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Martha Costello is a brilliant, passionate defense lawyer with a reputation for defending the poor and downtrodden. She is about to apply to become a member of the highly prestigious Queen's Counsel, but joining Martha is Clive Reader; charming, funny, gifted and dangerous. Only one is likely to be made QC, and Clive knows exactly how to play the game. Featuring Natalie Dormer ("Game of Thrones").
Maxine PeakeRupert Penry-JonesNatalie Dormer
English [CC]
Audio languages

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  1. 1. Episode 1
    February 22, 2011
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    Having just won an important case, Martha is given two new cases for the next day, with a chance of getting a good reference for her Silk application. Under huge time pressure, Martha has to prepare overnight. But will she be able to satisfy both the personal and the professional demands placed on her? Or will she be forced to sacrifice one case in order to win the other?
  2. 2. Episode 2
    March 1, 2011
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    In an effort to boost her Silk application, Martha accepts a rape case, against her better judgment. Even worse, Clive is prosecuting her client and delights in riling Martha. As the case draws to a close, Martha begins to realize that things are not always black and white, especially when she makes a startling discovery.
  3. 3. Episode 3
    March 8, 2011
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    Martha defends a vulnerable teenager and the pupils are given their first opportunity to stand up in court, taking on a low-level magistrates' court case. However, as the cases progress, both Martha and Nick find themselves in challenging positions. Can Martha save her client without endangering not only her silk application, but also her career?
  4. 4. Episode 4
    March 15, 2011
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    Martha is forced to defend a police officer accused of racism at the police tribunal while also trying to get bail for another client. In the meantime, pressure increases on the pupils as the tenancy deadline draws near. And Clive receives some astonishing news which could change not only his personal life, but life at chambers for everyone.
  5. 5. Episode 5
    March 22, 2011
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    Martha prosecutes a teacher accused of assaulting a pupil, but believes he is on too serious a charge and is not being properly defended by her colleague, Noah. Meanwhile, Nick takes on his first major case, and both Martha and Clive have their Silk interviews. Will Martha be able to ensure a fair trial for the teacher and still succeed in her interview?
  6. 6. Episode 6
    March 29, 2011
    English [CC]
    Audio languages
    Martha takes on the biggest case of her life, defending Mark Draper, a repeat offender on a murder charge at the Old Bailey. However, when the case starts to fall apart, Martha must try to remain focused on the trial as both personal and private pressures escalate. Meanwhile, it is decision time for the pupils, and the fate of chambers hangs in the balance.

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Michael Offer
Supporting actors
Neil StukeTom HughesNina Sosanya
Cameron RoachHilary Salmon
Season year
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Smokingalcohol usefoul languagesexual contentviolence
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4.5 out of 5 stars

311 global ratings

  1. 74% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 14% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 4% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 2% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 6% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

steve smallReviewed in the United States on February 26, 2020
1.0 out of 5 stars
DVD Region Code!!!
Verified purchase
Total waste of money ... DVD origin was evidentially in Britain and contained a region code that a typical North American DVD player is unable to play. Beware of this ... I had no idea and of course am unable to view these DVDs.
I am guessing the seller should have known this and warned prior to purchase. Not sure why I am required to give at least one star ...

