TV Review: Silent Witness Series 23

What the… Series 23 of Silent Witness maintains a rich vein of form but then really upends the apple cart 

“What would Thomas do?”

All good things must come to an end, eh? Having settled into an excellent run of form with all four members of the Lyall team firing on all cylinders, Series 23 of Silent Witness culminates in some serious upheaval with the departure of no less than two of them in a brutally effective final story that probably ranks as one of the best ever.

So farewell to Clarissa, leaving on her own terms to pursue new opportunities, Liz Carr’s performance hands down one of the best on TV in and of itself before you even factor in the shot in the arm it has been for representation. And with a pleasingly meaty storyline involving her mother, it proved a satisfying journey although a gutting loss for the show.

But we also said goodbye to Richard Lintern’s Thomas, who came a cropper to a particularly nasty nerve agent which also killed off a great returning guest star and did serious damage to Jack too. It was an effective shock move and a good send-off for a character who the writers often struggled to fit in the hierarchy of the show (he never really felt like anyone’s boss).

The series as a whole worked well too. Child abduction and domestic violence cases really hit home, and the cryogenic story literally chilled the bones. You do wonder how the loss of two key characters will affect the dynamics of the next series though, depending on if and how they are replaced.

Top guest appearances

  1. If she’s there, it’s always Adjoa Andoh. A more trustworthy figure this time around, her DI Rosen spearheads the investigation into a private plane crash in ‘Deadhead’
  2.  Tom Goodman-Hill pops up in ‘Close To Home’ as an entertainingly, graspingly ambitious Assistant Commissioner with a past connection to Clarissa
  3. In the midst of the highly affecting ‘Seven Times’, Sian Reese-Williams‘ Tina is a powerfully affecting figure in this community of DV victims
  4. Jemma Redgrave, Louise Jameson, Nicola Stephenson…, ‘Hope’ is full of brilliant actors but it is Anastasia Hille’s grief-stricken sister who grips throughout
  5. Amid all the trauma of ‘The Greater Good’, the return of Adelle Leonce’s DS Vail is only matched by the return of Clare Higgins, albeit as a new character

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