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Silk is an excellently written legal drama that's written by someone with actual experience of law and isn't afraid to pull punches for it's complex and interesting characters. During the normal episodes.
And yet when they get to the finales, for two consecutive series, they completely lose the plot and end up with such incredibly poor writing, it's hard to believe it's from the same person. There's nothing else like* Well except when the male lead is snorting cocaine in the first episode and it's _never brought up again_ this in the other 10 episodes, where is it coming from?
It starts with the series 1 finale which has one of the worst cases of Convenient Miscarriage I've ever seen. Convenient Miscarriage is already one of the most horrible tropes there is, if you have a character going through the agony of wondering if they should keep their child, what it might mean for them and the series and your thought is 'well I could just co-opt this incredibly traumatic and horrible event because it makes it easy for me as a writer', slap yourself and go dunk your head in a bucket until the stupid goes away.
But the way it's done here... It's the middle of an important trial, the female lead gets attacked by someone and then runs away distraught. Then we get one shot of her colleagues saying 'She had a miscarriage' and looking a bit sad and then the next thing we see is her rejoining the trial. She looks a bit put out, someone asks if she's all right and then she goes back to work and it's basically never mentioned again. The episode ends with her smiling and looking at the camera.
A miscarriage isn't a frigging nosebleed.
And then the next series finale manges to top that. Martha Costello has been blackmailed into defending one of the most powerful and psychopathic drug lords in the UK. What's she going to do? How can their be a happy solution?
...by getting the leader of organised crime off scott free and exposing the police chief informant within his organisation who'd been undermining his work for years. And then not only are they all happy that they got the drug dealer off on a technicality but they smile and joke about how they're going to enjoy prosecuting the police's informant. WTF?
Being a barrister is an incredibly mentally stressful job. If you prosecute you have to make people out to be the worst people they can people they can be.
And defence? You have to defend the worst people in the world, you have to take witnesses who have lost everything in their lives and tear them apart. If you're too good at your job or the prosecution isn't good enough then a guilty man can work free.
It's horrible and you have to build up your mental barriers. Innocent Until Proven Guilty, even if you feel certain they're guilty. It's not up to you to decide, that's the juries job. You're just presenting the evidence, everyone deserves a defence. Martha Costello is too compassionate, too kind to let it just be about the job or the money. In all her cases she needs to believe what she's doing is right and that getting her defendant the most lenient sentence possible is appropriate. She has to tell herself that they came from a bad background, that the system is against them, that prison will only make things worse, or that policemen have to be kept in line. And after all that she goes home alone, drinks herself to sleep and gets ready for tomorrows case.
That is real heroism. Silk understands that implicitly, that a good person is ruining her life because she lives for the moments when she gets to help someone who deserves it. It's the highest act of nobility. And so generally Silk doesn't soften the blow, not everyone is innocent, not everyone has a happy ending. And that's what makes it great. Maybe there are a few too many times when the police turn out to be bent and everyone was mistaken, but this isn't a bleak show and we couldn't take the burden of seeing all the times when it doesn't turn out for the best. We're not Martha Costello.
And then there's Clive Reader, who is happy with the prestige and the money. Mostly. His vice is falling in love with good women and faking being good so well that their are instances where he almost believes it. Behind his charm we catch glimpses of principle and it's possible that he can slowly find a place where if he can't be a hero, he can at least help.
Silk has so many themes and ideas which is what truly makes it worth watching ... until the season finales.
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