Martha Costello QC to become a US attorney as she swaps chambers for ‘world’s top law firm’

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By Alex Aldridge on

Star of BBC legal drama to follow a reverse version of Amal Clooney’s career path in American re-make


After having seemingly been confined to legal drama history, Martha Costello is back.

It began so brightly for Britain’s finest fictional lawyer, as she beat off competition from chambers colleagues to become a QC in the first series of BBC legal drama Silk. Newly made-up, the working-class-girl-made-good dazzled throughout Silk’s second and third series, wowing judges, fellow barristers and members of the public with her almost supernatural abilities.

Costello — or, more accurately, the actress who plays Costello, Maxine Peake — even found time to delight real lawyers as she protested earlier this year against the legal aid cuts.

And then, out of the blue, the BBC decided to axe Silk. Was this the end for Martha?

Surely not, her fans prayed, hoping against hope that Shoe Lane Chambers’ top tenant would find some kind of reprieve. But the silence over the last few months has been deafening.

Suddenly, though, out of the blue The Hollywood Reporter has announced that Silk is to be re-made for US TV — and will be based around “the journey of unorthodox and uncompromising attorney Martha Costello”!

While no mention is made of the other Silk characters, Costello will move from the bar of England and Wales to become a US attorney at “the world’s top law firm”, “Crown & Royce” (below is how the firm’s logo might look).


Admittedly, Martha’s journey from legal aid barrister to associate at the very corporate-sounding C&R — which is billed as “secretive and elitist” — seems a rather far-fetched one, but that won’t bother regular Silk watchers, who have come to cherish the ridiculousness of the drama’s story lines.

Actually, come to think of it, maybe Martha’s transatlantic switch isn’t so crazy: isn’t that what Amal Clooney did in reverse, going from New York corporate firm Sullivan & Cromwell to London legal aid set Doughty Street. And she went on to marry a Hollywood star…

Anyway, the new show will apparently focus on Costello’s battle to survive the charged office politics of corporate law, using her “unstoppable blue-collar determination” to offset her charming lack of polish.

No date has been given yet for the airing of Silk USA, but the production company, ABC, has disclosed that its original writer, ex-barrister Peter Moffat, will be retained as executive producer.