Nicola Walker's Unforgotten replacement finally announced

Unforgotten Season 4 DI Sunil ‘Sunny’ Khan and DCI Cassie Stuart
DI Sunil ‘Sunny’ Khan has got a new colleague after DCI Cassie Stuart's exit in season 4. (Image credit: ITV)

Fans were left heartbroken at the end of Unforgotten season 4 when DCI Cassie Stuart, played by Nicola Walker, was tragically killed off. But there is good news for fans because Unforgotten season 5 will see Sinéad Keenan joining the cast as DCI Jessica James.

Dublin-born Sinéad, who was also BAFTA nominated for her role as Melanie Jones in Little Boy Blue, begins filming her new role later this month alongside BAFTA-nominated Sanjeev Bhaskar who has played DI Sunil 'Sunny' Khan in four previous series of the hugely successful drama.

Sunny and Jessica will join forces to crack more cold murder cases after season 4 of the ITV drama saw DCI Cassie Stuart involved in a horrific car crash which, despite surgery, tragically left her brain-damaged before she eventually died. 

Sinéad Keenan and Sanjeev Bhaskar in Unforgotten

Sinéad Keenan and Sanjeev Bhaskar read through their scripts for Unforgotten season 5. (Image credit: ITV)

Speaking of her new role as Jessica in Unforgotten, Sinéad Keenan said: “I have long been an admirer of Chris Lang’s work so I am absolutely delighted to be joining the Unforgotten team. 

"I’m very much looking forward to working with the extraordinary cast led by the brilliant and incredibly lovely, Sanjeev Bhaskar. And I’m hoping that if I play my cards right I might even get to take a peek in Sunny’s backpack!"

Sinéad Keenan and Sanjeev Bhaskar in Unforgotten

Sinéad Keenan is joining the Unforgotten cast as DCI Jessica James. (Image credit: ITV)

Producer Chris Lang added: “And so it begins, a new Unforgotten journey — and it’s scary, for Sunny and the Bishop Street team, for the audience, for all of us. But it’s also very, very, exciting, and I cannot wait for you to meet DCI Jessica ‘Jessie’ James, played by the always brilliant, Sinéad Keenan.”

ITV has also hinted that Jessica's homelife is set to be as gripping as her new job when the new series opens with the clock ticking down to her 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 pair.

DI Sunil ‘Sunny’ Khan and DCI Cassie Stuart solved cold murder cases together for four seasons. (Image credit: ITV)

Once again, the new series will see Sunny tasked with solving a historical murder mystery, and this time Jessica will be on hand to help another victim get the justice they deserve.

Jess’s first case is the discovery of human remains in a newly renovated period property in Hammersmith, London. But how long have they been there and is this a murder dating back to the 1930s or has the body been disposed of in more recent times?

Did you miss Unforgotten season 4? You can catch up on ITV Hub in the UK and Prime Video in the US.

For even more shows to enjoy, check out our TV Guide.

Claire Crick
Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch

Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia. 

After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off

She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz! 

As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.