TV Review: Silent Witness Series 15

Series 15 of Silent Witness ends up being a bit of a dud with both Harry and Leo getting close to the end of the road

“This is police business”

As has become increasingly obvious, criticising Silent Witness for not being a show about forensic pathology is a fruitless task, the blurring of the lines between the lab and fieldwork (aka stepping on the toes of police investigations) has long been a significant part of the show but once the deliberate sainted antagonism of Sam Ryan had gone, I felt that the writing had managed to balance it fairly well, finding a sweet spot where it rarely bothered me too much. 

Series 15 throws all that in the bin though. There’s police interview scenes with a single police officer but both Harry and Leo in there. There’s Leo marching into crime scenes without calling the police, chasing suspects through the forest out back and then casually walking right back into the house with nary a piece of PPE on him. I don’t mean to take it all so seriously but it is just so frustrating to watch, especially coming from so sanctimonious a character as Leo – I think Janet has eventually dodged a bullet here. 

So you can probably tell this isn’t one of my all time favourite series, I won’t even mention the illegal DNA tests. As mentioned, it is Leo’s turn to chomp at the bit and thus be placed into increasingly improbable situations for the sake of ‘drama’. Stories about grooming and prison abuse feel like they retread old ground but a queer tale about possession switches things up late on. Oh, and it turns out to be Harry’s last series, slipping away without so much as an exit storyline. Sad as that is, it does mean that much needed change will come sooner rather than later.

Top guest appearances

  1. A rare TV appearance from the great Kirsty Bushell turns into a super one in ‘Death Has No Dominion’ as her DI Gray turns excitingly unpredictable
  2. The always undersung Neil Maskell turns in some brilliant work as grieving father and husband who may or may not be the prime suspect in ‘Domestic’
  3. I can forgive Nancy Carroll many things (qv Manor) but finding (a partnered) Leo irresistibly attractive in the same story is just about a step too far 
  4. A rare performance that I remember vividly from first time around, Rakie Ayola’s appropriate adult and support worker is hauntingly good in ‘Paradise Lost’
  5. With Tamzin Outhwaite, Adrian Dunbar, Nina Sosanya and Tom Ellis as a vicar, the spooky ‘Fear’ is full of faces but it is a young Jodie Comer who really stands out 

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