‘Silk’: Series 2 DVD review

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I would like to make it publicly known that I am now in love with Martha Costello (Maxine Peake), the lead character from tense, tense legal drama Silk. This woman has balls, brains and, yes – she’s pretty attractive as well.

BBC One’s Silk follows the tumultuous relationship between Costello and her colleague Clive Reader (Spooks star Rupert Penry-Jones) which, built slowly and surely over the first series, has been given an injection of dynamite now that Martha has made it to QC status – which Clive hasn’t. Throughout these six episodes we’re left wondering whether or not he is actually jealous of Costello’s success. The question is never answered, though.

The episodic cases deliver as ever. One involves a soldier standing trial for leading a member of his squadron to his death while fighting the Taliban, while another centres on a decidedly creepy sexual harassment case where a waitress has her knickers forcibly removed by three braying toffs.

But the brassy blonde from Bolton sails on, vampish red lips and searing intelligence intact, spurred by new pal/rival in the form of CW (Doctor Who’s Frances Barber), who may or may not fancy Martha; but, as with Clive, its fun to guess. CW has balls too: ‘I drink hard and fast and wake up the next morning sober as a judge and twice as spry’ she snips during one episode. More women like CW in Series 3, please!

I found myself hoping that Martha would find companionship in some form this series – not necessarily with Clive, but I was holding out for the handsome soldier in the second episode who informs our girl that ‘I bet you look good on the dancefloor’. Sadly she sends him packing to his room. Costello, you tease!

Martha’s career takes an interesting turn in the final two episodes, as she (reluctantly) agrees to help shady solicitor Mickey Joy get one of his nastiest clients out of jail time. She succeeds brilliantly as tough nut clerk Billy Lamb drops a bombshell in court about his under-the-counter dealings with Joy, leaving the latter discredited – an extraordinary act of bravery given that he has recently been diagnosed with cancer. It’s a terrible yet refreshing twist, and his MRI scan – complete with single tear running down his face– provides one of the series’ most moving moments.

Ultimately Maxine Peake is the show’s star once again. Fierce, quietly fragile and genuinely good-hearted all at the same time; if she doesn’t get a nod at the BAFTAs next year then I’ll sue.

Released on DVD on Monday 25th June 2012 by BBC Worldwide.

> Buy the Series 2 DVD on Amazon.

Watch the Series 1 trailer…