June 29, 2017

SHOWBUZZDAILY Season Premiere Review: “Broadchurch”


BROADCHURCH – Wednesday 10PM on BBCAmerica

One of the first things shown in the Season 3 premiere of BROADCHURCH is a looming close-up of a tear rolling down a crime victim’s face, so we know little has changed in that perpetually brooding Dorset town.  However, while Season 2 of Chris Chubnall’s series was a direct sequel to Season 1, the new season, at least at the outset, appears to be more of a standalone procedural, as Detectives Alec Hardy (David Tennant) and Ellie Miller (the great Olivia Colman) attempt to solve the sexual assault committed upon Trish Winterman (Julie Hesmondhaigh) after she attended the birthday party of one of her friends.

There are, of course, reverberations of seasons past.  Beth Latimer (Jodie Whittaker), the mother of the boy killed in Season 1, is now the social services agent assigned to Trish’s case.  Ellie is still coping with her ex-husband’s guilt in that crime (despite his acquittal at trial), making things worse when her teen son Tom (Adam Wilson) is found to be distributing porn to his classmates.  No doubt there will be further references to the show’s history.  For the most part, though, this is the first time Broadchurch has felt like it could be a British cousin of a Dick Wolf series, complete with routine complications like the new member of the squad who’s suspicious of the time gap between the attack on Trish and her reporting the crime.

The virtues of Broadchurch continue to be the seriousness with which it regards its characters, and the very fine performances by all.  Colman remains first among equals, her Ellie’s compassion and intelligence conflicted by personal tragedy, but still up for peevish banter with Hardy.  Chubnall wrote the entire season, the sense of pastoral threat he brings to the material underlined by Paul Andrew Williams’s atmospheric direction of the opening hour.

Season 3 has been announced as the conclusion of Broadchurch, although if the series can work with new crimes to be solved each year, and the participants want to return, there doesn’t seem to be a reason why it couldn’t keep going.  It provides some class, if not exactly escapist fun, to the summer’s roster of TV dramas.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."