'Broadchurch', ITV’s whodunnit drama set on the south coast is back for a third and final series. The story is set three years after the last episode of series two. There are some familiar faces (they’re still in Broadchurch, after all), but the new series takes a bit of a different angle to the previous two.
There are no missing children, as far as we can tell. David Tennant, who plays Alec Hardy, has said about the new series: ‘There couldn’t be another body on another beach’. Instead, the story follows Ellie Miller (Olivia Coleman) and Alec Hardy (David Tennant) as they work on a new case, investigating the serious sexual assault of Dorset local Trish Winterman (Julie Hesmondhalgh).
The first episode aired tonight and we’re already hooked. But what’s going to happen next? Here are six questions we already have about series three.
*Contains spoilers! Obviously, if you haven’t watched the first episode of season three, look away now.*
1. How come Alec Hardy is back on the scene?
Series two ended with DI Hardy leaving Broadchurch, having finally solved the Sandbrook case involving the murder of a 12-year-old girl, which had haunted him during series one and two. He seemed pretty glad to see the back of Broadchurch, but now, three years later, he's back in town. Not that we're complaining. Olivia Coleman and David Tennant are a brilliant duo as DS Miller and DI Hardy, and they're on great form in episode one of series three. Miller is still taking no crap from Hardy, scolding him when they make a house call to visit Trish – 'Every time! Make the tea first and then do your nosing around'. And Hardy is still pissing everyone off – it transpires in episode one that the whole local police team refer to him as 'shitface'.
2. While we're on the subject of Hardy – what's going on with his daughter?
When Hardy left Broadchurch, he said he needed to be with his daughter, Daisy. Hardy and his wife Tess divorced when Daisy was 12. That's the short version – the slightly longer version is that they were working together on the Sandbrook case when a key piece of evidence was stolen from Tess's car while she was off in a hotel room having an affair with someone else. Hardy took the fall for the failure on the Sandbrook to protect his daughter from finding out about the affair. Anyway, that's in the past. Judging from the first episode of this series, it looks like Hardy is much more involved in Daisy's life now, meeting her after work and telling her not to stay out too late (y'know, classic dad stuff). Perhaps she'll have a bigger role in series three?
3. Why is Mark Latimer so pissed off?
Mark Latimer (father of Danny Latimer, the child who was murdered in series one), spends most of the first episode of series three seeming pretty irked by everyone. In a bit of a surprising move, he's teamed up with local journalist Maggie Radcliffe to write a book about his experiences since the death of his son. It's not clear why he decided to do it in the first place, but judging by his refusal to go to the book signing event and his animosity towards Maggie ('worried I'm going to spoil your sales?') he clearly regrets it now.
But that's not the only thing that's got his goat. His scenes with Beth Latimer show that all is not well in their marriage. They may not be divorced but they're at least separated and living in different houses. You get the sense that they're trying to remain friendly for the sake of their children, but there's a pretty frosty atmosphere between them.
4. Where is Joe Miller?
At the end of series two, Ellie Miller's husband Joe was essentially banished from Broadchurch by the locals and sent to Sheffield (of all places), after he pleaded not guilty to the murder of Danny Latimer and the jury found him innocent. There's a brief reference to Joe in this episode, with Ellie telling her son that he's 'not his father's son' after he gets in trouble over watching porn at school. But where has he gone? And will he come back? It's unlikely, if Ellie Miller has anything to do with it, but it is a possibility.
5. Why do the couple who hosted the party seem so shifty?
After Hardy does some nosing around, he quickly learns that Trish (Hesmondhalgh) was attacked at her friend Cath Atwood's fiftieth birthday party. Hardy and Miller are straight onto Cath for a guestlist, and she tells them to speak to her husband, Jim. Obviously the fact that the attack took place at their party doesn't mean they had something to do with it, but they are both acting a bit shifty. When Cath calls her husband to tell him the news, he keeps asking her how she knows, and if she's sure, which seems a bit of an odd reaction. That, and when she says to him, 'I feel like it's our fault', there's a rather long and painful pause from Jim. Of course, it could all be a bit of a red herring.
6. Which leads us onto our next question – who is really a suspect in the attack on Trish?
Cath says there were at least 50 men at her party, which leaves Hardy and Miller with a pretty long list of suspects. Already, there are hints that Jim Atwood might be a potential suspect. The results of Trish's sexual assault exam show that a condom was used in the attack and you don't need to be particularly beady-eyed to notice the shot showing a load of condom packaging in the glove compartment of Jim's car – although that seems a bit too obvious to read to much into it.
A more likely suspect is Ed Burnett (Lenny Henry), who runs the farm shop where Trish works. When Hardy and Miller visit the shop to inform Ed that Trish won't be at work for a few days (without revealing why, to protect Trish's privacy), rather than showing concern for Trish, he just seems a bit pissed off. Oh, and at the end of the episode, the police discover a bag of blue string in a carrier bag from the farm shop, near the house where the party took place. Put that together with the fact that the police found fibres from blue string on Trish after the attack, and things aren't looking too good for Ed.
Or, maybe that's exactly what they want us to think...
Excuse us. We'll be obsessing over this until next Monday.
'Broadchurch' continues on Monday at 9pm on ITV.