After some significant cast changes, Series 24 of Silent Witness is fascinatingly unmoored with some wildly big swings
“I’m not used to dead bodies”
Hmm. After the departure of both Clarissa and Thomas at the end of the last season, you’d’ve thought Series 24 of Silent Witness would naturally have something of the air of a reset about it. Instead, there’s a sense of throwing 100 big ideas up in the air and seeing what sticks which makes for an uneven but often entertaining watch.
Personnel-wise, there’s the introduction of Jason Wong’s highly qualified Dr Adam Yeun, and latterly Genesis Lynea’s forensic ecologist Dr Simone Tyler. But there’s also the swift killing-off of Adam in just his second story, having established him as a father of two young children this feels particularly harsh, almost as brutal as the way Nikki and Jack never, mention, him, again.
And in terms of Nikki and Jack, there’s little invigoration amid all this change (and evidently the Lyell no longer needs a manager…). There’s a far-too-heavy reliance on Jack’s family (an ill father, a brother being released from jail and a new-found deaf niece), none of which stop him from being a dick, his treatment of Adam and his communication with Cara being case in point. And having him develop a crush on Nikki is just lazy.
And who knew Nikki was still in a relationship with Matt? Not the writers apparently, until the middle of the series at least, when she finally mentions him in passing. Worse though is her apparent reciprocation to Jack’s feelings, a hallmark of a lack of real inspiration. It will be interesting to see how this is carried forward as so much of the show now rests heavily on these co-leads’ shoulders.
Top guest appearances
- It’s the turn of Cecilia Noble to do outstanding work in the ever-present part of grieving mother, her Dionne devastatingly tangled in the events of ‘Redemption’
- Caroline Sheen has long been a star of the stage so it’s great to see her on screen, her DI Hughes (call me Meredith) a sensitive presence at the heart of ‘Bad Love’
- Without giving too much away, it is pleasing to see Nicholas Farrell cast against type as his Professor Cowley looms ominously in ‘Reputations’
- Lorraine Ashbourne is often magnificently feisty but she is aces in ‘Brother’s Keeper’ as (former) bare knuckle boxer Michelle ‘The Maniac’
- And in series finale ‘Matters of Life and Death’, no less than Dame Siân Phillips cuts a powerful and emotive figure