User Reviews (35)

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  • I always enjoy this show for the following reasons: It gives a wonderful insight, if simplified, into the world of forensic pathology, an area in which I would love to work.

    Each new case is original, well constructed and thoughtfully presented. They remain topical, without the feeling of an after-school special relating to current affairs.

    Unlike shoddy American drama, the focus is on the storyline and character development. The reason that dialogue is not snappy and constant is because it would turn the characters into one of the "Friends" brigade - where cheap laughs are more important than the integrity of the character.

    The show is challenging - plots and subplots intertwine cleverly, meaning it's not a "background" show, but one which is completely consuming for the viewer.

    The honest make-up/autopsy scenes. These just fit, without being sensationalist, and add to the realistic feeling of the show.
  • This series continues to grow in interest, quality and plot lines.

    Whenever people rave about CSi, (which I consider it, and it's even lamer derivatives to be THE worst drama on TV), I always point them to Silent Witness. It follows accurate pathology, police routine and technology, and doesn't talk down, or dumb down. If you want to see pathologists at work, then you are going to see cadavers opened up. (That's what they do.) If you don't like that sort of thing, stop complaining that it's sick and go back to washed-out, inaccurate American cop shows that wouldn't know a dead body if it jumped up and bit them. (Or just lay there looking pretty with a cloth laid over their naughty bits.)
  • Amanda Burton's Professor Sam Ryan is a clever, highly-intelligent and sometimes intimidating coroner and professor at London University. Her professional qualifications set her apart from other coroners in the area, and so she is regularly called upon to assist the police at homocide crime scenes and in subsequent autopsies. In the style of a murder-cop show starring someone besides a cop, Professor Ryan manages to solve all of the cases herself, only occasionally calling on the aid of one of the actual police officers. This series is very often intense and graphic during some of the autopsy scenes, but it is consistently well-written and well-acted. Very little of Sam Ryan's private life leaks into the series, and the series' primary focus on the murder in question is somewhat unusual to this genre. When a glimpse of Professor Ryan's personal life is revealed to the audience, it leaves them curious for more. Silent Witness is a very well-written show and I highly recommend it when it next appears in reruns!
  • k1yak28 September 2005
    Warning: Spoilers
    Silent Witness has been around sins 1996. Amanda Burton plays Dr Sam Ryan (in the early years) then moves on to being a prof. You find out in the early episodes that her Father was killed in an IRA bomb in the 1970's which her family witnessed. This is the reason she chose that profession. In the 8 series that Amanda Burton was in, Sam had quite a few love interests. This TV Show is fantastic with great stories which were the creation of Nigel McCrery. Yes Sam was obsessed in getting the truth but thats a good thing if you take a look at her back ground as I have through all the episodes including the last one "Time to Heal" you understand why. Many people say that Sam was annoying and yes she was sometimes. You have to say some of the stories were fantastic. Helicopter crash, Fires, avalanches, War Crimes,Getting it wrong (Yes Sam Got it wrong well no it was her boss but she felt guilty) And thats just a few. I Just Wish the BBC would bring it out in DVD I thought they might have with Amanda Burton leaving. If you get the chance to watch an episode you will enjoy.
  • paulmcdevitt7 February 2008
    Fabulous show ever since Amanda Burton (Sam Ryan) left the show.

    The story now takes centre stage and not Sam Ryan. The plots are more varied because it does not revolve around one character.

    The best crime show today. More realistic than the CSIs of the world. Brings new forensic capabilities into the show only when they help and not as the centre piece.

    While the stories can be expansive, they are not outrageous and are spread out over two one hour episodes (less commercial time) allowing deeper plot and character development.

    Too bad there are very few episodes each season.
  • This show is a favourite of mine. I'm rarely bored watching it, but anyone thinking it's realistic must be high as a kite.

    It has good pace and throws enough red herrings in the mix to keep me (usually) unsure as to who did what and how it will all pan out.

