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"Silent Witness"
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Reviews & Ratings for
"Silent Witness" More at IMDbPro »

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45 out of 53 people found the following review useful:

A fine example of British drama

Author: bumbebee from United Kingdom
15 August 2006

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.

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43 out of 53 people found the following review useful:

CSi the way it should be

Author: Rob Neal ( from London, England
16 October 2008

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.)

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39 out of 49 people found the following review useful:

Silent Witness is a must-see crime drama!

Author: Lindsay-5 (
28 May 2000

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!

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27 out of 35 people found the following review useful:

Fabulous show

Author: Paul McDevitt from Canada
7 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.

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20 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Prof Sam Ryan

Author: k1yak from United Kingdom
28 September 2005

*** This review may contain 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.

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9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Entertainingly ridiculous

Author: di-hard
25 January 2014

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.

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23 out of 40 people found the following review useful:

Glad that Amanda has gone for a Burton

Author: paul-3257 from United Kingdom
18 July 2007

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.

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:


Author: bing-moose from Australia
18 June 2013

*** This review may contain 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?"

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Very good!

Author: kikkapi20 from usa
29 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!

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A brilliant series that keeps getting better and better.

Author: Paul Evans from Swansea, United Kingdom
23 October 2015

*** This review may contain 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

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