Silent Witness celebrated its 25th anniversary this year, and to mark the occasion Amanda Burton, who first appeared in the lead role of pathologist Sam Ryan in 1996, made a surprise return in the Britsh series, which now has a US release date after already airing in the UK.
Amanda appeared as Sam in 54 episodes before leaving the show in 2004.
Talking about her return ahead of the series, Amanda said: "I am so excited to be returning to Silent Witness and stepping back into Sam Ryan’s shoes — with a difference! Audiences can look forward to plenty of twists and turns as they discover what Sam’s been doing since leaving the Lyell."
Emilia Fox, who’s returned as Dr Nikki Alexander, added: "It is such a delight and thrill to be working with Amanda. To have Sam Ryan back again at the heart of the show is the greatest way of all to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Silent Witness."
Here’s everything we know about the series including what's next for Nikki and Jack…
Silent Witness season 25 release date
Silent Witness season 25 will be released on BritBox in the US on Tuesday, July 12.
The series has concluded in the UK however, you can catch up on past series as well as this season on BBC iPlayer.
Who's in the cast?
As well as Emilia Fox and Amanda Burton, David Caves returned as Jack Hodgson. Plus Genesis Lynea is back as Simone Tyler.
Emilia Fox has said she still adored being part of the show: "I love it as much as ever. From day one, I've always said I'll stay as long as I enjoy it, and I still really enjoy it. The audience and I have been through a lot together.
"I never take for granted the privilege of being part of Silent Witness. Now that I'm also an executive producer, I really value it as part of my personal life as much as my professional life. It's had a huge impact on me."
Meanwhile, Genesis Lynea said: "Simone's back story comes back and bites her on the nose. Does she ignore it and shove it under the carpet, or face it even though it really hurts? I'm glad she goes towards the pain. She is replaying incidents from her past which explains who she is today. It's heavy, but it's great that we can do that on Silent Witness."
David Caves has also revealed which episode stood out to him from this series. He said: "There is a great episode set in Belfast. Jack's brother is a loose cannon and he's gone AWOL again. We explore the story of Jack's niece in Belfast.
"It's tricky to talk about without spoiling it, but needless to say, family secrets come out of the closet. The family stuff has been fantastic to play. That's the real heart of the character – without that, it could be rather dry and procedural."
What's the plot?
Well, the big talking point before the series aired was the return of Amanda Burton and of course Nikki and Jack!
Speaking about Nikki and Jack's budding romance ahead of the season, Emilia said: "The kiss begged the question of why these two people who have worked together for so long and love each other and are single were not already having a relationship...
"The lovely thing is that the audience have wanted Jack and Nikki to be together. It's great that they have invested so much in that relationship. We wanted to play Jack and Nikki adapting to the transition and going through ups and downs. That's something the audience will enjoy without putting a label on it. Do they maintain their romance? You'll have to wait and see."
You can read on for recaps of the season 25 episode but warning — there are HUGE spoilers ahead!
What happens in Silent Witness season 25 episode one?
In the first episode of Silent Witness season 25 we saw the Lyell team joining Sam Ryan, although Nikki found herself unsure if she could trust her. The team are figuring out what had happened to the Health Secretary after they were assassinated following the launch of Sam's company.
Meanwhile, Jack and Nikki grow closer after spending the evening in a hotel bar drinking together, before eventually going back to Nikki's hotel room. But Jack keeps complaining about these headaches, which has left fans concerned.
What happens in Silent Witness season 25 episode two?
In the second episode, the team start to make progress with the Health Secretary case as some DNA evidence is found on the bullet casing, and it turns out Nikki has a surprising connection to the suspect.
We learn that the man in question is Tom Faulkner, who is Nikki's ex-husband and the father of their stillborn child, something that Nikki had kept a secret and opened up to about Jack. The loss of their child resulted in their marriage breaking down, and Nikki is willing to give him a chance to prove their innocence.
