There was an air of mystery around the first season of Broadchurch, as writer Chris Chibnall wanted to ensure that even the actors weren’t sure who the killer was until the very last minute. That was back when nobody expected this little Dorset crime drama to take off, not even its cast. But take off it did, and so increased our clamour for information about season two; a clamour that Chibnall would have none of. Everything was locked down, security was tight, false leads leaked and no press previews released, frequently a warning sign that something is amiss.
Not this time though, Britain’s answer to Nordic Noir returned magnificently last night, weaving the aftermath of season one deftly with new threads and new characters. Secrets old and new are hinted at, slowly exposed and rapidly begin to erode the already fractured community of Broadchurch.
There’s no new murder this time for Olivia Colman and David Tennant to investigate, no decline into the bloodbath of the ill-fated Midsomer. One murder has been bad enough for this community, and that’s not counting the aftermath of Tennant’s D.I. Alec Hardy’s previous case before arriving to take Colman’s D.S. Ellie Miller’s job. But it turns out that Sandbrook had a different way of bringing Hardy to Broadchurch than we were led to believe.
Initially though, it is Joe Miller’s trial that takes the forefront. After his shocking plea, an excellent piece of tension building in the run-up to the first ad break, there’s going to be a full trial. Wounds old and new will be opened and threaten to reveal more hidden darknesses of Broadchurch’s embattled inhabitants.
It’s for the courtoom that the bulk of the new cast is introduced. Beth and Mark Latimer manage to convince semi-retired, locally resident legendary QC Jocelyn Knight, played by the equally legendary Charlotte Rampling. Joe, however, manages to snag Jocelyn’s combative former protégé Sharon Bishop, played by Marianne Jean-Baptiste. While their entwined histories may play second fiddle to that of the Latimer’s and the Miller’s, it’s one I’m particularly interested to see how it plays out.
So, Ellie not only has to contend with the ongoing indignity of seeing her husband continue to destroy her life and that of the community around her, she also has to help Hardy deal with his mess. He still hopes to solve the failed Sandbrook case and prosecute the man he believes to be guilty with help of his hidden witness, this witness, Claire, who in turn fears for her life. For, just like Ellie, it too was her husband who allegedly committed the awful crime; and he's free and knows where she lives.
So, the first episode of the second season of Broadchurch whistled along at quite a pace, building tension and unpeeling layers of mystery. It introduced us to new characters, played by strong actors, and I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds and see how they play off of one another. In the end though, it always comes down to Olivia Colman and David Tennant who are always so wonderful on screen together.