Silent Witness returned for the second new storyline of series 24 tonight – marking the debut of Jason Wong as brand new regular character Adam Yeun. Prior to the episode, Wong had told RadioTimes.com that Adam could “sometimes rub off the wrong way” on the other characters, and we certainly got plenty of glimpses of that friction from the very beginning of tonight’s episode.
In his first scene, Silent Witness newcomer Adam rather flippantly referred to a dead body as “meat”, which got him off to the worst possible start, while Jack was particularly bad-tempered with him throughout the episode – not least when he brought his typically hyperactive three-year-old son to work. Let’s hope that Adam can gel with the rest of the team before the series is finished because, as it stands, their somewhat frosty working relationship probably isn’t ideal when it comes to cracking cases.
And the team certainly have a case to crack in this episode. The victim in question is swimming instructor Laura Jennings, who, at the start of the episode, was bashed over the head with a baseball bat in her own home. And by the end of this instalment, it becomes very clear that the case goes rather deeper than it had originally appeared – with two more bodies found in the garden of a suspect. That suspect, Tim Garrick, is a former schoolmate of the deceased and apparently recently dated her, although he didn’t appear himself during the episode. It seems likely we’ll see plenty of him tomorrow in the conclusion of this double-header.
Anyway, there are plenty of suspects that we did see in tonight’s episode, including a rather enigmatic bus driver by the name of Frank Johnson (Jack Deam). Frank originally emerged on the radar of the Lyell team and investigating officer Meredith Hughes (Caroline Sheen) when they discovered a text that had been sent to him from Laura’s phone, containing an image of a positive pregnancy test. When they arrived to question him, he immediately told them that “it’s not what it looks like” and although the team were understandably skeptical about this, on this occasion it turned out to be true: Frank had secretly been running a sperm bank out of his garage, and Laura had been one of his clients.
Coupled with the fact that he also had an alibi for the night of Laura’s murder, Frank’s role in the death appeared to have been ruled out at that stage, but his role in the episode was far from over. Later, we see his wife react with fury when she discovers the bank, and then, in the episode’s final scene, Frank is seemingly beaten to death – or at least near death – while strolling through an underpass. The suggestion is that this is the same murderer who killed Laura, but it remains to be seen quite what the motive might have been.
Anyway, we also had a wonderfully smarmy turn from Patrick Baladi to enjoy in this episode as former copper Ron Radford, one of Laura’s exes. It seems likely that Ron is something of a red herring – he’s way too obvious to be the episode’s real big bad – but there’s certainly something unsettling about him, especially given he’d broken into Laura’s house to install spyware on her computer. The question is, was he just a jealous ex, or is there a more specific reason he was wanting to keep an eye on Laura? My suspicion would be the latter.
Then we have Simon Morton, the care home worker played by Lewis Gribben. Simon appears to have an extremely unhealthy fixation with the Trask family – the children of whom were some of Laura’s swimming pupils, and the grandmother of whom is his favourite resident at the care home – but as to his role in the bigger picture, that remains a mystery at this stage. Towards the end of the episode, we saw him break into the Trasks’ home, and wave at the younger child in a rather creepy fashion – it will be interesting to see how this all ties together in tomorrow’s concluding part.
Meanwhile, Adam’s arrival wasn’t the only reason for Jack’s rather cantankerous mood in tonight’s episode – there was also some new Hodgson family drama. A teenage girl, Cara (Rhiannon Jones), arrived at the Lyell claiming to be Jack’s niece – with a lovely scene that saw Adam translate for her using British Sign Language. This revelation leads to two great scenes: one which sees Jack confront his jailed brother Ryan (Owen McConnell), and one that sees him have a discussion with his father Connor (Richard Durden) during which it is revealed that Jack could actually be Cara’s father himself. There are certainly lots of intriguing plot strands to tie up in tomorrow’s second part…