I am not happy.
5 people found this helpful
PatBReviewed in the United States on October 2, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
Great series, but remember this product is not for ...
Verified purchase
Great series, but remember this product is not for U.S. DVD players. You can use it on your computer but you need to reset it for playing European DVDs and you can only reset 5 times, so better to have a separate computer that you can leave on this setting.
16 people found this helpful
Walter ProchorenkoReviewed in the United States on November 21, 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
Great stuff.
Verified purchase
Great stuff.
7 people found this helpful
Elizabeth WoodburnReviewed in the United States on July 23, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Thoroughly enjoyed this well-written legal drama
This show is about a group of barristers trying cases on both sides of the law--representing criminals and representing the Crown. The stories follow the cases and the relationships between the barristers and the people they work with. It's beautifully written, directed and filmed, with complex characters. You might enjoy this if you liked The Good Wife. Maxine Peake gives a stellar performance in the lead role, but the entire cast is strong. I also have to give a shout-out to Neil Stuke, who plays "Billy." Binged all the seasons and wished there were more. Perhaps that's all they wanted to do. They did tie off the ending, after a fashion.
17 people found this helpful
KyaraReviewed in the United States on December 27, 2018
2.0 out of 5 stars
Sloppy writing
The plot is often poorly conceived and the writing is careless. To begin with every main female character in the show is emotionally fragile, though the word used (over and over and over ) is "vulnerable." Comes down to the same thing. Please sloppy BBC writers learn to depict women as complex characters rather than a bunch of stereotypes. Every stereotype from the virgin to the whore is there. The shy, introverted & misguided young Asian woman, the frightened Muslim woman abused by her own family, the angry black woman (see Kate in season 1--she disappears without explanation in season 2, we get one line telling us she's gone but not why) are the cherry on the trite cake. For a while Harriet seems to be different but at the end of season 3 she ends up doing exactly what Billy had sneeringly accused her of.

Then there is the slapping. Every main character gets slapped by someone at some point or another in the show. If people slapped each other in the real world as often as they are depicted to do so in British shows half the population would be jailed for assault. As far as I'm concerned slapping is the lazy shortcut taken by writers who can't be bothered to find the right words to depict a complex emotion. A dead ringer for low budget productions.

The lack of imagination doesn't stop here. Most episodes have story lines that either don't make sense or fall apart if you have a decent attention span. [***Spoiler alert -- If you haven't watched the show and think you might want to, stop reading]. Take for example the terrorist episode in season 3. Martha defends an alleged terrorist accused of hacking into the Univ. of Arizona computers to download their security plans so two terrorist brothers can blow up a building on campus. What security plans? The campus is an open public space and there are downloadable maps online so what exactly did that alleged terrorist hack into? The other absurd plot line is that Martha wins the case by arguing that Rashid should not be extradited on psychological grounds, i.e. he threatened to kill himself therefore he's too unwell to be interrogated by intelligence agents. So, he is free to go home. Huh? Hilarious doesn't begin to cover it. If his involvement is proven (as it is) he'd be extradited, period. Besides, why does he have to be extradited just to be questioned? Why can't he be questioned in London? And why does it have to be the Americans who question him? Why can't the MI5 do it? If he is a psychologically frail terrorist, why isn't he sent to a medical facility in Britain? Poor conceptualization from beginning to end.

In the final episode Martha's ex-boyfriend stands trial for murder. A jacket is discovered at the 11th hour with some blood on the sleeve. The defendant explains that he touched the body after the victim was killed. For everyone else in the courtroom (except Martha) the blood on the sleeve is evidence that he committed the murder. The jury consequently finds him guilty. Pleeaaase! Treat the audience with some respect for their intelligence. Is there spatter on the sleeve? If there is, the defendant was in the room with the victim at the time of the shooting. Moreover, forensic analysts can establish the velocity of that spatter and the defendant's distance to the victim when the latter was murdered. But no, we're expected to believe nobody in that courtroom has ever heard of forensic science. Martha can't figure out what to do with the blood stain (as if it were her job to figure out anything about it), she loses the case and has some sort of nervous breakdown. This is just bad writing and poor research.

The Micky Joy story makes little sense, too. In season 2 he is an interesting character but he crumbles quickly in season 3. To begin with, you'd think an informant of his level would be sunning himself in Mauritius or some other nice island instead of rotting away in police custody (jail it would appear at the beginning of season 3, though it isn't clear) for actually helping the police. He even tells us that he can't get any vitamin D (i.e., sun). If he is that important he'd be in some sort of witness protection program far from the reach of London gangsters. If he's jailed because he betrayed his client, well that's what informants do. If jailed because he lied under oath then all the other police officers who did the same should be jailed right next to him. But wait there's more. In season 2 he is an informant against the Farr family who, we are told, is the most vicious organized crime family in London. In season 3 however they simply disappear. Instead it is the Monk family who is the vicious Mafia-like organization and it's they who supposedly kill him. Huh? What's his connection to the Monk family? And why is Micky all of a sudden able to roam the streets at night? Clearly these BBC writers had no idea how to develop a gangster story.

