Starring: David Tennant, Olivia Coleman, Charlotte Rampling
A welcome return for this seaside mystery with a plot thick enough to stand a plastic spade up in, Series Two deals with the aftermath of the “boy on the beach” case while also bringing a new killer to the pretty town of Broadchurch.
Despite having been caught bang to rights, last season’s murderer causes consternation by pleading his innocence and insisting on going on trial. And while that case starts to fall apart courtesy of the efforts a hard-hitting defence barrister (Marianne Jean-Baptiste), DCI Hardy (David Tennant) finds himself trying to pull together the threads of another that has long haunted him. Ailing because of his dickey ticker, he needs the help of his old partner Ellie (Olivia Coleman) more than ever.
Dorset hasn’t seen this many tangled twists of fate since the days of Thomas Hardy. It’s not just that the plot is convoluted; there are also numerous personal revelations to be divulged and backstories to be unpacked. But even if you occasionally have to suspend your disbelief, this is still a compulsive blend of whodunnit and courtroom drama, helped enormously by nervy, energetic direction and a cast of interestingly damaged characters played by a top-drawer cast. Coleman is once again very likeable and dryly funny, and it’s particularly nice to see Charlotte Rampling making a big splash on the small screen as a reclusive lawyer who is drawn out of retirement to mount the prosecution. And then there are all those glorious views of West Bay and Dorset’s Jurassic Coast to remind you that life doesn’t have to be all sordid secrets and lies. 7/10
This release is well-stocked with cast interviews and behind the scenes footage – we learn about the locations in Bristol and Exeter used to create the town of Broadchurch, and that West Bay is show creator Chris Chibnall’s regular walk when he has writer’s block. 6/10