Well, it’s returned to our screens on BBC1, airing on Sunday and Monday nights at 9pm for six episodes in a set of three two-part pieces. The familiar faces are back: Leo Dalton (William Gaminara); Harry Cunningham (Tom Ward); Nikki Alexander (Emilia Fox); and Dalton’s partner Janet Mander (Jaye Griffiths). They’re all up against it, competing on Sunday nights with Julian Fellowes’s latest project Titanic on ITV1 (all the thrill of a toy boat stranded in a puddle while the five year old’s gone in search of a knickerbocker glory) and Homeland on C4 (exceedingly worth watching). And it’s not over on Monday nights either as there are not-at-all-fat ladies singing on ITV1 in Scott & Bailey which is upping its ante with series two, proving that British cop dramas can be spectacular even when basted in ordinariness. If you want to see reality and some gut-wrenching acting, Scott & Bailey is the place to go. If you want to see slick and swish, then Silent Witness is still meeting your demands.
The opening story – Death Has No Dominion – proved that you need to postpone your cocoa until 10pm, because you need your wits about you. We had quite a few ‘blink and you’ll miss them’ clues in a complicated and mille feuille layered plot. While Harry and Nikki are called to the scene of a particularly brutal and apparently calculated triple murder, Leo is faced with the suicide of an old friend and colleague, Lizzie Fraser. Tensions soon rise within the team as Fraser’s backstory prompts a lack of trust in the police from Leo and the triple murder is soon exposed as part of a bigger case investigating a serial killer.
Opening with Nikki reading the poem of the (engineered) title at her father’s memorial service and Fraser’s suicide having an impact on Leo, Death Has No Dominion offered a theme of loss. But in this respect it didn’t deliver. There was no real sense of loss here, however many despairing chatty scenes we had. Victims have become commodities in plot construction for Silent Witness.
If you prefer to see humanity on screen, let Homeland and Scott & Bailey be your dominion on Sunday and Monday nights. And you’ll still need to keep that cocoa on hold until 10pm.