TV Review: Silent Witness (Series 27, Episodes 1 + 2)

Josette Simon and John Hannah lead an excellent guest cast in the first story of Series 27 of Silent Witness

“We were all fish once”

After a rocky time of it, the last series of Silent Witness felt like it went some way to steadying the ship and this opening two-part story for Series 27 looks like that journey is continuing. ‘Effective Range’ does a lot of what the show does best – a gripping crime story with far-reaching emotional consequences, actual forensic pathology on bodies and a guest cast of some seriously high quality.

Here we have Josette Simon as DCI Ford, on the cusp of retirement when a new case comes in that recalls one of her very first involving a serial killer, and John Hannah as Dr Charles Beck, the pathologist who examined those victims 20 years ago and who also has an intensely personal connection to the case. The team thus investigates if this is a copycat or if the long-dormant killer has resurfaced.

There’s always secrets being revealed in Silent Witness but writers Dudi Appleton and Jim Keeble do an excellent job of drawing story threads in both the past and the present, the mysteries distinct but clearly interconnected and powerfully evoked, Simon and Hannah both excellent at trying to exorcise the demons of the past, particularly when the beady eye of suspicion falls in unexpected directions.

Emilia Fox and David Caves as Nikki and Jack remain relatively bland and asexual, even if they’re still ‘together’; newcomers from last time around, Aki Omoshaybi’s Professor Gabriel Folukoya and Alastair Michael’s Velvy Schur prove more interesting as we’re still learning about them; and Rhiannon May’s Cara continues to be set up as a potential future member of the team in some shape or form.

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