    However, you do have to swallow the idea of a forensic team that could easily be confused with a posse of rogue policemen. These people don't just do forensic science and make occasional court appearances. They barge past detectives to interrogate witnesses (the detectives never seem to mind this) and chase and tackle suspects. They have guns held to their heads every so often. They get out there and meet all the players, sometimes even date them. Some of them do it all tottering around in high heels. It's utterly ridiculous but the success of the show testifies to its dependable entertainment value. Enjoy with a large grain of salt.
  • bing-moose18 June 2013
    Warning: Spoilers
    Silent Witness is, put simply, a brilliant show. Not only are the plots very honest, the bodies realistic and the acting quite good but the characters are fantastic.

    This is a show that isn't afraid to say that crimes aren't always solved, the right people aren't always put in jail, your favourite characters aren't always in love and England isn't the good guy all the time. The characters are witty, funny, intelligent and kind but also stubborn, untrusting and sometimes almost awful people. Not only are they in-depth characters with flaws but they are all very different and have wonderful chemistry.

    For me, the most stand out feature of the show, asides from the characters, are the endings. In most crime dramas the episodes end not only with the bad guy being caught and put away for a long time but society seems almost to have changed. Gang wars have been stopped or racism has lessened. In silent witness it is a common occurrence that the 'bad guy' isn't put away for what we feel is a just amount of time, we see that despite the fact that a murder has been solved there will continue to be bloodshed.

    The only bad thing I have to say about the show is: "Dammit Harry and Nikki, why didn't you get together?"
  • kikkapi2029 August 2014
    I like this show. The idea of the body offering up clues and therefore helping to solve the case enthralls me. I also think the characters of Harry, Nikki and Leo are fantastic. They bring their own sense of humor into the show, especially Harry, which lightens an otherwise dark program. Harry and Nikki's somewhat complicated relationship is another factor that draws the viewer into the show. The sexual tension flies between the two, even if they refuse to see it. You can tell that they are more than friends by their actions towards each other, not to mention the playful banter and innuendo. For example, in the last episode of series 11 when Nikki nearly gets killed (but rescued by DI Mays at the last minute), she returns to the lab and Harry immediately walks up to her and hugs her. He then asks her if she's okay, and she tells him that the doctor had a look at her. Harry then replies with "Lucky doctor". That sentence speaks volumes if you ask me!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I have literally grown up with Silent Witness, it's got some incredible staying power. Hard to believe it started back in 1996 and is still going strong twenty years later. Many thought that Series 8 would mark the end of the show with Amanda Burton's departure. I remember at the time being totally gutted she'd decided to leave, but cleverly Emilia Fox was brought in and the show was reborn.

    At times it's a tough watch, some of the stories are quite dark and harrowing, Redhill is a good example. Sometimes they are a little too graphic, though in recent times they seem to have toned down some of the nasties, A Guilty Mind is very graphic. The series has never shied away from being controversial.

    It's great that viewing figures are stronger now then ever before, showing audiences still love it and want more. We've been treated to some incredible stories over the years, some highlights include Shadows, Falling Angels and The Prodigal. My favourite story being Bloodlines, which is an incredible piece of television, it has it all, excitement, suspense, drama, an emotional connection perhaps not previously achieved in the series.

    I understand it faces criticism for being inaccurate, I don't think it strives to be, and I doubt Pathologists solve as many crimes, neither of these points matter one bit, it's a show designed purely for entertainment....

    Long may Silent Witness continue. 10/10
  • I originally gave up watching Silent Witness when I found that AB's character annoyed me. Every episode (that I watched) appeared to follow the formula:

    1) Ryan saying that the death was not suspicious - the police should stop kicking up such a fuss (they were buffoons). 2) Police accepted her opinion, stopped investigating 3) Ryan then decided it was suspicious and kicked up a huge fuss that the police were incompetent!

    Ryan seem to alternate between cool, calm professional and near hysteric.

    How exactly was she supposed to be worthy of promotion to professor, rather than put on probation?

    Not really an advert for Women's lib! Were they just copying Quincy's pointless outbursts?

