Silent Witness Review: Doctors Fill In For Lazy Cops

January 14, 2010 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews

3.5silentwitness300SILENT WITNESS: Thursday 14th January, BBC1, 9pm ALERT ME

Do the police ever actually do anything in these kinds of programmes? It’s always the doctors and pathologists who end up doing the investigating; the cops are always shown to be deliberately obstinate or paralysingly stupid. Just what the heck was Quincy doing there half the time anyway?

It’s a trend that continues in Silent Witness. Dr Harry (Tom Ward looking like a cross between perpetually bland presenter Ben Shephard and David Tennant – whose ubiquitous presence over the Christmas period made it feel like he’d been cloned) reckons that the broken body of wealthy banker Bridgette Flannery was caused by having her head staved in with a blunt object. Dr Nikki thinks it might be because she fell down the stairs a few times.

With Met Superintendent Jenkins determined to pin it on the husband of the deceased – firebrand author Tom, who coincidentally authored a few books criticising her dead mentor, Nikki’s got her work cut out for her. But when it’s revealed that Tom’s first wife died in similar circumstances, even crusading Nikki raises an eyebrow.

It’s absorbing and entertaining stuff. Having the two doctors take opposing viewpoints reveals a little vein of unresolved tension between them and Harry’s wry humour never fails to raise a smile.

There’s a small appearance from Ed Hogg who crops up for five minutes as one of their lackeys – he was last seen in the surreal Bunny and The Bull and the demented White Lightnin’, both times playing people as mad as a box of frogs. I kept expecting him to haul off and do something deranged – splash about in some blood perhaps or stare sightlessly into a mirror while holding a scalpel.

However, it’s the autopsy dissect-o-porn which takes centre stage. There’s something morbidly fascinating about watching the two pick at bits of skull and spout off scientific jargon.

The bit where Harry spins the computer-generated image of Bridgette’s shaved head around and plays mix and match with a variety of blunt objects and the hole in her skull is a game you can’t help playing at home. It’ll be out for Nintendo Wii by the end of the year, just you watch.

As the cops never do their jobs properly in shows like this and Superintendent Jenkins is hell bent on deliberately not doing it anyway, it’s going to be up to Nikki and Harry to fight it out in the concluding episode tomorrow.