Silent Witness: Fraternity - 17.09/10

Another week, another murder. It must be Silent Witness. This week there’s an added twist, it's not just a female victim, it’s a teenage female victim. Just when you thought the show was predictable they throw a curveball like that. Even more interesting though is the fact we’re finally, after two series, given some back story for Jack, mainly that he’s got a very nice flat. This final double header of this series centres on his relationship with his estranged brother, and with the Lyall Centre, dealing with trust on both sides. Can Jack trust his brother, can Nikki and the team trust Jack to do the right thing? Can he even trust himself to do the right thing?

Typically for the show there are umpteen instances of characters behaving irrationally, or in ways that they just wouldn’t, Jack washing his brothers potentially crime scene contaminated clothes for instance, or the fact that Nikki keeps a vital piece of evidence from the police. It’s just all a bit too much that these well educated, highly trained pathologists act so ridiculously, any sense of realism seems to have left the show with Leo at the end of the last series.
Other than some solid acting from David Caves this is Silent Witness by the numbers, there’s the compulsory gruesome and graphic post mortem scene, there’s Clarissa arriving with some vital information at crucial times, the lead police investigator obsessed by the wrong suspect, Nikki getting stressed and whiny, Lyall Centre boss Thomas Chamberlain not really doing anything, and so on.
This is the last in this series and there must be some debate as to whether the show will return. Creatively it’s at a dead end, there’s no pretence that the team are still just forensic pathologists, and the stories themselves follow depressingly familiar beats. Despite this people are still watching, with ratings of over five million for the final episode making it the most watched program on TV on Friday, and it regularly tops the ratings. Anyone know why?

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