'Unforgotten' on PBS: Why Did Nicola Walker Leave 'Unforgotten'?

Unforgotten is the award-winning British crime drama that follows a team of London detectives, led by DCI Cassie Stuart (Nicola Walker) and DI Sunny Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar), working to solve cold cases of disappearance and murder.

Season four recently concluded on PBS and luckily for fans, season five has already been given the green light. Unfortunately, Nicola Walker will not be returning for the fifth series after her character Cassie Stuart tragically died.

Why did Nicola Walker leave Unforgotten? Newsweek has everything you need to know.

Why did Nicola Walker leave 'Unforgotten'?

Sadly, DCI Cassie Stuart, played by Nicola Walker did not survive her injuries sustained from a car crash in the penultimate episode.

Cassie's death is somewhat bittersweet, considering she had come out of retirement to help her former colleague Sunny (played by Sanjeev Bhaskar) investigate a murder that occurred over 30 years ago.

When she was hit by the speeding vehicle, she had not been paying attention because she was physically and emotionally drained from returning to work.

At first, it looked like Cassie may pull through from her injuries but unfortunately, she suffered a traumatic brain injury which she never recovered from in the end.

In a statement, it was revealed Walker and creator Chris Lang came to the agreement her character's story had "come to an end."

After the finale aired in the U.K. in March, an official statement from ITV on behalf of the show read: "We would like to thank Nicola Walker for playing the brilliant role of Cassie Stuart in four series of Unforgotten which has become one of the best-loved and most critically acclaimed police dramas on TV.

"Nicola and writer Chris Lang decided that Cassie's story would come to an end last night, but that Unforgotten would continue, in series 5, with a new case, and a new 'Partner in Crime' for DI Sunny Khan."

Speaking to TV Insider, Walker explained Cassie's death had been planned since season three of Unforgotten.

She shared: "We were talking from the beginning, really, about what he was doing with this character and this story he wanted to tell.

"Chris and I were always interested in looking at the cost of being involved with these sorts of cases that we all love watching on television. Cassie does not have superpowers. She's an ordinary person who's really good at her job, and it took her to the place of having an emotional breakdown.

"We talked a lot after Season 3 about where it was going to go, and it was a joint decision. I think the clues were there in Season 3. The title of the show is Unforgotten and I think there's a great deal of narrative beauty to this woman. She's not going to be forgotten. I felt like she was quietly very unusual on television because she was a real person."

After the season finale aired in the U.S., Sanjeev Bhaskar posted a moving tribute to Cassie and a note left for him by Walker on their final days on set.

The note read: "Dear Sunny, I love you, you know. It's worth saying sometimes Cassie x"

Sanjeev wrote alongside the photographs: "Thank you everyone who tuned into #UnforgottenPBS. Here's how it started....And her s how...well, the final #sunnysbackpack for S4, packed by #nicolawalker herself."

Thank you everyone who tuned into #UnforgottenPBS. Here’s how it started….And her s how…well, the final #sunnysbackpack for S4, packed by #nicolawalker herself. 🙏🏽♥️ pic.twitter.com/gL3EMiUmdH

— Sanjeev Bhaskar💙 (@TVSanjeev) August 16, 2021

Unforgotten fans responded to the post, sharing their sadness about Cassie's death.

One fan tweeted: "I love Nicola, and especially the two of you acting together," alongside a host of crying face and heartbroken emoji's.

A second fan said: "What an amazing series. So glad it's continuing but it won't be the same without our Cass."

A third fan added: "Oh the tears! Rest in peace Cassie. Such a powerful ending @masterpiecepbs #UnforgottenPBS."

Cassie's death means in the show's fifth outing a new DCI will join DI Sunny Khan.
At the moment, Walker's replacement for season five has not been confirmed but speaking to TV Insider, she shared she would not miss the next series "for the world."

Creator Chris Lang revealed in July 2020 he was working on scripts for the fifth series, posting a picture of himself working on a script in his Soho office in London.

Back in my other office, in the heart of Soho, writing #Unforgotten 5. Happy. pic.twitter.com/ByhJAzeJrn

— Chris Lang (@ChrisLangWriter) July 8, 2021

Hopefully, Unforgotten fans will not have to wait too long for Unforgotten season five to land on screens.

Unforgotten is streaming on PBS now.

Nicola Walker Unforgotten
Nicola Walker will not return for Unforgotten season 5 ITV