Silent Witness: Coup de Grace Part 1

“You have to do whatever you can’t not do.”

Cloud Atlas

Where do they get these titles from? What does Coup de Grace even refer to?

In what I think is the third episode of the current (on iPlayer) series of Silent Witness, Nikki serves as expert witness at the retrial of a convicted murderer, and her evidence gets him off the charge. But the ensuing investigation into exactly who did commit the murders casts doubt upon her judgement, and soon Problems look to be Arising, as they so often do.

I will say this for the first part of Coup de Grace, it kept me guessing. Usually when Murder Mysteries are this obvious about a suspect, it turns out to be a Red Herring, and so that’s what you expect. But the trailer for the next episode, as well as the very cliffhanger-y cliffhanger at the end of this episode, looks like that isn’t going to happen. I’m not going to say this is very groundbreaking, because it isn’t. But – interesting, perhaps, is a good word.

Actually, Silent Witness recently has been more about character than about creating any great level of suspense in its audience. Not even character. Drama and Excitement is more like it. Stand-offs and hostages and guns. All a bit dramatic for a forensic team, but there you are. The point is that it’s all getting a bit formulaic: the suspect with a War Story wandering round with a perpetually Distressed Face; the demanding and draconian detective leader who Isn’t A Bit Like Us and who Doesn’t Understand Science (or, apparently, Justice); the slimy lawyer with a Hidden Agenda. Oh, and apparently only one kind of drug exists in Silent Witness-land.

This would all be fine if the Murder Mystery was compelling enough, but it just isn’t. There is no mystery. And if there is we aren’t encouraged to care about it.

So I would like to ask the ITV Murder Mystery people, very nicely, whether we can’t have Lewis back, please.

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