And so we approach the end of the eighteenth series of the show that just won’t die. Not that we want it do die, of course. Although it hasn’t been at its strongest this year, Silent Witness repeatedly offers up stories and characters that we just can’t turn away from. This week’s was from the moderately-good neck of the Silent Witness woods, with a dodgy Essex family as the focus point.
Continuing the stereotype that Essex families are either full of fake-tanned screeching idiots, violent semi-gangsters or both, One of Our Own started with an inspired use of Kanye West and Jay-Z song ‘No Church in the Wild’ set to the killing of a young police officer. His body is put in a car and set on fire and Nikki and Jack get to pick about with the remains the next day as a branch of Essex Police come to terms with the loss of one of their own.
Aside from a slightly adventurous use of music, this episode never tried to be anything other than a solid-enough slab of procedural crime drama, which is fair enough, but as I have said before, Silent Witness is at its most interesting when it tries to do something, well, interesting. It’s a bit of a letdown, as this two-parter was made by veteran director David Drury (check him out on IMDB and you’ll see what I mean – there is a lot to his name).
The cast were ok-ish, although the script, co-written by Tom Butterworth (who wrote that strange Nicole Kidman movie Birthday Girl) gives them some rather difficult lines to chew out. Most effective was Hollyoaks’s James Farrah as freaky wide-boy with a violent temper (young one in the white t-shirt, pictured in the featured image). Sadly the superb actor James Watkins was wasted, though I suspect Part 2 may right this wrong. You can’t hire an actor as recognisable and talented such as him and confine him to the sidelines. I await to see where the story goes with interest, tinged with slight regret that the show isn’t bowing out of 2015 on more of a spectacular high.
Silent Witness: One of Our Own Part 1 is available for a limited time on BBC iPlayer.
Aside from a slightly adventurous use of music, this episode never tried to be anything other than a solid-enough slab of procedural crime drama