|Series 1, Episodes 1 & 2|
|Air date|| 21 February 1996|
22 February 1996
|Written by||Kevin Hood|
|Directed by||Harry Hook|
|Produced by||Tony Dennis|
|Executive producer||Caroline Oulton|
Long Days, Short Nights
Buried Lies, parts one and two, are the first two episodes to air in the first series of Silent Witness, and the first two episodes to air overall in the show. The episodes aired as following:
- Buried Lies - Part One on 21 February 1996,
- Buried Lies - Part Two on 22 February 1996.
It is followed by episodes three and four: "Long Days, Short Nights".
Marion Wallace walks into the visiting room of the police station and over to her visitor, son Michael Wallace. One of her prison inmates asks her during her conversation with Michael if she is planning to kill him next. In an open field next to a river, Dean Crew swings back and forth over the river from a rope swing attached to a tree. His sister, Sarah, walks over to tree and he disappears. Gary and Ronnie begin having sex behind Gary's van, unaware that Sarah has walked over to the van and seen them having sex whilst looking underneath the van at them. She then screams out for her mother after falling into the river. Ronnie is furious with Sarah and calls her a bitch, telling her she ruins everything before dragging her by her hands back to the van.
Dr. Sam Ryan is giving a lecture of a group of university students about forensic pathology. Afterwards, her and fellow forensic pathologist and business partner Trevor Stuart go to the pub to meet Trevor's pregnant wife, Jenny. Jenny is in a bad mood after stating there are no tables in the pub and that it is too noisy. Then, Trevor's phone goes off: a forensic pathologist is needed at the scene of a crime. Sam tells Trevor she will go, and heads to the scene of the crime. The scene is the open field which Dean, Gary, Ronnie and Sarah were at for their day out. A six-year-old girl's body has been pulled from the river, found by a fisherman just a few yards away from the rope swing. Sam begins taking temperatures of the body and the surroundings, before getting it back to the mortuary. As they go to remove the body, a policeman recognises the deceased, and agrees to tell the connecting family the news.
Ronnie questions where Sarah is when she does not return home from school. Gary returns home from work and asks where Sarah is, stating she hasn't been at school all day. Then, the police arrive at the house and inform Ronnie and Gary of a child's body having been found in the river. The family go to the mortuary and Gary identifies Sarah - he confirms to Ronnie that it is indeed her daughter who has died. Detective inspector Tom Adams comments on Gary's relationship with Sarah, confirming he is not her biological father but has known her for four years from his relationship with Ronnie.
Sam performs an autopsy on Sarah, and her suspicions are aroused when she notices scar tissue on Sarah's inner thigh from cigarette burns. She is also concerned by the discovery of broken ribs from Sarah and suspicious bruising. She asks for an x-ray to be carried out. After finishing her shift, Sam visits her mother, Beryl, and sister, Wyn, at Beryl's house. Beryl is suffering from early onset dementia, and Sam's relationship with Wyn is strained. The next day, Tom discusses the case with his superior, detective superintendent (DS) Farmer. DS Farmer questions Tom on how far he has gotten with the case, and is surprised to hear the investigation is being treated as a potentially suspicious death. Tom then visits Sam and receives her pathology report. The death has been classified as unascertained. Tom is unimpressed with Sam's conclusion, and queries her on it. Sam states that she cannot assume that Sarah was drowned as there was no water found in her lungs and no frothing at the mouth - both common signs of drowning. Sam tells Tom that it is a possibility that Sarah was suffocated and then thrown into the river, and that she will not rule that consideration out.
At the prison, the prisoners have the TV on in the social room. Gary and Ronnie are talking to the media about Sarah's death. Marion listens in, and walks forward when she realises who is on-screen. She is then grabbed by a mob of the prisoners and pinned down as boiling water is poured on her arm. At the pathology lab, Sam prepares for the coroner's hearing the next day. That night, she lies awake, thinking about the case. The next day in the coroner court, Sam tells the coroner that she is dissatisfied with the current circumstances surrounding Sarah's death death, and whilst cold water shock may have killed Sarah, she will not rule out the possibility of suffocation, which would give the same appearance as someone who suffered dry lung drowning from cold water shock. Sam adds that the unreported broken ribs and old wounds arouse her suspicions too, and that she does not believe the death to be accidental. The coroner asks Sam if the police investigating are aware of her suspicions, and she says they are. Tom is annoyed by Sam's verdict given the lack of evidence to prove someone killed Sarah.
