By Emma Shacklock published
Silent Witness Shadows might have aired over ten years ago but it seems the traumatic events of this iconic episode have returned to haunt our favorite characters in season 24 as the new series premiered.
From the moment we heard that Silent Witness 2021 was imminent, excitement has been building to see just what lies in store for remaining main cast members Dr Nikki Alexander and Jack Hodgson. Fans of dark twists like those in fellow BBC drama Vigil and Hulu's Nine Perfect Strangers won't have been left disappointed by the first episode, entitled Redemption Part 1. Still feeling the absence of their colleagues Clarissa Mullery and Thomas Chamberlain after the events of the emotional season 23 finale, Nikki and Jack are investigating a suspicious death in a prison.
And long-time Silent Witness viewers will soon have recognized a very ominous figure. Silent Witness Shadows made up two chilling episodes in series 13 which aired back in 2010. Now Silent Witness season 24 has harked back to this with the return of one of the show’s most manipulative villains.
But what happened in Silent Witness Shadows, how is it linked to season 24 and who does Elliott Tittensor play?
*Warning: spoilers ahead!*
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What happened in Silent Witness 'Shadows'?
In Silent Witness Shadows former main cast member Leo Dalton liaises with the Dean and investigating officer after a student, Jason, takes his own life on the university campus where the Lyell Center is and is found to have been a victim of bullying.
Concerns soon mount as a gun and ammunition are discovered in Jason’s locker and a memory card is found in his stomach containing photos of his tormentors. It’s not long afterwards that one of the main buildings is taken over by a mystery shooter, with Dr Nikki Alexander and former main cast member Harry Cunningham trapped inside.
A horrified Leo watches via the university’s CCTV as Harry and Nikki attempt to help those who have been wounded in the attack. Specialist firearms officers later storm the building and find student Scott Weston lying injured on the floor.
In Part 2, Harry stays to help the paramedic who is tending to Scott whilst Nikki returns to the Lyell only to be terrified after finding student Neil at the lab.
As Leo determines that there were likely two guns used in the shooting, Nikki finds herself with a gun pointed right at her by Neil, unbeknownst to her colleagues. It’s only as Neil starts to confide in Nikki, however, that she realizes he has been an unwilling accomplice in a horrific masterplan which would see the whole university blown up by make-shift explosives.
Admitting that he and Jason—who did not actually take his own life, but was callously murdered by Scott—were in love, Neil is about to lower his weapon when he is shot by firearms officers believing he’s still threatening Nikki.
She manages to alert the authorities whilst Harry determines the positioning of the make-shift bomb, which Jason sabotaged before his death. Scott, still being treated in the ambulance, is ultimately revealed as the mastermind behind the shooting and the bomb plot. Though he continues to blame Jason and Neil for the crime, the authorities have seen through his lies.
How is Shadows linked to Silent Witness season 24?
It might seem as though the storyline of Silent Witness Shadows couldn’t be further removed from the events of Silent Witness season 24, with over ten years separating each of the spellbinding seasons. However, Silent Witness has a brilliant way of interweaving past cases with present events and this is certainly the case with season 24’s first, Redemption. The new series premiered on BBC One on September 6, with Nikki and Jack called to the fictional Hayworth Prison after the body of prisoner Jay Selwyn was discovered in the prison fridge after a fight had broken out.
From our sofa to yours... tonight's the night! #silentwitness returns at 9pm on @BBCOne. See you there Fox! @EmiliaFox pic.twitter.com/78mvUK9ZljSeptember 6, 2021
Walking to the crime scene, viewers got the first hint that something was not quite right as the usually confident Nikki appeared to be unnerved after catching a glimpse of another prisoner watching from the walkway above her.
It’s only later, after the investigating officer, DI Dan Mason, asks Nikki to take a DNA sample from the prisoner that his name is revealed to be Scott Weston. Upon hearing the name, Nikki’s startled reaction is then intercut with flashbacks to Silent Witness Shadows, where she was trapped at the university during Scott’s shooting.
After making the connection, the ever-professional Nikki goes to take the DNA sample from Scott, who was Jay’s cell-mate and supposed friend inside the prison. Whilst the mass murderer doesn’t explicitly state he remembers Nikki from back in 2010, the intense look he gives her chillingly implies he does.
After leaving Scott behind in his cell, Nikki returns to the Lyell Center to carry out Jay’s Post Mortem and goes on to discover he’d likely been assaulted or in a fight prior to dying in the fridge. But it’s shown to have been deeply affected by her meeting with Scott. The pathologist later admits as much to Jack, after he questions where he’d heard the criminal's name before.
