Broadchurch, Television Review. Series Two, Episode Three.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * * *

Cast: David Tennant, Olivia Coleman, Jodie Whittaker, Andrew Buchan, Charlotte Rampling, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Arthur Darvill, Eve Myles, James D’ Arcy, Meera Syal, Caroline Pickles, Jonathan Bailey, Tanya Franks, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, William Andrews, Charlotte Latimer, Steve Bennett, Amanda Drew, Eliza Newbury, Pippa Gillespie, Andrew Darlington, Margery Knight, Neil Stanley, Abigail Hardingham, Stephanie Clift.

Courtroom dramas are the stuff of legends when it comes to television. The after effects and fall out of the police investigation just as riveting as the methodical way in which the case is built up from the start by the detective.

In the third episode of the second series of Broadchurch, the tension is racked up to the point where at some point the only relief from the supposition, counsel inference and the high human cost of appearing in the dock, for the prosecution and the defence, is when the final credits start to role. It is the pain after the pleasure, and in a mirroring of the episode’s side line with the birth of the Latimer’s third child, the pain of bringing up a new child when one has been taken, the subconscious nervousness when anything goes wrong, is played out like contractions in the court room when defence counsel gets the accused’s wife on the stand. The brief chess like poise is laboured as counter accusations are made and slurs against character are made.

Chris Chibnall has shown before that he can take the audience’s reactions for a long fast paced marathon, whether for the stage or on television and Broadchurch is no exception. By placing Olivia Coleman’s character of Ellie Miller in such a predicament, he is asking the viewer to place an element of doubt into their minds when there should be none to place. The way he wrote this particular scene is built up to with further revelations from Alec Hardy’s previous case, the dubious nature of Claire Ripley’s and Lee Ashworth’s relationship and consequent alibis and the small revelations from all corners of people’s lives in a town with more secrets than outstanding views.

It’s hard to think that the tension in the series could be racked up any further without the most almighty climatic blow; it also wouldn’t be surprising to find that Chris Chibnall has written in the Krakatoa of all events into the remaining episodes.

Broadchurch continues next Monday.

Ian D. Hall