‘Silk’: Series 2 Episode 2 review

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Secrets are rife in the latest instalment of Peter Moffat’s polished legal drama Silk.

Martha Costello’s latest client, the smouldering Captain Ed Ryan (Misfits star Matthew McNulty), won’t give up the information that could save his career, Clive Reader attempts to conceal his Lothario past in order to ingratiate himself with the sharp George Duggan (Indira Varma), and Billy Lamb does his utmost to hide Martha’s intense loathing of new – and extremely well connected – criminal solicitor Mickey Joy.

After news of her previous client Brendan Kay’s brutal execution, Martha must deal with moral revulsion and guilt in equal measure. It is fortunate then that the unmistakably corrupt Joy appears to bear the brunt of it. By refusing to continue working with Joy, Martha puts the takings, and therefore future, of Shoe Lane in danger leaving clerk Billy some serious sweet talking to do.

Just as well that Martha’s latest case takes her off on a jaunt to an officer’s rally to defend said smouldering Capt. Ryan, accused of causing a fellow officer’s death by disobeying a direct order.

The subplot brings with it some intriguing developments; namely Martha’s first post-silk slip up – misidentifying the case’s victim to the horror of his bereaved parents, and a long overdue male interest. Indeed, a spot of Clive sighing in undiagnosed envy over her night in the officer’s mess wouldn’t have gone amiss for tension development. Despite a strong supporting cast, the conclusion of the central case itself is overdone with a hefty portion of exposition.

Thus far the direction for the second series seems to be a deeper dive into the political life of the cases and chambers rather than character interrelations; no doubt a crowd pleaser for the legal audience. It will be interesting to see how the writers manage striking this balance as the series plays out.

Clive, or should we say ‘new Clive’, appears to have turned over a new leaf; changing tack to re-approach silk, we wonder? Rather disappointingly this episode reveals his secret nicer side; running marathons for charity, referring to our new QC as ‘Marth’, and suddenly prepared to go the extra mile for his clients. All in all, he’s become rather wet. ‘I don’t understand why some barristers won’t get their hands dirty. Call the refuge! Find a bed! It’s not like God has a secretary…’ being one of his smarmier lines. We all loved to hate Clive in the first series, all sleaze and superiority, so fingers crossed he makes a swift reappearance.

In procedural series like Silk the writers have an ideal formula – episodes address fresh cases allowing freedom to reset the stage each week. However, developing the continuing tension between the two key characters, here Martha and Clive, is vital in order to keep viewers coming back. Despite telling ‘Marth’ ‘I miss you’, Clive is more preoccupied with his latest pursuit than rehashing past times with his new senior, but hopes remain high that their intriguing dynamic is explored further.

Next week’s teaser reveals an enigmatic warning from Billy; ‘Stay out of Miss Duggan’s downstairs’ promising there is more to come from the subtly developed Duggan/Reader/Costello triangle.

Aired at 9pm on Tuesday 22nd May 2012 on BBC One.

> Buy the Series 1 DVD on Amazon.

> Order the Series 2 DVD on Amazon.

What did you think of the episode? Let us know below…