Series 9 of Silent Witness, aka the one where it is dangerous to be related to the team
“You know you shouldn’t be interfering. You could be jeopardising your career, the investigation, everything”
Series 9 of Silent Witness is the first full one without Amanda Burton’s Sam Ryan at the helm and to its credit, you barely notice for the most part, such is the efficiency and effectiveness of the new dynamic cultivated by the seamless introduction of Emilia Fox’s Nikki Alexander. This series also marks the pronounced increase of their investigative roles in many a crime scene, taking them further and further out of the lab.
At its worst, as in series opener ‘Ghosts’, tragic news pushes Leo to Sheffield where his character is thoroughly mangled ostensibly through grief but in reality, in a cack-handed attempt by the writers to make him interesting. Which kinda misses the point, as William Gaminara has nailed the perfectly bland tone of quiet competence – making him head of the department doesn’t need to change that.
Across the rest of the series though, cases of gun-running, drug-tampering and a bona fide serial killer make for an interesting collection of stories. And a mostly more collaborative approach to working with the police makes for a more pleasing watching experience all around, with suitable consequences for once (for Nikki in this case) for overstepping the boundaries, even if the results aren’t particularly long-lasting.
Top guest appearances
- The marvellous Noma Dumezweni features in ‘Ghosts’ as DS Erin Jacobs, the officer lumped with trying to manage the renegade Leo in the depths of his despair
- ‘Choices’ features a veritable smörgåsbord of talent – Cecilia Noble’s concerned community worker, Craig Kelly’s stroppy DI Connelly, Freema Agyeman pops up briefly too as a crime scene tech but it’s a youthful Nikki Amuka-Bird who shines as the conflicted Simone
- Rory Kinnear get a strong arc as a glasses-wearing, cello-playing wrong’un in ‘The Meaning of Death’…
- …an episode in which lovely Leo Bill is, well, lovely for the most part
- And in the final ‘Mind and Body’, Badria Timini plays her iteration of the grieving mother with a perceptible and palpable pain