Series 12 of Silent Witness, aka the one they are allowed to start getting jiggy with it, oh and they jet off to Zambia for a bit
“You lot are expert arse coverers”
Expanded to six full-length stories and moving one of them to Southern Africa, Series 12 of Silent Witness ought to be something of a golden age for the show. And even if it doesn’t quite hit that highmark for me as the writers start to head increasingly to the personal lives of the team, it is still immensely watchable.
The series starts off well with a horny paramedic getting his arse out for Nikki and Leo’s sanctimony being punctured (briefly) by being done for drink driving. And as we move through London gangs and elite police units, vengeful Russian oligarchs and insular Hasidic Jews, a wide range of stories certainly challenges the team.
The slight worry comes with the turning to personal connections, particularly where Nikki’s concerned. The penultimate story includes one of her former teachers in the UK, then the final episode involves a former classmate out in Zambia, oh and for the third series in a row, she’s attacked again whilst out in the field, investigating or interfering depending on how charitable you’re feeling!
Leo gets to settle down with the lovely Jaye Griffiths, Harry’s hair gets shaggier and shaggier and he’s still making Nikki laugh, so things could be a lot worse. And there’s a tasty twist or two early on which suggests that none of them should necessarily feel too comfortable come contract renewal time…
Top guest appearances
- Daniel Kaluuya offers hints of his Academy Award-nominated talent in ‘Safe’ as a young man desperately trying to make a life for him and his younger brother free from the influence of local gangs
- In the real surprises that get us through ‘Death’s Door’, Neil Dudgeon’s DS is a reassuring presence even as he falls under suspicion
- In an episode that barely gives the likes of Doña Croll, Philip Arditti and Geraldine Alexander hardly anything to do, ‘Terror’ at least benefits from a striking lead performance by Ciarán McMenamin’s arsey police officer
- ‘Judgement’ centres on a rather tragic case within the Hasidic community, full of excellent performances, but Wendy Nottingham wins the day as the most unexpected Aussie mum ever.
- And in a series full of strong detectives, Penny Layden’s harried DCI Gallagher is particularly effective working through the layers of appalling intrigue in ‘The Lost Child’