Meanwhile, Nikki's still suspicious about Sam's involvement in the case, and the audience sees the episode end on a cliffhanger when Sam stole one of the blood samples that Nikki had collected from the assassin's hotel room, before making a call asking to meet with someone on the other end of the phone. But who?!
What happens in Silent Witness season 25 episode three?
Sam was having dinner with her family when she received a message from Tom, before slipping away to hear what he had to say.
We now know that Tom had acted as Sam's security detail in Stockholm, where they both worked for the UN. During this time, a politician had been murdered, with Sam brought in to do the post-mortem.
Upon meeting up, Tom confronted Sam about the vial of blood she had swiped from Nikki. She had collected several samples from the assassins' hotel room but assured Tom she was on his side.
However, Sam's motives remain unclear and there could be some shady goings on dating back to when she worked for the UN, but we'll have to wait and see whether she's trying to right her wrongs or if she's truly villainous.
What happens in Silent Witness season 25 episode four?
As Nikki and Simone investigate a burned body, Jack receives a call telling him that his dad, Conor has collapsed in Belfast.
The news forces him to fly to Belfast, where he makes the devastating discovery that Conor has a heart condition that he never told him about.
Margaret, an old friend of Conor's, tells Jack that the condition is getting worse and Jack soon finds out the real reason as to why his dad was in Belfast — to find Jack's mum, Eleanor, who he believed to be dead.
While Jack goes to fulfil his dad's dying wish for him to meet Eleanor, Jack is forced to tackle buried family secrets and the truth about what happened to his mum and why she made the choices she did.
What happens in Silent Witness season 25 episode five?
Sam has gone missing, and was last spotted on CCTV following journalist Oliver Meehan, who was later found dead outside his flat, but did she have anything to do with his demise? Right now, we have no idea!
There are also rumors that Sam and her husband Jomo Mashaba (Hugh Quarshie) could've used corrupt money to build Unitas Health, which Oliver was investigating, and things got heated when Jomo's son David (Lloyd Everitt) paid him a visit.
The two got into a fight, where David panicked and thought he'd killed Oliver so threw his unconscious body off a balcony which did, of course, kill the journalist. But while David was directly involved, could Sam have been pulling the strings? Right now we don't know.
In the final moments of the episode, David and his wife Fiona has been promised protection if they'd give key information that would lead police in the right direction, but a lorry caused the car to crash and it's unknown if anyone made it out alive.
So it's possible the team has lost a very important lead which might help the case and track down Sam, meaning viewers will have to tune in to find out what's going on in the big finale.
What happens in Silent Witness season 25 episode six?
In the big finale, we learned that Sam Ryan was not actually a bad person and she had gotten herself involved with some shady people instead, which had led fans to suspect her.
Sam's company UNITAS had teamed up with Vigil Networking, and there was some suspicious goings on as boss Ethan Daley needed someone within the government to lobby through the company, and that's where Oscar came in.
It also transpired that Ethan was responsible for the Health Secretary's death in episode one, after discovering she was planning on blocking a contract, and had DNA samples fabricated in the process.
But just when we thought things were wrapped up for good, and with Oscar behind bars, Nikki discovered a mystery phone in her pocket and there was a text from an unknown sender which read: "I can’t let it go. I’m sorry" which means there could be more to this case than meets the eye...
How many episodes is Silent Witness season 25?
Six episodes, so less than the usual 10.
Is there a trailer?
Yes! A full-length trailer is available for the 25th anniversary if you haven't seen it yet.
Not only is Amanda Burton well and truly back as Sam Ryan but the romance between Nikki and Jack is already packed full of drama — have they hit the rocks already?
Plus there is the usual edge-of-your-seat plot twists that we have come to know and love from the series...
Before the main trailer was launched we were treated to a short clip that sees Nikki answering a phone call from... wait for it... Sam Ryan! Yes, Amanda Burton truly is back!
Soon #SilentWitness pic.twitter.com/plRFn2xV4wApril 23, 2022
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David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.
Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years on TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough.
David started out as a writer on TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.
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