TV Review: Silent Witness Series 2

Series 2 of Silent Witness sees the show quickly slip into the patterns that bristle against the limitations of the format, whilst Amanda Burton warms up a little

“If you’re lucky, you’ll get away with a slap on the wrist and a warning not to get too involved in the future”

And so to series 2 of Silent Witness, Nigel McCrery’s forensic pathology drama, and the return of Amanda Burton’s remarkably chilly Sam Ryan. Perhaps wisely, there was a big swerve away from her family drama, the focus shifting more solidly to the numerous work crises passed her way. The only problem there is that the writers were in no way content to let her just be a pathologist. 

“I’m a forensic pathologist. All I’m interested in is the truth”, she cries at one point. But it patently isn’t true, her insistence on playing detective with every single case actually having led to the death of someone innocent last time around (she gets over the trauma of that pretty quickly…) and said behaviour continues apace here, reaching almost parodic levels far too quickly.

A new set of recurring policepeople emerge for Sam to butt heads with, led by Mick Ford’s D. Supt. Peter Ross and the series benefits from the continuity they provide. And in terms of the cases, there’s an interesting range of shenanigans from boxing rings to flying instructors, euthanasia to evidence tampering although overall, I wouldn’t declare this to be a particular classic series.

1. There’s an early example of Idris Elba‘s shouty acting as he pops up as a wannabe boxer early on
2. Adrian Lester doesn’t get enough to do as a side character in ‘Cease upon the Midnight’
3. There’s quietly devastating work from Linda Marlowe as a distraught mother
4. Nicola Redmond slips effortlessly into the recurring police team as the vaguely antagonistic DI Selway
5. And there’s some amusingly vivid awkward teenage angst from Joe Absolom and Kevin Bishop late on

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