cover story was real completely breaks down. He admits to being on a pub crawl on New Year's Eve from 8:30 p.m. onward. He tries to lie his way out of the St. Matthew's incident and the stealing of the church silver, but once Khan lays out the DNA results, that story also collapses like so much broken window glass.
It turns out Carr's debt was such that he couldn't afford to fly back to Hong Kong after the New Year's trip. However, this Valjean-level petty thievery is only the tip of the iceberg. Carr made his bones in Hong Kong defrauding people, including charities, and even did time in prison for it when he got caught after one of those charities collapsed in his wake. He claims he was set up. Stuart is highly dubious, but she's also not sure he's a murderer. Pete's wife Maria is far less confident of that when she corners him at the station and gets a confession.
Carr isn't the only place where the defenses are collapsing. With Chris Lowe's first wife dead, and unable to corroborate the events of the evening to match the men's or Mel Hollis', Stuart dispatches one of the junior detectives to find the now ex-Mrs. Finch, Derran (Siobhan Redmond). Her account matches Mel's, but more importantly, she mentions that she suspected her husband of being involved at the time, and reveals him to be the abusive, manipulative slimeball viewers had suspected he was from the start. (She goes as far to say her mental instability is a result of how he abused her, and implies that she's only alive because she escaped the marriage.)
Once she alerts her ex-husband to the fact that he's spoken to police, and will take evidence of his abuse of her to them, he decides it's time to loop the rest of the family in. (After all, the girls were there, and have happy memories of the evening, and will back his cover story.) The younger one, Claire, immediately takes dad's side. However, the older one, Emma, realizes it took her father several days to come round with this info and has a sixth sense that something is off. When Stuart and Khan come by asking questions, Claire is loudly vocal with her defense of their dad, though Emma not only stays silent,but keeps her eyes cast downward.
As for Chris Lowe, his ex-wife might be dead, but their daughter, Maya, is not. Her account of why her parents' marriage failed throws an entirely new, and terrifying, wrinkle into the story. Maya hasn't spoken to her father since the day her mom threw him out. Turns out, as far as she understood it, her father's job loss and the subsequent divorce had nothing to do with mental illness. Lowe was asked to stand down from his company because they found child pornography on his computer, and when Maya's mother found out, only a few months after the turn of the new year, that was that. Suddenly the extraordinarily bizarre and sexless relationship with Jamila — and the extreme attachment to her son — take on a very different angle.
Hollis does not know his defense with the police has failed. However, his home defense has collapsed before his eyes. I have politely overlooked most aspects of the "evil blogger" subplot, due to the show's failure to get basic details of online life right. However, Sandra did manage to blow up Hollis' spot concerning the case, alerting the second Mrs. Hollis to the fact that her husband has lied to her about this for the last week. Amy was going to find out anyway since his job just suspended all recordings for a month until the story blows over. That and Mel has gone public, admitting one of her most popular novels was driven by her discovery of Hollis' serial cheating, which unearthed not only an entirely new round of women Hollis had slept with during both marriages, but disturbing requests he made as well. Hollis is therefore desperately trying to put his current marriage first when Carr shows up, demanding a place to stay, and reminding the audience of the fact that James' son Ells is still somehow connected to all this, and Carr knows how.
That "how" turns out to be related to Ells' age. Unlike Maya, Emma, and Claire, who were all grammar school aged at the time, Eliot Hollis was 16, and already had a criminal record, including stealing his dad's car, which is a match for the "vehicle driving erratically" from last week. Moreover, whatever it is Carr knows, he's passing along to Tim Finch because he's realized the cops no longer believe a word he says.
All this would be complicated enough, but then Stuart makes a dreadful error, leaving the police file behind in a coffee shop where she was working. She realizes the file is missing, which was Peter Carr's, but not before it was found and made its way online. Carr wakes up on a train to discover he's become Public Enemy Number One in the Hayley Reid Case. Driven by online hysteria, someone walks up and stabs him in an alley, leaving him to bleed to death.