Unforgotten fans sob for Cassie but loving DCI Jessica James

DCI Jessica James (Sinead Keenan) and DI Sunny Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar) in Unforgotten season 5
Sinéad Keenan as DCI Jessica James alongside Sanjeev Bhaskar's DI Sunny Khan. (Image credit: Mainstreet for ITV)

The new series of Unforgotten has kicked off on ITV, marking Sinéad Keenan's first appearance on the beloved crime drama. 

In the dramatic season 4 finale, fans were devastated after DCI Cassie Stuart (Nicola Walker) was killed off, leaving those around her grief stricken, including her long-time work partner DI Sunny Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar).

Although she was an important part of the police force, they needed someone new to step in, and the first episode of Unforgotten season 5 welcomed DCI Jessica James (Sinéad Keenan) to our screens.

It wasn't an easy first day for Jessica, who had the role sprung on her and made some mistakes during the investigation, including being incredibly rude to a building owner after his room became a crime scene, rubbing her colleagues the wrong way.

On top of this, Jessica's got some problems at home as she's just found out her husband was having an affair and is going on a business trip, leaving her alone with their two young sons, on top of taking on a demanding new role.

Having a new boss has proven challenging for Sunny especially, who is yet to warm to the new DCI and is clearly still missing Cassie. Things turned even frostier when the two disagreed on a cold case, with Sunny wanting to investigate it and Jessica wanting to throw it out. 

Even on screen, Sinéad Keenan knows the role she's taking on, as her character tells Sunny: "I’m aware of the boots I’m filling. I sincerely hope to do her and the rest of the team justice."

She hasn't convinced her colleagues yet, however, those watching at home are impressed with her performance so far and have taken to Twitter to praise the new DCI with one even hailing her "Sinéad Queenan"!

But while she's got the thumbs up from viewers, Jessica James will have to work harder to get in Sunny's good books, as the two really aren't getting along. Even worse, Sunny has already drafted a resignation letter as he can't seem to shake Cassie's absence. He's still grieving and buys two coffees out of habit, so it's going to take a while to process things.

We'll have to tune in to next week's episode to see if their dynamic has improved in any way!

Unforgotten season 5 continues on ITV1 at 9 pm on Monday, March 6. Alternatively, episodes are available on demand via ITVX

Lucy Buglass
Senior Staff Writer

Lucy joined the WhatToWatch.com team in 2021, where she writes series guides for must-watch programmes, reviews and the latest TV news. Originally from Northumberland, she graduated from Oxford Brookes University with a degree in Film Studies and moved to London to begin a career writing about entertainment.

She is a Rotten Tomatoes approved film critic and has a huge passion for cinema. She especially loves horror, thriller and anything crime-related. Her favourite TV programmes include Inside No 9, American Horror Story, Stranger Things and Black Mirror but she is also partial to a quiz show or a bit of Say Yes to the Dress