Broadchurch’s tense series three opener more than makes up for the sketchy second series.
DI Alec Hardy and DS Ellie Miller are reunited and this time investigating a violent sexual attack. If the pair were used to locking horns before, this case looks set to push them even further apart.
While Miller tried to comfort Trish after her attack, Hardy was banging on about evidence sheets. This turned out to be one of a few signifiers of how the pair are going to approach this case across the rest of the series: Alec blustering about insensitively and Ellie stepping in as a balm.
Hopefully they don’t overdo this as it veers into the tired uncaring man/nurturing woman trope that a lot of popular TV shows (Poldark, Doctor Who, Sherlock to name a few) are guilty of.
Having said that, David Tennant and Olivia Colman’s rapport is still great, and it’s entertaining to watch their sniping knowing that they quite like each other really.
We were introduced to a selection of new characters and to be honest, they all look shifty at the moment.
Why was shop owner Ed (Lenny Henry) so enraged that Trish wouldn’t be back at work for a while? Was Cath’s (Sarah Parish) panicked phone call to husband Jim (Mark Bazeley) purely out of concern for her mate? And is the part of the condom packet at the crime scene from the same one Jim had in his car? Questions, questions…
Elsewhere Beth Latimer is trying to move forward with a new job while Mark is keeping his distance from his family. The lasting effects of a terrible crime has always been what Broadchurch is about, but having Beth as Trish’s support worker felt like a tenuous way of shoehorning the Latimers into the new plot.
Series two suffered from the backward-looking Sandbrook case, let’s hope series three isn’t hampered in the same way.
Broadchurch is definitely back back at its series one best with this episode, and after the divisive series four finale of Sherlock an understated crime drama is refreshing.
There were no waffling deductions, no explosions, no preposterous plots, no violins – just a quietly tense, character-driven drama with the same looming darkness we’ve to come to expect and love.
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