Why did it take 24 sets for Silent Witness to be the most powerful ever?

New faces, new dynamic, a lot has changed for Silent Witness (Photo: BBC)

From cryogenics to serial killers, Silent Witness has been sticking with what it has known for years – but it hasn’t necessarily been a good thing.

The show is the world’s longest-running crime drama and just aired the latest episode of its 24e series on BBC One. Surprisingly, this is his strongest production to date.

Created by Nigel McCrery in 1996, Silent Witness is usually made up of stories in two parts. The main storyline and characters will be introduced in the first part, usually a cliffhanger ending offers a twist or runs the risk of the case being in danger, but in the second part the story and who is responsible for the murder (s) is still on display.

Therefore, Silent Witness had started to become repetitive and in some places, dare I say it – monotonous.

But in Series 23, the final story saw one of the series’ biggest upheavals in a very long time.

After being exposed to a nerve agent, one of the main characters and medical examiner Thomas Chamberlain (Richard Lintern) died trying to find a way to save Jack Hodgson (David Caves), the medical examiner for the team that had also come into contact with the toxic chemical.

Also in the final episodes, Clarissa Mullery (Liz Carr) decided she would leave the Lyell Center to focus “less on the dead and more on the living” after her sick mother passed away.

Thomas silent witness
Thomas died in the last episode of the latest series (Photo: BBC)

As brutal and emotional the outings were, they had to happen.

Consider this.

The Lyell Center team has long been made up of Jack, Clarissa, Thomas and Nikki. It’s a plus for the series to have four characters who come back over and over again, but at the same time their lives and pasts have hardly ever been explored, which has had a huge impact on things.

Watch Death in Paradise – another BBC program that has the same format every week. The difference is that every few years the lead detective changes.

The current frontman – DI Neville Parker (Ralf Little) – isn’t like the sleuths of the past, and he’s a huge factor in what helps keep Death in Paradise refreshing – the change.

Continuity is another factor that previous Silent Witness series have overlooked.

Take “Awakening” – the latest story in Series 20 in which Nikki was kidnapped and locked in a box in the sweltering heat of Mexico.

Such a gruesome ordeal would mark you for life, but for Nikki, we barely saw the repercussions. The situation was touched on in a few episodes and then never again.

Nikki silent witness
A face from the past haunted Nikki at the start of this series (Photo: BBC)

Or “Deathmaker” – a story that explores Jack’s past. Finally, we discovered more about the North Irish character who is loved by many fans. But in the next series, despite Jack being the focus of the final episodes after being poisoned, Silent Witness missed a key opportunity to delve deeper into Jack’s past as that character’s life was on the line.

So what’s so different this year? It’s simple – character development and continuity.

Episodes one and two saw Nikki and Jack investigate the death of an inmate. It also starred prisoner Scott Weston – a character in a 2010 story who saw Nikki and her former colleague Harry trapped in a college while a shooting was taking place.

There were a few elements in ‘Redemption’ that immediately showed us that this series was going to be different from the others. Scott’s return, the reminder of Thomas’ death and Clarissa’s departure, even a mere mention of Harry let us see that the show actually remembered Nikki’s past.


Then there was a new character. Working with Jack and Nikki was definitely a challenge for Adam (Jason Wong) on ​​his first day.

Adam silent witness
A new face with a lot to say (Photo: BBC)

The enthusiastic, sometimes slightly arrogant new character has put himself on the wrong side of his new colleagues a few times, and these are the final episodes of Adam (yes, a shock indeed given how long Thomas and Clarissa have been around. regulars) who have seen Silent Witness really put on their game.

The best thing about Adam? We have learned so much about him in such a short time. It was the perfect example of how to develop a character and do it well. If you compared Thomas and Adam, I could tell you a lot more about Adam and his life through four detailed episodes, than about Thomas – a character who was on the team for six years and barely took center stage. scene in a scenario.

Killing Adam was a dangerous move, but it paid off.

Making us love getting to know a new character and then ripping their life away added so much more. There was sadness, shock, but above all, it was unexpected. Adam’s death gave this show a much needed adrenaline rush.

Don’t get me wrong, Silent Witness can do cliff-hangers, but we always knew things would end in the next episode – but with Adam’s death there was more excitement, another new character already. ? It left us with so many questions, eager to tune into the next episode – it was genius.

And then there’s Simone (Genesis Lynea) – a breath of fresh air.

Simone Silent Witness
Another change (Photo: BBC)

Simone’s presence again changed the dynamic at Lyell Center. The introduction of a mysterious figure with a passion for forensic ecology who lived with his grandmother was a joy.

Neither Adam nor Simone put themselves in Thomas and Clarissa’s shoes, but doesn’t this series prove that four regulars aren’t necessary? Hopefully we will see Simone again – but also having a carousel of new faces for the team to meet, all with varying job titles and personalities, opens up so many more intriguing avenues.

Jack silent witness
Follow the Hodgsons (Photo: BBC)

The stronger emphasis on Jack than this series created an emotional, interesting, and complex arc.

The character faced a life-changing issue when he was forced to come to terms with the fact that Cara Connelly could be his daughter rather than his niece. David Caves is an exceptional actor, and it was great to see more of Jack than the one we know at Lyell Center.

Seeing a tall and physically impressive man like Jack crumble and being held by his father, Conor (Richard Durden), in the final episode was one of his most poignant and powerful moments.

Jack and Nikki both had something else to contend with this year: their feelings for each other.

Jack and Nikki silent witness
It’s time to address the obvious (Photo: BBC)

You see, in the previous episodes, Jack and Nikki’s flirtatious demeanor was nice to watch – of course! But just like many of the indicators discussed in this article, it was repetitive. Jack was smiling at Nikki, making a comment that drove fans crazy, but it never went any further, so it’s a fact that audiences may think nothing would ever happen between them.

So watching Jack and Nikki finally get closer – it was beautiful. And those final scenes? There is no other way to describe them than perfect.

The reinvention of this spectacle was absolutely necessary, but risky nonetheless.

Was it worth it? Completely.

Series 24 brought new life to Silent Witness.

This allowed what was once a tired show to have a golden opportunity to continue for many years to come. I can only hope that the risk taking and breaking limits will continue.

Do you have a story you would like to share? Contact us by email jess.austin@metro.co.uk.

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