Dark, claustrophobia-inducing, moody, grim – these themes and feelings have permeated this year’s series; the seventeenth in the show’s history. Aside from a slight let-up last week, this batch of stories have more-or-less been painted with the same brush.
This week was no different. The handheld cinematography was achingly gorgeous, in a muddy, muted kind of way. The story was complex, often incomprehensible, though consistently compelling. And nobody bothered to turn any lights on.
Because this was the last story in the series, something special had to go on (I think it’s in the screenwriter’s contract), and this year one of the team was involved in the case they were working on. When are they not, right? But it was all a bit too close to home, when The Cage Fighter (Jack) has to deal with his brother being implicated in a crime.
I suppose, by bringing personal matters in, it lets the forensic guys off the hook when it comes to professional practice. They can go off the rails, shout, make errors, but hey, they have a vested interest.
The best, and most surprising aspect of this two-parter was Ashley Walters (Asher D, remember?) as the head detective (who apparently only works on his own). He really commanded the screen as a determined and flawed cop with a scruffy suit and a no-nonsense attitude.
Overall, this year hasn’t been the best for Silent Witness, but to be fair, we have just had two brilliant series, so there was bound to be a comedown. And if it’s this good on a comedown, I’m looking forward to the step-up in quality that will hopefully accompany the drama’s 2015 return.
The whole of the seventeenth series of Silent Witness will be available to view on BBC iPlayer for a limited time.