Silk Review: Mid-series Lull? Cottaging And Pimps Should Do The Trick…

SILK: Tuesday 8th March, BBC1, 9PM

BBC courtroom drama Silk has reached the halfway part of the series with episode three, and already we’ve seen barrister and would-be-QC Martha Costello take on rape cases, burglary and the aggravation of war veterans: what could be next? As it turns out – cottaging. Tonight’s episode centres around the trial of Mark Draper, a vulnerable teenager accused of doing said deed in a men’s public toilet.

On cue to provide the moral complexity is the fact that it becomes increasingly obvious that Mark has escaped a life living with a heroin addict mother, and replaced it to be at the mercy of a pimp.

Concerned for the boy’s welfare, Michael Connolly is on hand to assist Martha with the trial, even offering to put the boy up for the night, but there’s something about the way that Will Keen plays the role that convinced me there would be a dramatic twist that implicated him in the case. What with Connolly’s shifty demeanour and Draper’s knowing lines (speaking of Connolly, he says a little too meaningfully, “Maybe I could repay him by not betraying his trustâ€?), let’s hope this was an intentional – if slightly disappointing – device used to keep viewers on their toes. Either that, or Keen needs to work on his ‘concerned’ face, because it tends to translate as ‘slightly guilty’….

Written by former barrister Peter Moffat, the BBC promises with Silk, to portray a true-to-life portrait of a female barrister applying for QC or ‘silk’, although you get the feeling that die-hard feminists may pick fault with the fact that Martha’s dilemmas centre around her emotional attachment to cases (versus her snidey competition Clive, who removes himself emotionally with ease) and whether she will be able to juggle work with a baby. There are some attempts in this third episode to drum up some sort of interest in whether or not Martha will commit to her “appointmentâ€? (read: abortion) on Wednesday, but it feels a bit half arsed and not enough to really make you care.

More inter-politics ensue, which probably offer the most interesting ‘behind the lid’ aspect to the show (well come on, let’s admit that ultimately we want to see corruption and deceit) while you do feel genuinely a bit sorry for Nick Slade (Tom Hughes – Cemetary Junction) as the slightly-out-of-his-depth-but-determined-to-learn trainee pupil (ah, if only all trainee barristers were former Burberry models).

Although the Mark Draper storyline reaches an outcome in tonight’s episode, the character is set to return next week with a meatier story which in itself should attract enough interest to keep people watching. My overall verdict? Silk is watchable and enjoyable in places, but not as gripping as it may have set out to be…

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