David Tennant and Olivia Colman returned as the dynamic duo, DI Alec Hardy and DS Ellie Miller in ITV’s eagerly-anticipated return of Broadchurch. ITV have said that this will be the third and final series, completing a perfect crime-drama trilogy. Broadchurch writer Chris Chibnall must have been feeling the pressure, but he’s delivered with a fresh crime and a new direction. We are met with drama, suspects, twists and some serious darkness. Three years on from the Latimer crime in the heart of Wessex, we open with no murder, no bodies on the beach but a horrific sexual assault and a victim we immediately feel a lot of love for. We discover that Trish, a middle-aged mum has been raped at her friend’s 50th party; and there we have it, the premise for the final instalment… who attacked and raped Trish (played by Julie Hesmondhalgh)?
This first episode sewed the storyline seeds for us and revealed what we hope to be the biggest whodunit investigation of all. It’s great to see that DI Hardy and DS Miller still have their love/hate relationship, and she puts him in his place even though he’s her senior. Once again, we see the caring side of DS Ellie Miller and the colder, professional side of DI Alec Hardy that create the ultimate good cop/bad cop set up. It seems there’s going to be a few more problems in both of their home lives, with Ellie’s son distributing porn out at school (his father was a sex predator which makes things a bit worse) and Alec’s daughter going out with boys and growing up. I’m sure in this series we’ll see their friendship blossom out of the office, but let’s hope there’s no romantic twist, that would be like incest.
Julie Hesmondhalgh gracefully performs in what was inevitably going to be a challenging role. Her performance was heart-wrenching and raw. Addressing violent sexual assault is difficult, but so far it seems that Chris Chibnall will do it realistically and respectfully. We see a bruised and beaten Trish deal with the clinical horrors post-attack, and the devastating effects of sexual assault. We’ve met the newbies, but we are also reintroduced to some familiar faces. The Latimer’s lives have changed, Beth and Mark Latimer are now divorced and things are pretty hostile. Beth Latimer, played by Jodie Whittaker, has landed a new job as a support worker and it seems she’ll be helping Trish through the series. It seems this is how the original characters will be kept relevant to the new investigation.
If Hardy and Miller’s series 3 investigation was another murder, we might end up with another worn out Midsomer Murders series, but thankfully we’re going to be exploring a different avenue of crime. It was a lot to digest, but it seems we’re set up for a great final series. DI Alec Hardy and DS Ellie Miller are going to be facing their biggest investigation yet and it’s going to be a thrilling journey.