Silent Witness: Viewers’ verdict on tough domestic violence plot

Hard-hitting storyline wins praise

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Fans of Silent Witness have praised a “powerful” storyline on the popular BBC drama that featured domestic violence.

During Monday’s (20.01.20) episode, members of the Lyell team were called in when the body of mum Jenny Shaw (Zoe Harrison) was found on a railway line. The victim had a bottle of gin by her side, making her look like the victim of a drunken fall.

Tough times for Nikki (Credit: BBC)

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But a history of injuries and a spell in a women’s refuge soon put husband Robbie (Stephen Walters) in the frame.

And the storyline brought back painful memories for forensic pathologist Dr Nikki Alexander (Emilia Fox). In a series of flashbacks, she remembered her own mother hiding domestic violence injuries from her when she was a child.

Memories (Credit: BBC)

It brought praise from some sections of Twitter, where one viewer wrote: “I actually haven’t moved since it ended. I can’t. I can’t process how moved I feel by that episode.”

Another said: “Quite frankly, I’m speechless. Wholeheartedly moved by that episode of #SilentWitness. Powerful stuff. Incredible work from all involved, but especially @EmiliaFox. And yes I cried. Thoughts? Do we all need a group hug?”

A third viewer wrote: “Getting chills watching#SilentWitness tonight… Brilliantly done.”

Someone else put: “#SilentWitness is pure TV excellence ,every episode is just absolute class, the flashbacks to Nikki’s childhood were haunting.”

“I was not prepared for how powerful a storyline can be, so true to life!” tweeted a fifth, adding: “A beautiful, emotional performance from @EmiliaFox as always, particularly delving deep into Nikki’s turmoil past.”

A sixth commented: “@EmiliaFox absolutely loved tonight’s ep! you were amazing and I loved seeing more of Nikki’s past, even though it was upsetting for her. Cannot wait for tomorrow’s episode, I’m gripped as usual!”

Silent Witness was a tough watch even for those who praised the subject matter. This episode, the fifth in this series, was called Seven Times. In it, Dr Nikki reminds Detective Inspector Sid Clarke (Garry Robson) that a domestic violence victim will attempt to leave their abusive partner an average of seven times before succeeding in breaking away for good.

I can’t process how moved I feel by that episode.

The show also contained a number of parallel stories about domestic abuse. These included a lesbian couple, where one threatens to commit suicide if her partner ever leaves her. A friend of the murder victim from the same refuge, meanwhile, was shown to be facing a difficult court battle over allowing her abusive ex to have access to her children.

This being Silent Witness, there was more to the crime than first appeared. As the net seemed to be closing in on obvious suspect Robbie, he was found dead by the Lyell team.

Suspicions were then raised at Jenny’s dad, who was shown to be violent to her mum.

Guilty party? Jenny’s Dad also hit her mum (Credit: BBC)

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Viewers will have to tune in to the concluding episode of Silent Witness tonight (21.01.20) to find out who the culprit really was.

Did you think the storyline was handled sensitively? Leave your comments on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix to let us know what you think.

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