Review: Silent Witness: Commodity, Part 2

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So back we are again with our merry band of flesh-cutters, though they were hardly very merry today. Things are still a bit awkward with the new boss (who Nikki spends most of the time acting as if he’s an ex-husband she’d rather forget, even though all he has done so far is, well, his job), and the case is getting murky.

Not everything is bad for Nikki. She is being hit on by a superstar footballer (played by Hugo Becker, who is admittedly easy on the eye), but he’s been arrested on suspicion of murder and has a history of tweeting racist jokes. Awkward. Plenty of fish in the sea, Nikki.

The beautifully bleak, washed-out cinematography was so gorgeous you could go through screenshotting and hanging the images on the wall. Extremely shallow depth of field was often employed (background blurred, foreground in focus) and, most noticeable of all, everything was kept very dark. This was partly because nobody turned any lights on. Actually, I’d just like to make a point about this….

DO WE NOT HAVE LIGHTS ANY MORE….?

Silent Witness Where are the lights

IS THIS BECAUSE OF OUR CARBON FOOTPRINT?….

Silent Witness Where are the lights 3

OR BBC BUDGET CUTS?….

Where are the lights 4

NAH, IT COSTS A LOT OF MONEY TO MAKE EVERYTHING THIS DARK…

SILENT WITNESS LIGTHS 5

But it all looked so atmospheric it was probably worth them straining their eyes when reading their autopsy notes.

This slow-burning story proceeded at an almost glacial pace, but this is what Silent Witness does. It changes and adapts to the story it’s telling. Next week we might be pumping along as if we’re in Sky’s Strike Back, but today the mood was sombre and brooding and it worked very well. In an age when nearly every crime drama seems to involve a woman being raped and tortured in a dungeon by a pervert dressed as Chalky the clown, it’s refreshing to get a story that is more concerned in the puzzles and clues than the horror. The plot did border on the overly complicated towards the end (who was doing what and why?) and some may not have been satisfied by the ‘it’s all down to the secret service’ conclusion. Amanda Burton certainly wouldn’t have been fobbed off with that. Maybe she should return next series in a dramatic comeback. That would certainly have Nikki chewing up the scenery.

Although it went off the boil for one silly series in 2011, Silent Witness has, over its seventeen years, matured into a rather superb series of excellently crafted films (even if they have our brains doing somersaults). I’m intrigued to see where it takes us next.

Parts 1 and 2 of Silent Witness: Commodity are available to view for a limited time on BBC iPlayer. Images: BBC iPlayer.

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Second year BA Film & English Student. Watches too many films and enjoys good novels.

8 Comments

  1. avatar

    This story would have been rather more plausible if it was about a Muslim footballer, of which there are around 40 playing in the Premier League at the moment, rather than a Jewish one, of which there are, er.. hardly any. The rest of the story could easily have been adjusted accordingly, but then we wouldn’t have had our stereotypical mad Islamic jihadist and good old Mossad sorting things out at the end in their inimitable way!

    • avatar

      Bravo!! I am racking my brains trying to think why there having been more comments raising this very obvious point. It’s out of order – but then again the BBC do tend to have quite a pro Israeli stance ( when it comes to reporting at least) I think it’s bloody irresponsible and I’m disgusted. I’m not a Muslim so dont know what it must feel like to be one and watch this otherwise half decent show take the easy route on their choice of whipping boys.

  2. avatar

    This series has been a bit duff so far on storylines, acting, any sort of plausibility or chemistry between the characters. I know things can’t stay the same forever but the show does miss Leo and Harry.

  3. avatar

    I feel that our intelligence, and this is usually not a stupid show, is being insulted. People around our world are not ignorant of israel’s war crimes. So why push this israeli propaganda message down our throats?

  4. avatar

    I have to ask why the actors agreed to such a blatently propaganda show. Many actors are now part of BDS and would show intelligence and principle by not allowing themselves to be part of it.

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