Nikki in Silent Witness: Does she have children and how does the 2023 season of the intense drama hint at her heart-breaking past?

If you love Nikki in Silent Witness you might be wondering more about her backstory after she had a special moment in the latest season

Nikki in Silent Witness played by Emilia Fox
(Image credit: BBC/Dan Kennedy)

Nikki in Silent Witness had a subtle moment with Jack in season 26 that might well have got fans wondering about her past. 

Having been main cast member the BBC drama since 2004, it just wouldn’t be the same without the brilliant Emilia Fox as pathologist Nikki in Silent Witness. She’s been through plenty of ups and downs, from her difficult upbringing with her father Victor Alexander to finally getting together with Jack Hodgson. Now the latest series has seen her bond with newcomers Gabriel and Velvy in Silent Witness and if you’ve raced ahead and watched Silent Witness season 26's Star Part 2, on BBC iPlayer you'd have seen her expertly help deliver a detective's baby in the Lyell Center. 

But does Nikki in Silent Witness have children herself, how does her tragic past come up in the new season and who was her ex-husband? We reveal what you need to know about part of her devastating backstory.

*Warning: spoilers and potentially upsetting ahead*

Dr Nikki Alexander (EMILIA FOX)

(Image credit: Dan Kennedy)

Does Nikki in Silent Witness have children?

Known for her immense empathy for children who have been affected by the crimes she helps to solve, it’s perhaps only natural to wonder whether Nikki in Silent Witness has children, though the answer is incredibly heart-breaking. In the anniversary season, which came two years after the departure of Thomas and Clarissa in Silent Witness, Nikki revealed that she and her ex-husband Tom Faulker had a child who was stillborn at 8 months. 

Tom Faulkner in Silent Witness played by Matthew Gravelle and Emilia Fox as Nikki Alexander

(Image credit: BBC)

The couple had been excitedly looking forward to welcoming a new addition to their family, with Tom eagerly heading out for spaghetti hoops to satisfy Nikki’s pregnancy cravings. Their happy relationship later fractured under the devastation they felt when they lost their child.

After keeping this tragedy to herself since Silent Witness began, the pathologist poured her heart out to Jack Hodgson in History Part 2. She explained that she’d spent her 21st birthday in hospital and that whilst Tom had hoped to move through their grief together, it wasn’t right for her.

“When I got out I knew it was over with Tom,” she told Jack. “I just wanted to be on my own and start again.” 

Jack Hodgson (DAVID CAVES) & Dr Nikki Alexander (EMILIA FOX)

(Image credit: BBC/David Emery)

Sharing her deeply personal history with Jack brought them closer together, perhaps paving the way for the relationship between Nikki and Jack in Silent Witness to become fully official. The loss her child hasn’t been brought up in detail in this way again, though it could be seen to have been hinted at during a poignant moment featuring Nikki in Silent Witness.  

How does Nikki’s past affect the new season of Silent Witness? 

Die-hard Silent Witness fans who just can’t wait to watch each part of the new episodes on consecutive nights can head straight to BBC iPlayer where two new episodes are made available each week. And if you’ve already seen both parts of the latest instalment cryptically entitled Star, you’ll know that Nikki’s past came up in Silent Witness. Blink and you might have missed the significant look Jack gave the pathologist as the pair helped the episode’s detective, DI Zari Abbas after she went into labour at the Lyell Center.

DI Zari Abbas (MEENA RAYANN)

(Image credit: BBC Studios)

Believing that contractions were Braxton Hicks for hours on end and with her waters broken, it was Velvy who was tasked with calling an ambulance whilst Nikki talked Zari though her birth and Jack helped her. As she instructed the detective on how to breathe and position herself as she experienced contractions, Zari exclaimed, “You sound like you’ve done this before. I thought you said you didn’t have kids”. 

It was then that an anxious Jack gave Nikki a brief look whilst she moved on swiftly, determined to deliver Zari’s baby safely in the Lyell Center morgue, no less. Knowing Nikki as we do by now it was no surprise that the birth went smoothly and her little girl was presented to her exhausted but delighted mother.

Nikki Alexander (EMILIA FOX); Jack Hodgson (DAVID CAVES)

(Image credit: BBC Studios)

After the birth when paramedics had taken Zari and her daughter to hospital, Jack spoke with Nikki privately. The forensic scientist asked his girlfriend meaningfully if she was “OK”, to which she quickly replied that she was. He then asked her again, placing special emphasis on the question and reaching for her hand. Though she didn’t discuss it further, the pathologist confirmed she “knew what [he] meant” and that she really *was* fine. 

Although they don’t explicitly state it, Jack’s knowledge of what Nikki had been through during her marriage and the loss of her child hangs unsaid in the air between them. It’s something that fans of Silent Witness might well have picked up on and which highlights the closeness of the couple’s relationship as he was the first person she told at the Lyell about her past.

Who was Nikki’s ex-husband? 

If you’re a long-time Nikki-and-Jack fan who’d been dreaming of the ultimate forensic power couple *finally* getting together, the introduction of Tom Faulkner in Silent Witness might have got you worried when he was revealed as Dr Nikki Alexander’s ex-husband. He is a private security officer who used to serve in the military played by Manhunt: The Night Stalker actor Matthew Gravelle. 

He first appeared in the BBC drama in season 25 and hasn’t appeared since, even though the Silent Witness finale teased some potential directions Tom’s story could be taken. 

Silent Witness starring Matthew Gravelle

(Image credit: BBC)

After the criminal responsible for the season’s murders (not to mention framing Tom for them) was apprehended, Tom was last seen entering his cell as his “lawyer”, presumably to kill him. Nikki received a text immediately afterwards from a phone that had been planted on her that just read, “I can’t let it go. I’m sorry”. 

Since then, Tom hasn’t come up again and if he did commit murder he’s likely on the run and probably won’t see Nikki in Silent Witness again.

Silent Witness airs at 9pm on BBC One on Mondays and Tuesdays, with episodes released each week on BBC iPlayer. Star Part 2 will air on Wednesday January 18 due to rescheduling for the FA Cup. 

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with six years of experience working in digital publishing. Her specialist areas including literature, the British Royal Family and knowing all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and every streaming service out there. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, you can find Emma cooking and watching yet more crime dramas.