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Ghost Canyon

'Silent Witness - The Complete Season Twenty'
(Emilia Fox, David Caves, Liz Carr, Richard Lintern, et al / 3-Disc DVD / NR / 2019 / BBC Home Entertainment)

Overview: In this long-running, hit BBC crime thriller, baffled police once again turn to forensic pathologists Nikki Alexander, Jack Hodgson and Thomas Chamberlin for help to solve murder cases with harrowing evidence that speaks louder than words.

DVD Verdict: Well, for all you lovely readers following along at home, as I've mentioned before in my reviews of this wondrous, ground-breaking UK TV show, I have watched every single episode, of every single season; and have to say that each and every one was a complete and utter joy to behold locked firmly within it.

But, like most TV shows that have gone on for 22 seasons (23 now, as it just got renewed), the original cast was always the best. And as much as the group that surrounded Dr. Ryan in the first five seasons were good, and as much as the guys that surround Nikki Alexander from season 16 on are great too, the true A-Team came into play during the sixth season onwards re: Samantha Ryan (Burton), Professor Leo Dalton (William Gaminara) and Dr. Harry Cunningham (Tom Ward).

For those not further in the know, 'Silent Witness' was first broadcast in 1996, and still on air today, the series was created by Nigel McCrery, a former murder squad detective based in Nottingham. He later went on to create the hit series 'New Tricks,' with writer Roy Mitchell.

Having originally appeared in the Season 8 episode, "Nowhere Fast", Nikki (Emilia Fox) was originally assigned to the Lyell Centre to defuse the tension between Harry and Leo after Sam Ryan's departure.

However, Nikki soon became a permanent fixture within the team, and although at first she held a lower rank in pathology than her boss Leo, upon his departure - and then that of Harry thereafter - she soon got promoted.

Despite her native home being South Africa, Nikki regards the United Kingdom as her second home, as the reason for her departure from the country lies solely in the hands of her father, Victor, as explained in the previous Season 8 episode, "Double Dare".

Before his arrival at the Lyell Centre, Jack Hodgson (David Caves) was a forensic scientist for the police, working on regular murder investigations.

However, when he is called out to the scene of a man's suspicious death in Season 16's "Change", both Nikki and Leo spot his potential, and looking for a senior colleague to replace Harry, decide to offer Jack a job as the centre's forensic expert.

As it turns out, Jack is close friends with fellow colleague Clarissa Mullery (Lizz Carr), whom he invites to work with him at the Lyell Centre. She has a very cheeky side and most definitely adds some light to the darkness here sometimes.

Lastly, Dr. Thomas Chamberlain (Richard Lintern) took over as head of the Lyell Centre from Leo, who ** SPOILER ** died at the end of Season 16. He is an experienced forensic pathologist with a renowned reputation in toxicology and described as charming, charismatic and socially shrewd.

In the style of a murder-cop show starring someone besides a cop, the team of pathologists manage to solve all of the cases themselves, only occasionally calling on the aid of one of the actual police officers!

Can you say, CSI-esque? Regardless, this British series is very often intense and graphic during some of the autopsy scenes, but it is consistently well-written and well-acted.

But, as that is all leading us down the path into Season Six and subsequent seasons for a long time thereafter, let us concentrate on this latest inclusion in the wonderful 'Silent Witness' series, Season Twenty now out on DVD.

So, what do a people-smuggler, a photogenic young schoolteacher, a missing teenager and a father/son pair have in common? Alas, their remains are the most reliable witnesses of how they died, and—if they were murdered—who killed them.

Following grisly clues, Dr. Nikki Alexander (Fox) and her team of forensic pathologists delve into London’s illegal immigrant community, a toxic media storm, families camped on a riverbank, a shocking car accident and international kidnapping.

In a case gone horribly wrong, Jack races to Mexico, where Nikki struggles for survival. Gruesome evidence and harrowing adventures make your heart pound in five more suspenseful cases in the long-running crime drama series.

In conclusion, 'Silent Witness' is still a very well-written show and I highly recommend it when you get the chance to invest in this long-running British crime series. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.