A trial involving a similar case was actually televised and generated national headlines. Television entertainment is hardly likely to let this kind of sensational material slip through its exploitation net, even if the circumstances and participants have to be heavily fictionalized.
The problem with ''Silent Witness,'' though, is that Conrad Bromberg's script goes through so many contortions it ends up strangling any semblance of believability. Anna and Kevin Dunne Valerie Bertinelli and John Savage are a sweet young couple trying to save enough money to buy a nice house in a better neighborhood or suburb of Pittsburgh. He is a garbage hauler. She works in an appliance supermarket.
Having a drink in their local bar after work one Friday, they suddenly are confronted with the spectacle of three men, including Kevin's brother Michael Chris Nash , sexually assaulting their young drinking companion. The woman is crying for help and Kevin does shout, ''Hey, Mike, get offa there,'' but Anna and Kevin sit frozen at the bar, averting their eyes as if something terribly embarrassing but not absolutely outrageous were taking place.
Later, when a complaint is filed, they learn that the woman is Patti Mullen Melissa Leo , an alcoholic subject to blackouts. Feeling increasingly guilty about not speaking out in order to protect her husband's family, Anna goes to visit Patti and becomes even more sympathetic to her ordeal but still refuses to come forward as a witness. When a particulary vicious defense lawyer, played by Pat Corley in one of his more memorably slobbering turns, attacks Patti's credibility in court, the disturbed victim commits suicide.
Anna leaves her husband and decides to tell the truth. Up to this point there are more than enough sticking points to make ''Silent Witness'' unconvincing, to say the least. Daniel Ainsleigh as Garth Templar. Ingeborga Dapkunayte. John Lynch as Tom Flannery. John Bowe. James Cosmo. Leo Gregory. Mick Ford as Dr.
Kate Ashfield. Amanda Lane as Professor Sara Laurence. Richard Mylan as Rollie Stewart. Sean Chapman.
Rakie Ayola. Gillian Kearney. Amerjit Deu. Michelle Fairley. Christine Bottomley. Sam Hazeldine. Alec Newman. Vincent Regan. Sharon Small. Bryan Dick. David Westhead.
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Jodie Comer. Andrea Dondolo as Mandisa Dontsa.
Charlie Creed-Miles as Conory Flannery. Maye Choo as An Hoi. Julia Haworth as Rosie Chamberlain.
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Frances Tomelty. Mark Benton. Amanda Drew. Samuell Benta as Ray Treat. Deborah Findlay as Gemma King.
Tim Pigott-Smith. Pavel Douglas. Tobi Bakare. Tamzin Outhwaite. Shelley Conn. David Murray. Josef Altin. Joanne Pearce as Harry Cunningham. Mike Kelly.
Philip Bird as Nikki Alexander. Gerald Kyd as Yusuf Hamed. Emily Beecham as Anna Flannery. James Burrows. Anna Madeley. Douglas Russell.
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Julian Rhind-Tutt as David Cannon. Ramiro Blas as Mr Herrera. Louis Emerick.
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Emily Joyce as Muriel. Robert Ashby. Marianna Schmidt. Clive Russell as Nikki Alexander. Elizabeth Bower. Pete Ashmore. Tim Healy as Nikki Alexander. Neil Maskell. Li-Leng Au as Jessica. John Rado.
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Jack Dee as Nikki Alexander. Daniel Cerqueira as Commander Duenas. Lynn Farleigh. Simone James as Katie Thomson. Lindsey Campbell as Suzie Tudor. Stuart McQuarrie as Derek Tripp. Penny Downie. Antonia Campbell-Hughes. Nancy Carroll. Sarah Annison. Tilly Blackwood. Wai Kee Chan. Tom Charge. Michael Landes as Matt Garcia. Kevork Malikyan as Varkey Khoury. Raquel Cassidy as Dr Eva Vasquez. Neil Stuke as Chief Inspector Cooke. Mark Arends as Mike Finlayson. Nick Moss. Emma Fielding as Sally Vaughan. Paul Sharma.