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Prunes and posses: Individuation and team cohesion in Silent Witness

Khorikian, Anousch


Anousch Khorikian


© Edinburgh University Press. Silent Witness (BBC, 1996-) is a long-running and successful forensic crime drama. Although academic attention to the series has thus far focused on the iconic original protagonist Sam Ryan (Amanda Burton), an intriguing period featuring a team of three protagonists followed her departure in 2004. This article analyses this 'team era' of Silent Witness, suggesting that these later series can use their new team dynamics to dramatise a tension between individualism and communality. Until 2012, Silent Witness developed this team's bond, yet also occasionally created tension between an individual protagonist and the team - disrupting the latter's normative cohesion. To demonstrate this, this article provides a close analysis of character interaction in the team era episode 'Body of Work' (2006, series 10, episodes 5 and 6). While describing the patterns of individuation and team cohesion found therein, it also explores their connection to innovations in aesthetics and cumulative narration and to a wider cultural tension in popular neo-liberal thought. The article then indicates how such innovations have affected the series' potential ideological significance and suggests wider applications of this approach for other post-millennial British television crime teams.


Khorikian, A. (2016). Prunes and posses: Individuation and team cohesion in Silent Witness. Journal of British cinema and television, 13(3), 450-468.

Acceptance Date Mar 1, 2016
Publication Date 2016-06
Deposit Date Jul 21, 2016
Publicly Available Date Jul 21, 2016
Journal Journal of British cinema and television
Print ISSN 1743-4521
Electronic ISSN 1755-1714
Publisher Edinburgh University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Issue 3
Pages 450-468
Keywords 2000s, British crime drama, Individuation, Neo-liberalism, Silent Witness, Teams, Workplace family
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is the author's accepted manuscript of an article published in: Journal of British cinema and television, 2016, v.13 issue 3.


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