TV Review: Silent Witness Series 5

Series 5 of Silent Witness aka the one with a travel budget, as wunder-pathologist Sam heads off to Belgium and Norway 

“They make it look very easy on television, I don’t think it quite works like that”

Series 5 of Silent Witness feels like the one where they had money to burn, with 2 different European trips worked into the three stories of this season. And with Sam Ryan apparently the forensic pathologist that everyone wants, she gets to pick and choose her cases with gay abandon, even if it is deciding whether the body of a beatifed nun is valid for sainthood.

It’s not the cheeriest of series though, dipping into the Holocaust and dark family secrets as well as shoehorning in a medical crisis for the good doctor herself. For a character so resolutely unsympathetic in both its writing and portrayal, it’s an odd choice as she remains someone who you really struggle to invest in. It’s still watchable to be sure, but change can’t come quickly enough…

 

Top guest appearances

  1. Andrew Sachs anchors the harrowing depths of lead-off story ‘The World Cruise’ with a deeply sensitive and nuanced performance as Josef Horowitz
  2. Anthony Head is great value for money in ‘Two Below Zero’, as you try and work out whether his presence is as guaranteed killer or just a red herring
  3. The great Kathryn Hunter appears as a highly charismatic nun in ‘Faith’, although sidelined in the b-plot of Sam’s health concerns
  4. Driving the main action is Prunella Scales’ vengeful mother determined to get the truth about her daughter’s death…
  5. …as she suspects her son-in-law, a wonderfully oleaginous Matthew Marsh

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