The Lyell Centre team made huge steps in tonight’s episode of Silent Witness as they continued their mission to try and find out who ordered the Health Secretary’s murder and who is at the heart of the DNA fabrication scandal.
We began the episode with Nikki (Emilia Fox), Jack (David Caves) and Simone (Genesis Lynea) investigating the death of Oliver Meehan – a journalist Tom (Matthew Gravelle) was working with and knew about possible DNA manipulation.
As viewers know, the closing scenes of episode 4 saw Sam (Amana Burton) arrive at Oliver’s and before the credits rolled, he was dead.
Given the fact we don’t actually know what Sam is up to just yet, you’d be forgiven if her murdering Oliver didn’t cross your mind.
For the Lyell team and the police, Oliver’s death initially looked like a suicide, but when Nikki examined the body, she concluded Oliver was in a fight before he fell over the balcony.
You certainly need to be paying attention while watching this series, because as the episode progressed, we were introduced to a man called Ethan – a big boss at Vigil Network – the company that keeps being mentioned when it comes to CCTV, mobile phone activity and finance records.
Essentially, it looks as though Vigil and UNITAS are pretty similar, but Jomo (Hugh Quarshie) argues Vigil isn’t as safe as UNITAS because the company is monitoring ‘every corner of people’s private lives.’
Thanks to Vigil networking, Nikki was able to spot Sam on the CCTV outside Oliver’s flat the night he died – which led them to paying her a home visit for questioning.
She wasn’t there.
Sam wasn’t there but a lot of blood was, prompting the return of DSI Boyle (Ian Puleston-Davies) and DS Chalal (Shireen Farkhoy).
With the police investigating Sam’s disappearance, Nikki, Jack and Simone started to suspect that she may still be alive after receiving a vial of blood in the post.
Nikki is yet to prove that the package came from Sam, but she has told Specialist Advisor Oscar Harris (David Leon) her theory.
So, is Sam alive? Has Amanda Burton really returned for this anniversary series only for her character to be killed off?
Nick Lambon, producer of the show, told Metro.co.uk what Nikki is thinking as suspicions continue to rise:
‘Nikki thinks that Sam must be alive, that the return of the vial of blood that helped her to identify Fiona’s involvement came from Sam. All we know is that Sam originally took that vial. Nikki wants to believe that Sam is still out there and on her side. But if Sam is alive and trying to help Nikki, why not make herself known and come forward and tell Nikki everything that she knows?’
Reflecting on Nikki’s investigation into possible DNA manipulation, Nick added:
‘I think it’s clear that Nikki is very close, but doesn’t yet have all the pieces of the puzzle. She thought that scientifically proving that the DNA samples used against Tom were fabricated would bring an end to all this…but it didn’t. And if Sam is alive and can be trusted, where is she and why doesn’t she come forward with everything that she knows?
‘There’s still a gap between Nikki and whatever happened to Sam that needs to be solved if the truth is to be revealed.’
We left tonight’s episode with Martine, David (Lloyd Everitt) and Fiona’s (Gina Bramhill) lives hanging in the balance following a collision with a lorry.
Moments before the crash, Fiona was preparing to reveal more information to Chalal after the police discovered her and David’s involvement in DNA fabrication.
As we’re yet to discover what Fiona was trying to tell Chalal, the aftermath of the crash could be huge for the police and the Lyell team, because how do they work out the truth if two of their main suspects end up dying?
‘Well one of the biggest challenges with telling a six-part story has been finding ways to continue to put our heroes at the centre of it’, Nick explains.
‘Stripping away all the thriller elements this year, Silent Witness is a forensic-led series and so we need to keep finding twists that demand the services of the Lyell! Without that, we lose the sense of realism which I think is such an important cornerstone of the show’s popularity. And there is a risk that our characters become side-lined. As for deaths, that was quite a nasty crash, wasn’t it?!
‘We know from the end of Episode 5 that everyone in that car has just learnt a huge piece of information, something which Chalal was desperately trying to communicate to Nikki before the accident…so if anyone has survived, what is it they know and how might that complicate things for them and the team?’
Last week, Simone came face to face with DI Johnny Campbell (Duncan Preston), the detective who investigated her sister’s disappearance when she was a child.
Simone was told her sister contacted the family shortly after she went missing but vowed to never return home.
Nick previously teased that Simone’s story didn’t end in episode 3 and tomorrow, she makes a huge decision as she contemplates whether she wants to find her sister after all these years of thinking she had died.
‘Earlier in the series, Simone started to make her peace with the idea that her sister might be alive, but we don’t yet know where that knowledge is going to take her. Can she now trust Gloria to have told her everything she knows about the past?
‘How do these powerful emotions that have been stirred up impact on her work at the Lyell? There are questions for Simone’s future now, rather than her past.’
With only one more episode to go, we don’t have long until the truth about Sam’s return and that complicated arc on UNITAS, Vigil and forensic science is revealed.
As time really starts to run out, Nick has given us one final hint of what’s ahead in the finale:
‘I hope the audience are excited to see some of the answers and big scenes we’ve been building to! The series tries to go full circle in the finale. Relationships between Nikki and Jack, Nikki and Tom, Nikki and Sam, they really carry us through until the end.’