Silent Witness returns to BBC One for 22nd series

The Beeb’s longest running crime drama returns next year with five new stories in its ten-part series.

“100% the secret to the show’s success is the brilliance of the original concept and the quality of the writing that is brought to it. Good Silent Witness episodes always have a forensic aspect to it, where the ‘silent witness’, the body who cannot speak, can be given a voice through the brilliance of Nikki or the others. The body then speaks to the forensic pathologists, the police and the relatives that are left behind – and it talks about the last moments in that person’s life.” – Richard Lintern

The longest-running British crime drama currently airing on TV returns to BBC One with a dynamic new series of five contemporary stories, each told across two episodes.

Silent Witness sees Emilia Fox, Richard Lintern, David Caves and Liz Carr return as the dynamic Lyell quartet.

The storylines in the latest run start with ‘Two Spirits’. When a trans man is murdered and a trans activist is kidnapped, the cases are deemed to be linked. But when the DCI releases a suspect prematurely and incriminating evidence comes to light, he tries to blame the Lyell for the oversight. Thomas (Richard Lintern) bears the brunt of the pressure as he volunteers to take the fall – and focuses the team on the search for the perpetrator.

Later stories include ‘Lift up your Hearts’ which sees teacher Noah Taylor (Colin Salmon) resolve to confront the drug dealers preying on his community after a teenage boy dies in a meth lab explosion, ‘To Brighton To Brighton’ The team are called in to painstakingly piece together a collection of dismembered body parts, covered in intricate Japanese tattoos, that have been found in a Brighton waste dump.

In ‘Deathmaker’ a car-bomb attack in a quiet suburban street brings back unwelcome memories for Jack, when evidence points to the involvement of a Northern Irish terror group, long thought inactive. As the family of the victim seek their own form of justice, Jack calls an old friend to help them find those responsible and stop the act of revenge from escalating and finally Nikki is humiliated in court when a brutal cross-examination suggests she made a grievous error in ‘The Ties that Bind’. Nikki struggles to trust her own instincts when she disagrees with Thomas over a cause of death. When another case is marred by apparent contamination of evidence, the team start to question if the problem lies elsewhere.

First broadcast in 1996, the series was created by Nigel McCrery, a former murder squad detective based in Nottingham. The team was originally lead by Professor Sam Ryan played by Nikki Alexander Amanda Burton across the first eight series, before Emilia Fox took over as Doctor Nikki Alexander.

“Finding the clues through the body is really the heart of the series, allowing the Lyell team to piece together the last moments of someone’s life and being able to give answers to loved ones. Each story is always so different and whilst the main focus is always on the crime I feel that we are now exploring a bit more of the personal lives of the Lyell team too. For example, Nikki’s feelings towards Matt are explored more. She also begins to think about whether she is ready to start a family and bring life into the world… when she’s much more used to dealing with death!” – Emilia Fox

The first two episodes will air on Tuesday 8th and Wednesday 9th January at 9pm on BBC One.

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