As the dust settles on all the recent changes, Series 18 of Silent Witness turns out to be just a little bit average
“If you think you can do better, you’re very welcome to try”
After some wholesale changes to the core team and indeed the remit of the show, Series 18 of Silent Witness is the first chance to really sees where the land lies now that the dust has settled. The biggest consequence is the shift to incorporating forensic science just as much as, if not more than, forensic pathology which of course lends much more credence to the team spending so much time out of the lab.
I say the team, I actually mean Nikki and Jack, as it is these two who unquestionably lead the investigations now, Emilia Fox and David Caves finding a nice chemistry. Richard Lintern’s Thomas may be the head of the Lyell but is comparatively considerably under-used. He’s less a third lead than a second supporting lead alongside Liz Carr’s Clarissa, whose dry wit makes her the MVP here.
Now that the show has settled on this new dynamic and we as viewers have had a little time to get used to it, it certainly works OK but this collection of stories feels more middle of the pack all told. Rogue snipers, suspected child abuse, London’s super-rich and a detour to Essex are all watchable to be sure but rarely make you sit up and say, wow this is essential stuff.
Top guest appearances
- Zoe Telford’s DCI Jane De Freitas is one of those police officers you wish could have been featured for more than just a single story, her keenly intelligent profiler sparks up ‘Sniper’s Nest’ no end
- In the same way, the troubled personal history of Richard Rankin’s DI Luke Nelson deepens the tragic edge of ‘Falling Angels’ and once again, you can’t help but long for more extended runs for some of these characters
- Conversely, Claudie Blakley’s social worker in ‘Protection’ does brilliant work with a perfectly constructed if really quite harrowing arc, replete with the thanklessness of the sharper end of that job
- It’s always good to see actors going against type and without giving too much way, Pippa Haywood’s Commissioner Greenwood shows some interesting colours
- And he doesn’t quite get enough to do but the ever-excellent Jason Watkins is a crucial part of final storry ‘One of Our Own’