Broadchurch - A promising return to form

Olivia Colman and David Tennant are back on the beach in Broadchurch
Olivia Colman and David Tennant are back on the beach in Broadchurch
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So, here we are then, swooshing over the golden cliffs of Dorset on our way to Broadchurch (ITV, Mondays, 9pm), the restless sea surging on to the beach below. If this third series of the police drama had started anything like the second, then I might have been tempted to chuck myself off those cliffs.

That second series seemed to lose focus, with soapy plot twists and turns. This first episode of the third series, however, seemed taut and sharp, while not forgetting the ripple effect of the murder of Danny Latimer – which dominated the first series.

Here, DS Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) and DI Alec Hardy (David Tennant) are called out to deal with a sexual assault claim. Trish claims to have been attacked at a party, but as the episode goes on, it quickly becomes satisfyingly clear that not all is what it seems.

Those first scenes, as Hardy and Miller take Trish through the early steps of the investigation, were mesmerising. Little dialogue, but lots of looks and deliberate motions, with a ring of authenticity.

It was all very Scandi-noir, yet maintained a reassuringly English wit. “I’m just going to take a mouth swab,” Ellie tells Trish, “and the reason we do that is so you can have a cup of tea.”

Meanwhile, the Latimers, and Broadchurch as a whole, are still coming to terms with Danny’s death and the failed court case which followed.

Cleverly, however, these storylines seem destined to intertwine, with Danny’s mum Beth now a rape counsellor, and given Trish as a client.

The best compliment you can give is that you were constantly asking questions, playing detective. In other words, a truly engaging hour of TV, and a return to form.

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