So far, so tense in Broadchurch. With three sex assaults – two historical – all pointing to a serial rapist, the pressure is on for Hardy and Miller, whose list of suspects have more or less remained the same since the first episode. Something had to give. Add to that a potential confrontation between Mark Latimer and Joe Miller looming large and this episode threatened to be pivotal – closure in the Joe Miller case? Real progress in the Trish Waterman case? I hoped so.
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We’re over the half-way stage of this third and final series of Broadchurch, and so far it has been an intense, intriguing (and often heart-breaking) ride. Like so many good whodunits, the series has built up the suspects and our investigators – DI Alec Hardy and DS Ellie Miller – have been doing the rounds; getting to know them, getting to dislike them and trying to fit them into the puzzle where applicable. But unlike many whodunits, instead of some suspects falling by the wayside each of the main possibles are, after episode five, even likelier to have been the serial rapist that is now plaguing the coastal town. That means, after episode five and only three instalments left, we’re still none the wiser.
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The past three episodes of arguably Britain’s premiere whodunit have successfully – and rather rapidly – built up a cadre of suspects, all attendees of Cath Atwood’s 50th birthday party; the fateful night when Trish Winterman was brutally sexually assaulted. The conspiracy theories are already starting to flow thick and fast: was this, in fact, a sex party that got out of hand? Is that what Trish’s ex-husband Ian wanted to desperately erase from his laptop? Is Broadchurch a steaming Gomorrah of swinging and sex parties? Who knows. What we do know is that Hardy and Miller had a huge list of attendees to process, and not a lot of resources to process them with. But in episode four, the half-way stage of the series, things began move.
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Last week’s episode of this third series of Broadchurch saw Miller and Hardy really start to do the rounds and gather information on some of the key male attendees of the party where Trish Winterman was sexually assaulted. Suspects were beginning to emerge, and Trish’s own lead-up to her ordeal was called into question – she had (consensually) slept with a man on the morning of the day in question, and declined naming him in her police interview. So many things were bubbling away, and this episode kept the water simmering.
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After a triumphant return last week, where a brutal case of sexual assault was presented with both sensitivity and honesty, Broadchurch started its investigation of the crime in earnest this week. The list of suspects grew, the awfulness of Trish’s ordeal intensified and Miller and Hardy (especially Miller) were pure gold.
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Here we go then. Back to the Jurassic coast and the small coastal town of Broadchurch, where DI Alec Hardy and DS Ellie Miller are back on the beat, investigating their last case. Thanks to a phenomenal first series, this British show has become a real heavy-hitter in the crime drama world – its almost Scandinavian-style mixture of a classic whodunit mixed with emotional, personal stories elevated it above many of its contemporaries. If the second series failed to build on the first series’ quality, this third series – after a long break where so much has happened on television since – has its work cut out to still remain relevant. Thankfully, Chris Chibnall, David Tennant and Olivia Colman are back on top form.
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Olivia Colman is, as we all know, one of the UK’s leading actresses. It almost doesn’t need to be said. But she’s so brilliant in everything she puts her mind to – comedy, drama (I still can’t get her performance in Paddy Considine’s harrowing Tyrannsaurus out of my mind), you name it. There’s just something so natural and likeable about her, and Broadchurch she has fashioned a character who has really struck a chord with viewers. Ellie Miller is someone who has been put in extraordinary situations, but someone who we all, somehow, can relate to. That takes great skill to pull off, and Colman has the skills. We managed to get hold of an interview with Colman, which you can read after the old jumperoo. Continue reading