‘Silk’ Series 3 Episode 1 review

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David, the teenage son of the Head of Chambers, faced prison after killing a police officer while being ‘kettled’ during a demonstration. Things got a bit Line of Duty when police evidence came under question, with Martha going as far as to calling an officer bent to his face. Both the protest and police corruption are issues that are timely and relatable enough that, despite all the legal jargon being thrown around, you could keep up with what was going on.

Martha’s almost maternal relationship with David and her personal mistrust of the police meant she struggled to keep her emotions in check. Seeing how deeply Martha cares about her clients, so deeply she bleeds (literally) for them, is what makes Silk so watchable.

The legal system in relation to mental health is an important subject rarely touched upon, but it was handled with care here. David’s schizophrenia and the revelation that the unflappable Caroline (Frances Barber) spent time in an institution reminded us of Silk’s very human heart.

Martha’s relationship with Clive took a turn for the romantic, but with Clive now a QC and heading into the world of prosecution, there’s a sense that things aren’t always going to be easy between them.

Billy continued to keep a lid on his cancer in the no-nonsense fashion we’re used to seeing from him, but that throwaway comment about his ‘last breath’ was evidently too close to the bone. Expect big things from Neil Stuke as this storyline plays out.

An intelligent character without a cruel or dangerous streak who you’d love to have a coffee with, Martha is a breath of fresh air among the Sherlocks and Frank Underwoods of telly; thanks to a stellar performance by Maxine Peake. She, like her Silk alter ego, treads the line between loving and lawyering with ease. It’s shocking to think she hasn’t won a single award for the role.

Aired at 9pm on Monday 24 February 2014 on BBC One.

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