Refusing to remove herself from the case, Nikki continues to seek the truth in the Jay Selwyn case. However, it seems Silent Witness Shadows has even more of a connection to Redemption than the return of one character. Alongside her investigation, Nikki is beseeched by Scott’s mother Pamela to help give evidence to prevent his upcoming appeal going ahead.
This is something that she subsequently is able to do after one of Scott’s fingerprints is found in Jay’s blood in the prison yard and his shoe is matched to a bruise on Jay’s torso. Believing that the assault contributed to Jay’s death, Nikki presents her evidence at the case review hearing, which rules against making a decision about the appeal until her new evidence is fully looked at.
Furious, Scott begins shouting in Nikki’s direction, demanding to know what the pathologist has said and aggressively declaring, “You’re a liar! Liar! I have done nothing!”
As Redemption Part 1 drew to its dramatic conclusion, however, it emerged that Nikki was wrong after all. Jay had actually died of an allergic reaction, not as a result of the fight prior to his death.
Looking horrified, things then take an even darker turn for Nikki as she and Jack are called to the house of Scott’s mother Pamela which had been set on fire, a woman’s burnt body lying on the bed upstairs. It's not yet clear whether this is indeed Pamela or who could have done this to her, though Scott was previously shown to be annoyed that she wasn't prepared to support his appeal.
Whilst viewers saw Pamela receive a visit from Scott's girlfriend on the outside, Paisley, before the fire after he persuaded her to try and convince Pamela that Scott had changed. With so much left unknown, we can hardly wait to see how Scott and Nikki's storyline will be resolved in the heart-stopping next episode...
Who did Elliott Tittensor play in Silent Witness Shadows?
Elliott Tittensor played Scott Weston in Silent Witness Shadows and has taken up the mantle of playing the manipulative killer again in Silent Witness Redemption. Eleven years since he last starred in Silent Witness, some fans might not have instantly recognized Elliott in season 24, though they're perhaps unlikely to forget him now. For the return of Scott, the talented actor has grown facial hair and has long, styled hair as opposed to his short hair in Shadows.
Though fans of thrillers such as Behind Her Eyes might love Elliott's unsettling portrayal of Scott Weston in Silent Witness, he is perhaps best known in the UK for his portrayal of Carl Gallagher in Channel 4's comedy-drama series, Shameless. In recent years he has also appeared as Highlander 2 in the 2017 historical film, Dunkirk, and 2014 TV mini-series, Chasing Shadows, as John Meadows.
How many Silent Witness episodes will Scott Weston be in?
It’s thought that Scott Weston will only be appearing in two episodes of Silent Witness season 24. Though this has not been officially confirmed, each storyline in Silent Witness is split across two parts and his plotline is already underway in Redemption. This makes it very likely that Redemption Part 2 will draw this character’s plot to an end, whether good or bad for the ultimate villain.
Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean that this will be the last viewers hear or see of Scott Weston in Silent Witness, unless of course his death is incorporated into Redemption Part 2.
After being caught up in the shooting in Silent Witness Shadows and then seeing Scott again in season 24, Nikki could well continue to have flashbacks from events in both Shadows and Redemption, or make reference to him as the new series continues and she comes to terms with what's happened.
Until then, we'll just have to wait and see whether any other sinister elements from Silent Witness Shadows could come into play in Redemption Part 2.
Silent Witness is broadcast on Mondays and Tuesdays on BBC One at 9pm.
Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with five years experience working in digital publishing, ranging from book publishing to magazines. She currently looks after all things Lifestyle for Woman&Home, GoodToKnow and My Imperfect Life.
Before she joined Future Publishing, Emma graduated from the University of Warwick with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Comparative Literary Studies. After leaving education, she started out her publishing career in the world of books, working as a Publisher for an independent digital publisher specializing in back-list and debut commercial fiction novels. With a huge book list and a passion for bringing the best stories to the broadest audience possible, Emma filled her spare time with reading the latest best-sellers and catching up on hit adaptations.
In 2017 she joined TI Media as a fiction writing coordinator on Woman’s Weekly and Woman’s Weekly Fiction as part of the features team. From here, she used her love of books, working to bring short stories to our dedicated readers and began writing for the books pages of Woman, Woman’s Own and Woman&Home, as well as online features ranging from genre round-ups to travel pieces for womanandhome.com.
After honing her skills, Emma branched out online in 2020 when Future gave her the opportunity to focus on digital-first. When she’s not writing about the next big lifestyle trend, she enjoys cooking, long walks and watching as many crime dramas as she can!
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