Broadchurch, Television Review. Series Two, Episode Eight.

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, Carolyn Pickles, Jonathan Bailey, Tanya Franks, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, William Andrews, Matthew Gravelle, Shaun Dooley, Eliza Bennett, Lucy Cohu, Simone McAullay, Joe Sims, Charlotte Beaumont, Adam Wilson, Tom Rosenthal, Hollie Burgess, Lucas Hare.

It should never have been in any doubt that there would be a third series of Broadchurch commissioned, such a programme cannot be dismissed so easily with just two series underneath its belt and yet as the Not Guilty verdict came tumbling off the tongue of the Chairperson, there must have been an inkling that the original case was far from over.

Loose ends are never that tidy, some of the great television series can attest to that over the last decade. The American programme Lost is a prime example of a story that many were complaining had somehow struggled through its difficult middle section and yet came up trumps in arguably one of the most inspired finishes to a series of all time. Broadchurch was always going to be seen as having the same negativity hurled at it during a second season, primarily because television viewers like neat and tidy.

The first season had it all wrapped up, the viewer knew where they were, justice had been served and the killer captured. However, the law is not neat and has been shown over the last 100 years or more is rarely tidy and Chris Chibnall has reflected that completely with the vast majority of the action coming in the form of the court room drama. It is the complexity of the court room, the theatrical event in which the players all get their own lines, in which justice has to be seen to be served and if there is any reasonable doubt at all, then the jury must find in favour of the accused. For the Latimer’s, a family that is still grieving the loss of their son, it is cruel and in many ways seemingly dishonest but it is the way in which the law operates.

The flip side has been how Alec Hardy has dealt with the previous case in which nearly took his life, the equally desperate case of child murder in his old patch. The way that the two cases have reflected each other, that all it needs is one piece of evidence thrust under the right nose in which to solve the most brutal of crimes has been compelling and tantalising.

The first series may have hung on the relationship between David Tennant’s and Olivia Colman’s characters but the second series has certainly had the more volatile action and in that both Eve Myles and James D’Arcy should be congratulated for being the most demented, seriously deluded couple to appear on television in a long, long time. Chillingly unhinged, Eve Myles’ character of Claire Ripley has been slowly mentally disintegrating for many weeks and in one perfect acting motion showed that composed holier than thou attitude fall to pieces; it was a piece of acting ability that captured the essence of Broadchurch.

With a third series to come, hopefully not having to wait two years till the next one, Broadchurch has continued the good work set down in the initial series.

Ian D. Hall