The Billy harassment story is silly, too. Harassment (sexual or otherwise) is defined as enduring, severe or pervasive conduct that creates a hostile working environment. A single incident is not an environment. And Billy, who is a clerk (senior or not) really doesn't have enough power to guarantee the hiring of a barrister. If there is anything severe, pervasive and enduring in his conduct it's his bullying. In this show he bullies Kate, Clive (season 1), Harriet, Jake, John, you name it. The only two characters he doesn't bully are Martha and Alan. The fact that he calls all women (even Martha) "Doris" is offensive. So, I'd say his behavior qualifies as harassment but not for what is portrayed in the show (i.e., touching a young woman's knee once).

And, by the way, has anyone ever been in a work environment where everybody from the CEO (head of chambers in this case) to the support staff gets a vote (equal and open) on whom the company should hire? Really? The only place that comes close to this are some academic departments but they are few and far between (most university colleges have hiring committees) and even those departments invite only the faculty to vote. Secretaries (or clerks) might get a say but seldom an equal, open vote. Plus, the hiring process differs in season 1 vs season 3. In season 1 Alan has a private discussion behind closed doors with Clive and Martha about which of the two pupils they should hire. When Clive and Martha disagree, Alan (and Alan alone as head of chambers) decides to have a mock trial performance where each pupil gets 5 minutes to prepare a defense on a given case. The reason is that Alan needs to see them in action so he can make a decision. In season 3 there's just a vote and the only ones who've seen the candidate argue a case (in a real courtroom now) are CW, Clive and presumably Martha. There's little cohesion here.

In conclusion, I've seen worse shows and I've seen far better ones. Watch "Silk" if you must (season 1 is the best, season 3 the worst) but don't say you haven't been warned.
14 people found this helpful
QandAguyReviewed in the United States on August 6, 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
Great leading lady holds it all together
Is this the perfect show? No. I loved the season-long storylines of Line of Duty but for a more compact plot line it is hard have a harsh word for this show. The lead is Martha, a defense attorney who is the hard-working star of her "chambers." The toughest cases go to her and, to the show's credit, she doesn't always win but she works to find a story that at least results in a lesser sentence for her client.

Her office is filled with entertaining characters. Yes, Clive, is the almost stereotypical womanizer - there's your one star deduction. But aside from that the cast is great including the short-term characters they seem to bring on each season. As with many British shows there is very smart humor, plots that are never one-dimensional and characters that are always flawed- even the hero or heroine. But the art is not going too far as so many shows do. If there is a message being communicated it is seldom the pound you over the head approach you so often see on TV (an example would be the episode that looked at how the justice system treated people differently mostly based on socioeconomic status). Apparently the UK isn't perfect either. Who knew!!

Really the only challenge is taking the the time to figure out how the system works. There is a fair amount of legal jargon. You can always figure out what they mean in the end but you can see the slight disconnect versus watching a US show where the system is more familiar. One example is just the chambers system itself. So there are these litigators who work with the lawyers (solicitors) to represent clients in court but are not their attorneys??? None of this will stop you from enjoying the show but I have found myself Googling terminology to make sure I understood what they meant without having to wait to see how it plays out. Oh, poor me, I have to exert some effort for a great show.

If you want to truly see what sets it apart versus most US shows is the strength of the female lead. She is such a great character (and I assume then a great actress to bring it all to life)

Check it out.
2 people found this helpful
BeverleeCReviewed in the United States on September 21, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
One of the BEST on Amazon or NetFlix.
It's smart, fascinating, intelligent, addicting....and in a few months I may even watch it again.

GREAT writing, acting and information on the workings/drama of British Legal System....each episode is so well done, I recommend it to everyone.
13 people found this helpful
GorgeGalReviewed in the United States on December 15, 2017
3.0 out of 5 stars
Three Stars
Verified purchase
Did not see a Non-USA notice in the description.
So he’s getting a sweater for Xmas instead.
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