TV schedules are dominated by cheap talent contests, quiz shows, and scraping-the-barrell reality TV, but these two procedural crime dramas are IMHO two of the very best English-language series of recent decades. Terrifying, harrowing, yet exploring difficult human emotions and psychology incredibly sensitively and unflinchingly. The acting and direction is simply wonderful, the script and dialogue extremely intelligent and realistic. All walks of life are portrayed fairly and faithfully, and a kind of hyper realism is achieved.
For those who haven't seen them, Waking the Dead follows the Cold Case Team who investigate old murders, and Silent Witness follows a forensic pathology team, also investing murders and other serious crimes.
Watching them helps me understand the suffering that victims of crime and their families endure, yet I also feel shocked and sometimes scared and often quite helpless. I am thankfully reasonably secure from these sorts of dangers, which are of course very rare anyway. It stimulates my thinking on psychological and other matters (I have some University education in the subject). It makes me mentally strive for solutions to society's problems – maybe I'll come up with something brilliant and agreeably agreeable one day, but probably no time soon.