Silk: Season 2

  • As Martha (Maxine Peake) steps up to become a QC, Shoe Lane Chambers once again becomes the focus for drama and intrigue on the front line of criminal law... Martha Costello is incredibly young to have got silk, she is a brilliant and passionate barrister but now the stakes are higher than ever. Tensions are also running high in the chambers, with the still ambitious Clive Reader (Rupert Penry-Jones) having to deal with his failure to become a QC, and Billy Lamb under pressure to keep the chambers afloat. As Martha finds an ambiguous ally in Caroline Warwick, a 50- something, sharp as a stiletto QC, and Clive develops a fascination for a very beautiful and principled solicitor; passion, jealousy and ambition take hold both in and out of the courtroom..

    Martha Costello is a brilliant, passionate defence barrister. Hard working and dedicated, Martha has a reputation for defending the poor and downtrodden, firmly believing all are innocent until proven guilty.

    She’s also now a member of the Queen’s Council – a QC. Which means the stakes are always high. Every trial feels like an Old Bailey case – she’s expected to be very good for every case and if she loses, the defendants will be behind bars for a long time. Martha is very young for Silk – and this is something she’s made to feel. Some other QCs imply that she got Silk because she’s a woman – is there an unspoken quota system to try and make the Bar seem more equal? Meanwhile in chambers Billy’s way of dealing with tough times is to tout for work from solicitor Micky Joy – a man with a reputation for representing some very heavy criminals. Should Martha compromise her principles for the sake of chambers? And in the loneliness of reaching the top of her profession, Martha’s love/hate relationship with Clive seems to be growing more important to her. Is it possible that their feelings for each other could finally lead somewhere or is Clive the one person she should never trust? Smart and classy with sharp, witty dialogue, Silk is a fast-paced drama following the rivalry, tension, passion and intrigue of life on the front line of criminal law..

    Episode 1

    Martha Costello is now a QC, but she learns fast that it can be lonely at the top. At Shoe Lane Chambers times are tough, and senior clerk Billy struggles to keep things afloat while Clive Reader tries to be stoic about his unsuccessful silk application.

    Martha is defending Brendan Kay, a member of one of London’s biggest crime outfits. He’s accused of blinding a man, who allegedly disrespected their ‘number two’. Martha’s job is made harder because Brendan’s solicitor, Micky Joy, is an old school player of the system who walks both sides of the line. Also up against a notorious QC, Caroline Warwick, nicknamed Lady MacBeth, for her uncompromising approach in court, Martha feels herself pulled by the various political forces around her, and realises to win she will need an all or nothing defence. Meanwhile Clive takes on a sensitive case with a new solicitor, George Duggan.

    Episode 2

    Martha is representing Captain Peter Ryan in a Court Martial. He’s accused of disobeying an order, resulting in the death of a 19 year old private. Under the watchful eyes of a distraught family who want answers, Martha navigates the army’s legal system with the help of Captain Cassidy, Ryan’s Unit Defence Officer. Doggedly seeking the truth, Martha slowly peels back the layers of past and present wounds, revealing the shocking reality of modern combat.

    Meanwhile temptation is never far away for Clive, who’s warned by Billy to keep his relationship with George Duggan purely professional.

    Episode 3

    Clive is in Oxford, prosecuting three students accused of sexually assaulting a waitress. Up against intimidating defence counsel, Clive begins to waver, but a chance encounter with an old friend helps him discover a passion for prosecuting he didn’t know he had. When the case is in danger of collapsing, Clive is faced with one of the biggest decisions of his career.

    Martha is defending Ricky Armitage who trashed his local mini-mart and attacked the shopkeeper. His level of violence and lack of remorse is astounding, yet Martha tries to divert the self- destructive path that Ricky was fated to walk.

    Episode 4

    In a David and Goliath battle Martha represents the driver of a high security prison van. When some of his prisoners escape, Michael Ward opens the doors of his van to find another dead. With Ward and the security firm accused of causing the prisoner’s death, Martha fights to make Ward stand up for himself, lest he becomes the fall guy.

    Chambers take on a new pupil, Daniel Lomas, who helps Martha unlock her client. Clive meanwhile is struggling to get through to Fatima Ali, and Billy, still feeling the pressure from Micky, starts to uncover hidden truths about Caroline Warwick.

    Episode 5

    At the Supreme Court Martha is representing Jackson Henderson in a death row case. Against a ticking clock and with Billy breathing down her neck, Martha faces the toughest legal argument of her career.

    Clive increasingly feels that he’s not the right barrister for Fatima Ali and at the risk of losing George, persuades Martha to take the brief, conveniently leaving him free to prosecute Jody Farr.

    Martha knows unless Fatima speaks up for herself, the truth won’t surface. Just as she thinks the case is lost, Martha is offered a deal with the Devil in return for Fatima’s freedom.

    Episode 6

    Reluctantly representing Jody Farr, Martha will do her job, but she won’t allow him or Micky to get under her skin. Fighting shifting power plays and an untenable defence she begins to feel that Jody isn’t getting a fair trial and suspects foul play. Setting a dangerous trap, can Martha uncover the unbelievable truth?

    The date of his tribunal looming, Clive focuses all his efforts on prosecuting Jody Farr, despite the apparent lack of support from Caroline Warwick. In the face of an uncertain future, Billy finds himself trapped by Micky Joy and loyalties are stretched to breaking point.


    Starring Maxine Peake (Criminal Justice II, Little Dorrit), Rupert Penry-Jones (Spooks, Whitechapel), Neil Stuke (The Bill, Game On), Alex Jennings (Cranford, The State Within), Indira Varma (Luther, Rome), Phil Davis (Whitechapel, Bleak House), Frances Barber (The Street, Funland)