    Just started watching an Emilia Fox episode, better so far...Emilia hasn't thrown any hissy fits.
  • Silent Witness is a good British crime drama. The acting is decent, the scripts are okay(but sometimes verge on dodgy), and it keeps you interested in the story. As in all good crime dramas it's often quite difficult to accurately guess 'whodunnit'.

    However I'm stunned to read some of the other reviewers who describe it as realistic. Realistic?!? I don't think so ...

    I'm sure Forensics and pathology is a hugely interesting and rewarding career, exciting in it's own way. I'm also equally sure that they don't assume control of police investigations, interrogate suspects and get so embroiled in the culprits or victims private lives that they often find themselves staring down the barrel of a gun or two.

    In this respect it's hugely unrealistic - almost as unrealistic as the thought that anyone as whiny, interfering and annoying as Dr Nikki Alexander (played by Emilia Fox) wouldn't have been locked in a laboratory cupboard and forgotten about just to give everyone some respite.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I'm not British, but I've always loved British television. I love this show for the forensics, the science, putting the puzzle together, solving the crime. I love that the cast portrays their characters with empathy, compassion and intelligence. I just discovered the show, so I am a late-comer, but a fan just the same. There have been a few instances I have been furious with the writers. I really hated Leo being blown to bits. I sobbed for an hour in disbelief. Lastly, if you (as a writing team) are going to put Dr. Alexander in dangerous circumstances, for God's sake, let the poor character receive self-defense training and stop making this lovely, strong woman a victim! I hate that! And I have to think Emilia hates it as well!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I really like this show but Sam Ryan's character drove me nuts with her arrogance and her love life scenes were off putting. I wasn't sure I liked Nikki at first but there were some episodes I found her likeable and others she was just as annoying as Sam Ryan. I bet those two would not have worked well together. I enjoy the shows but every other episode I'm saying out loud how stupid Nikki is behaving. I'm watching season 21 episode 9 and sure enough Nikki was told to stay put and she goes running through the house and then goes into the woods away from the armed police instead of the front of the house.
  • steve-7328419 January 2017
    Before this current series this show used to be quite good. Now the main characters are so smug they all need a good slap, the suspense has all but disappeared (not helped by the awful incidental music) and it's never the poor old police who solve ANY of the clues. I still find it hard to believe that forensic scientists would be allowed by any police force to totally take over an investigation. I tried the first two series but found that even though the story lines were quite good, Amanda Burton's character was so up herself I couldn't watch any more. When she left I started watching again. Emilia Fox's character was a lot more believable and everything ticked along nicely until the last couple of series. Surely this is the end of the road BBC for this awful "drama".
  • Professor Ryan was not a coroner, she was actually a pathologist. However, viewers would be excused if they thought she was a detective or Senior Police Officer. She spent more time investigating matters by interviewing suspects and witnesses than she did doing her main job, cutting up dead bodies.. The programme is watchable in spite of the smug Professor Ryan rather than because of her. Liaisons with Senior Police Officers ( no junior ranks please) are the norm and it is also compulsory for Sam Ryan to be put into a bit of danger. It was a bit like a UK version of Quincy but a bit more drawn out and less enjoyable. Profssor Ryan has now left the series.
  • zephyrsnana18 November 2018
    Characters are great, writers are superb. But please get a new theme song... It has got to be the actually worst music I have ever heard.
  • s327616925 January 2016
    If you have been around a while you might remember the French and Saunders satire of Silent Witness, Witless Silence. I'd venture to say that's a good description of where this show has gone.

    The new Silent Witness, for me, looks a like a haven for conservative British political correctness and "mainstream" perspectives. Worse still, there no opposing view or opinion in sight, just compliant silence.

    Generally, I have in the past liked this show. That said, I don't like being lectured or told what or how I should think. I'd also say I have found a couple of recent episodes, deeply distasteful. This is a shame as the original series had a lot to offer. My advice BBC, knock of the preaching and stick to entertaining, its what you do best.

