tue 30/09/2014

Silk, Series 2 Finale, BBC One | TV reviews, news & interviews

Silk, Series 2 Finale, BBC One

Shock, trauma and tragedy in concluding episode of Peter Moffat's drama

Billy Lamb (Neil Stuke) and Martha Costello (Maxine Peake) explore the dark side of the law

And so we came to episode six, where all the plotlines that have been hovering like vultures since the opener came screaming down to beat the closing deadline. Would Clive Reader's career be terminated by the Bar Standards Board? How would Martha Costello cope with being manoeuvred into defending the evil Jody Farr? Could Shoe Lane Chambers ever prise themselves loose from the malign tentacles of solicitor Micky Joy?

All this and more was duly resolved, in an episode that gripped ferociously from the opening seconds and hauled us over some scorching dramatic coals. Silk is almost unfailingly watchable, though whether its careering plot twists and outrageous behaviour by scions of our august legal system bear much resemblance to reality I wouldn't know. Do barristers really drink and smoke even more than the cast of Mad Men? Whatever, this episode punched hard and hit where it hurts, and plumbed some harrowing personal and professional depths.

Apart from anything else, the degree of cynicism about the law and law enforcement expressed through Peter Moffat's script was frequently breathtaking. "Every police officer's born bent," snarled Micky Joy (possibly the greatest milestone yet in Phil Davis's career of evil). "It's always personal." And so it proved as the action developed, with the cops squarely in the frame for fitting up the despicable Farr (Finbar Lynch). Then again, if there was ever anyone who deserved fitting up... (Phil Davis, pictured right).

But it's not as if police corruption is entirely new on TV. A legal profession rotten to the core with gross moral turpitude, on the other hand, is not quite so routine. As Silk has progressed, Clive Reader (Rupert Penry-Jones) has proved to be a bit of a choirboy - albeit one with a borderline sex addiction - with an Old Harrovian's commitment to playing up and playing the game, when in series one Moffat seemed to be lining him up as an absolute rotter with the morals of a spin doctor. Maxine Peake's Martha Costello is unswerving in her dedication to defending her clients to the bitter end.

Billy has sold his soul to the mephistophelian Micky Joy for brown envelopes stuffed with used notes

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The whole series of Silk, to

The whole series of Silk, to me, was riveting TV, probably the best series I have ever seen on TV. The final episode on Series 2 was a stunning culmination to a fantastic series. I watched it on the iview replay four times and each time got something new from it. It was so very true to human nature, sure. But to me it was much more than that. It showed Martha Costello, brilliant barrister that she is, rise above the tactics and grubby dealings of her world to see the frail humanity in others, even those that she would have every reason to despise. Her final scenes with Billy and Micky Joy were inspiring. Truly great drama.

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