Silent Witness Schism Review and Recaps (BBC)


This article was updated on the 17th of August 2006 @ 07:03 AM


This article is part of the meta-post 4134 Words Or How The Writers Of The New Dune Novels Sold Out. This article gives a review and recap of this week’s Silent Witness shows on BBC.

This week had another series of excellent shows on Silent Witness. It’s funny that I as actually reading up on terrorist cells, like Baader-Meinhof, ALF and others. I like the concept of phantom leadership and leaderless resistance. This week, a series of murders appears connected to an extremist animal liberation organization.


Kids belonging to it turn up dead and Nikki Alexander and Harry Cunningham investigate. The episode also caps off with Harry thinking about accepting a Chair of Pathology in a Boston University. Nikki finds the note in his GTI. Harry guesses because of the frost in their last few conversations that she found out. He talks to Leo about it. Nikki is just upset because they just started a relationship.


The case is a myriad of investigations, between Criminal Intelligence and the normal DI’s investigating in tandem. The CI boys are there because of the terrorist connections to the WAE. One of the witnesses Claire Ashern played by Jemima Rooper clams up and doesn’t say a word until the second episode.


Jemima Rooper is in a lot of series recently. She has been in Hex, playing a lesbian ghost. She also appeared in an episode of Sugar Rush, playing a lesbian. She is currently starring in Sinchronicity (BBC Whales) and now has played in Silent Witness.


The storyline surprises me with the actual abduction of Dr Alexander towards the end of the ninth episode. She spends time with the extremist and we learn that they had stolen some lab animals from a biological research firm and started being murdered afterwards.


Leo is testifying in a hearing of a colleague suspended for having kept biological samples of a patient’s brain matter. He testifies as a character witness and is pressured by the briefs to fully support his colleague. In the end, he does what is right.


There are spoilers coming up, since this is a recap.


The firm is actually researching H5N1 vaccines and the animals have a tie to this and are very important to their research. They have contacted someone in the government, possible MI5 or some intelligence organization, to help them secure the animals. They send a torturer spook to get the information out of the extremists. One by one, he captures them, tortures them and kills them to get to the animals.


In the end, Dr Alexander is rescued; most of the terrorists end up dead and the agent accomplishes his mission and disappears thanks to CI. This is another series of excellent episodes with surprising twists. We still don’t know if Dr Cunningham will stay on or leave. I guess this will be shown in the next season of Silent Witness.

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Relevant posts

  1. Silent Witness and 30 Days
  2. Silent Witness Supernova (BBC)

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It is also part of the meta-post 4134 Words Or How The Writers Of The New Dune Novels Sold Out.

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One response to “Silent Witness Schism Review and Recaps (BBC)”

  1. Widget Avatar

    A better spoiler summary for Dr Leo Dalton is that he stands for Dr. Lionel’s character but not for his actions.
    He states as other do that Dr Lionel acted from the highest of motives and is a superior research doctor. He ultimately is required to answer the direct question of whether Dr Lionel breached his duty of care, and he says he did. He explains that working with people directly all the time has led him to see clearly that they are vulnerable to whatever the pathologist decides to do and that lack of protection means their consent must be obtained for any new uses of the deceased’s tissue. Dr Lionel receives a 5 year suspension and another of Leo’s colleagues speaks to him after, blaming him personally for not doing more to help. This is the same colleague who interfered earlier by insisting Dr Dalton go and see Dr. Lionel.

    I found it very ‘true’ to Leo’s character. He considers the problem deeply and faces it clearly. As with most intellectuals, his speaking at length on it shows his clear respect for the profession, his colleague, and the family. It does not come off as navel gazing but instead professional ethics. I also appreciate that they didn’t take the emotional easy way out by him referring to his own previous status as ‘the public’. This would have been a disservice to him but also to professional ethics, since you don’t have to be vulnerable to understand it. The court scenes are nuanced, trying to explain why someone would properly disregard the concept of consent in good faith/for good reasons – but also why the regulations are in place.
    Not so great was Dr Nikki Armstrong, who was forced into a damsel in distress scenario. While the show was good with it, showing her choosing to act with them only to protect an injured member instead of being forced to do anything, these are imaginary plots. So the show still bears responsibility.
    Also not great was Dr Harry Cunningham using his position and strength to violently shake a female suspect, scaring her. If I’m forced to see every female breast they can figure out how to shove in my face, I’d like to have the relatively minor “good” type of sexism where women aren’t actively reminded that they are vulnerable to larger males. (There was, in fact, what could be read as a rape threat made by the DCI to the same female suspect. This is definitely a great idea to threaten someone with, when she already believes she’s in war with brutes. She 100% wouldn’t take that as proof of their evil and this become further radicalized.) Of course, he would not have shaken a man because it wouldn’t have even been considered.

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