    As it stands I'm only willing to give Silent Witness a five out of ten. Lets hope it picks up its game sometime soon.
  • chas_newport3 January 2014
    I came to this late on the naive assumption that you don't make 17 series of something if it's a bit of a dog. Huge mistake. Utter garbage.

    Look up "Confirmation Bias" at a source you trust. The cops exhibit this to the point of seeming thoroughly unprofessional. I get that all series of this type have to work through several theories before eventually peeling away enough layers to expose the final truth. But they don't all go around arresting people when there's only circumstantial evidence. Watch a documentary like "Murder Shift" and you'll see this hardly ever happens.

    The dialogue is self consciously quirky and stilted each of the characters vying to exhibit some personality defect as a substitute for proper character development.

    Then they put the cherry on top with the "you can't catch Mossad agents" trope. They follow some ransom money with no helicopter support to make sure they can play that card.

    Sickeningly bad. They axed Ripper Street to turn out rubbish like this?
  • This was bloody good telly when it first came out. But it's the same jigsaw puzzle every week so after a couple of years I just got bored and moved on.

    Just for the hell of it I watched a recent one and made it about half way through the first episode. The BBC have kidnapped this series to showcase their warped view of how the world should be. It's just horrible now. Avoid!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I have been a great fan of the Silent Witness TV show, not seen the very first ones but began with the Nikki episodes, as i will call them for convenience matter. i always found it entertaining, thriller or exciting but this year was a complete disaster, the story lines where just complete dull. the crew and the cast where surely doing there best but it feels like some people have start digging in the BBC Attic took some plot lines from Older episodes of Silent witness maybe even from other Detective shows and just changed names and locations.

    maybe the 15 season that aired in 2012 wasn't also that good but at least we got Harry to save the day,Tom Ward has given his Harry so much charisma that even the most stupidest episode is and was watchable, this season Harry is not in it, he left to new york Apparently and we didn't even got a chance to say goodbye. this time he has been replaced buy someone who has just as much charisma as a Lego doll, OK well maybe i am bit hard now on David Caves as that seems to be his real life name, but he is just not convincing to me as a forensic scientist or whatever he supposed to be. and there is no chemistry between him and Nikki and a little between him and Leo. As his character Jack says "I will always be the new guy" this is also the feeling that i have when i watch the show.

    they also added a new Female character, Clarisa to the show, she is OK although she looks not really healthy (as i say this in a concerning way) only i don't see i real value here for the show.

    While Harry's absence is a great lost, to make matters worse they also decided to blow Leo Dalton to Kingdome come in the Final episode of this season (and they didn't even sent Harry an invitation for the funeral)

    "Silent Witness will return next year." Please BBC leave those forensics alone and move on because a once so great show has become bloody awful.
  • I want to know if you changed your Director of Photography during series 22? Especially episode 5 which played yesterday had some fantastic photography. Congrats & well done.
  • This show is great every season. The show is great with the different medical info then they help the cops solve it. It has great humor and witty comments. I really enjoy it and look forward to watching it. I have to wait for the whole season then I watch it because once you start you can't stop
  • I love Endeavour, but SW is far better. Nikki Alexander and Jack are great together. Love Clarissa. The stories are well thought out. Very gripping. Everything doesn't always end up neat and tidy as in many shows.
  • How could I've missed this Brit Drama for 21 seasons! Hell, that's just a little under my age, cough, cough. In all seriousness, I've been fixated on British and Aussie crime dramas lately as American acting has been abysmal lately you see. The big thing I like about the Brits is their clever repartee and mannerisms. Remember the Connery eye brow move? You see! Well, I'm off to the first season, and first see ya in 21 years! Cheers! Murf
  • I am a retired Detective Sergeant having spent most of my service in CID and Fraud. Silent Witness is lightweight enjoyable drama, but is frequently flawed. The forensic team of non-police officers are often shown watching, or indeed taking part in suspect and witness interviews. They're also often too close to the armed officers at scenes and searches, groan. Plus of course they do numerous tasks that would be undertaken by actual police detectives or trained family liaison officers. Enjoy it for what it is, but it ain't reality!
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