Our favourite team of forensic scientists/wannabe detectives are back for a seventeenth series. Of course, the team isn’t the team it used to be. It started as a one-woman show where Amanda Burton, in her role of Dr. Sam Ryan, stared out of the window for ninety per cent of the time and upset everyone around her for the remaining ten. Then it became Sam, Leo and Harry, then after Sam had gone, Nikki, Leo and Harry. But now Leo and Harry have vanished too (Harry resigned, Leo was blown up) and Nikki (Emilia Fox) has to cope with weird cage fighter Jack and his assistant Clarissa.
But what’s this? A new recruit? A new face showed up halfway through tonight’s episode in the form of a new boss (Richard Lintern) and he doesn’t get off to a very good start (even though he tells everyone he is sensitive). Nikki is especially irritated by him (she never does well with change) when he says he is replacing Leo. “No you’re not, you are taking over from him”, she says, then flounces off sporting her new Camilla Parker Bowles haircut.
Today’s story was an odd, slow-burning tale that took it’s time to develop and left us in the dark at the end (of course, to keep us watching tomorrow). It concerned a cocky young footballer (Hugo Becker, pictured left), a sex tape he features in and a young woman he may or may not have beaten up and/or murdered. The team also had the death of a mother and son to deal with.
Silent Witness, though frequently bonkers, does a splendid thing in allowing writers and directors to effectively make an original feature film (split into two parts) that happen to feature some pre-established characters (our pathologists). Today, director Daniel O’Hara keeps everything calm and muted with dark moody cinematography.
The highlight is the acting of Hugo Becker, a former Gossip Girl hunk who is showing signs that he may well be an exceptional actor. His compelling performance tonight was the driving force throughout the episode. Now his mouthy character has been arrested, it will be interesting to see tomorrow what direction his story now takes.
Silent Witness: Commodity, Part 1 will be available to view for a limited time on BBC iPlayer.