Back at the prison, Marion overhears a TV reporter on the news state that Sam is investigating the case. She gets in contact with Sam and asks her to visit her at the station. Sam asks Trevor who Marion is, and Trevor tells her she's a child murderer. Sam arrives at the prison and talks to Marion. Marion reveals to Sam that she was once in a relationship with Gary, and that he used to be violent towards her daughter, and when her daughter would cry, he would violently shake her. Sam learns that Gary murdered Marion's daughter and she took the blame because Gary told her to. Marion does confess to drugging her daughter, but only to try and stop her crying so that she would not be abused by Gary. After school, Dean is picked up by Gary. Gary sees Marion's son, Michael, and gives him an intimidating look before driving off. Michael informs Marion of what Gary has done, and a scared Marion tells Sam that she was lying and it was actually her who killed her daughter. Sam refuses to believe Marion and continues the investigation by asking Tom and DS Farmer if they can get permission to exhume the body. The Home Office grant permission and Marion's daughter's grave is dug up. Sam performs a second autopsy on the body and identifies similar injuries to the ones Sarah sustained. She informs Tom of her discovery, and Tom vows to find Gary and bring him down. He heads to the local pub where Gary drinks and torment Gary in the toilets, vowing to catch him and arrest him. When Gary gets home, he attacks Dean, assuming he told the police of his whereabouts.
Gary then breaks into Sam's house whilst she is not there and begins trashing it. However, he is unaware that Sam's maternal nephew, Ricky, is in the house as well. Gary heads up to Sam's room and takes her underwear from her drawer. He begins sniffing her underwear before singeing holes in it. Gary then looks under the bed, which is where Ricky is hiding. Before Gary is able to do anything the fire alarm goes off and he flees. Police arrive at Sam's house and take evidence from a drinks can which Gary drank out of whilst he was in Sam's house. The evidence places Gary at the crime scene, but with Tom and DS Farmer lacking any evidence proving that Gary murdered Sarah, they are only able to give him bail. Sam visits Ronnie and tells her that they found Sarah's stomach contents consisted of sweets. Ronnie confirms the sweets were Sarah's favourite and Sam asks if Gary knew they were her favourite. Ronnie admits he did know, and breaks down. Sam then tells Ronnie she knows about Gary's previous abuse towards Sarah.
Following Gary's release on bail, he heads to the school, and walks through the corridors until he finds Dean. Dean rushes to the headmaster's office and calls the police. Gary leaves the school and drives back to the house. As Sam leaves, Gary enters. He is furious at Ronnie and accuses her of telling the police about how he used to abuse Sarah and setting him up. He punches Ronnie hard before pushing her head through a glass pane. Dean frantically cycles past Sam on his way home. Sam stops the car and reverses back towards the house. Dean walks into the house and Gary stares at him. He pins Dean to the wall, knocking a vase to the floor as he does. Dean falls to the floor and Gary turns his attention back to Ronnie. As he approaches Ronnie, Dean picks up a shard of glass from the broken vase, and jumps on Gary, stabbing him multiple times in the stomach. Sam walks in following Dean's assault on Gary and tells them to call an ambulance. An ambulance arrives but it is too late, and Gary dies. Post-credits, Marion is seen sitting by her daughter's grave, justice having been served.
Part One Edit
Part Two Edit
Two characters died across the two episodes.
- Sarah Crew: Cold water shock causing organ shutdown after falling into river from rope swing following torturing from Gary Phillips.
- Gary Phillips: Stabbed multiple times in stomach with a shard of glass from a broken vase.
- The BBC synopses for the episodes:
- Part One: Dr Sam Ryan investigates her first case as a police consultant - a tragic case involving the death of a child.
- Part Two: The murder investigation continues and someone breaks into Sam's house. Undeterred, she continues her search for the truth.