These impressions contain spoilers for the first episode of ‘Broadchurch’ Season Three.

The final season of grim crime show Broadchurch is now airing. Chris Chibnall is capping off his series before taking over Doctor Who. Detective Inspector Alec Hardy (David Tennant) and Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) are back and working on cases, leaving the dramatic events of the first two seasons behind them. Let’s not even speak of Gracepoint, the now cancelled US remake.

Already, this season feels more stand-alone than previous outings. The first was exclusively about the murder of a young boy, while the second followed the trial of the murderer, and Hardy’s old case he screwed up, which got him sent to Broadchurch in the first place.

This final season follows the brutal attack and rape of a woman. Broadchurch has always been dark, but this is really jumping into some delicate subject mater. Sure, child murder is no doozy but you may want to ignore this one if you don’t think you can handle.

The episode follows Trish as she wakes up from her attack, and its taken in by Miller and Hardy. For a good ten minutes we experience her being processed at the police station. We witness her get swabbed and her clothes taken into evidence, painfully following every procedure. She barely speaks and every second is tense and horrible. Then there’s having to go home and keep on living, and not having friends and family around to help her rehabilitate. In an act of compassion Miller gives Trish her private number.

Hardy swears it’s a stranger rape, but Miller isn’t so easily convinced, as most rape is usually committed by a person the victim knew. We learn Trish went missing a few days ago at a country garden venue for a fiftieth birthday party, and around fifty men were present. That’s a lot of suspects. Exploring the yard, Hardy and Miller catch a lucky break and with a few deductions find the crime scene in mere minutes.

It’s not just about this detective duo. Broadchurch is a small town and familiar faces make a return including the Latimer family. Beth has a new role as victim support, and will come into contact with Trish at some point. Maggie, editor of the local newspaper, launched a book with help from Mark about his son, Danny (murdered in the first season). And of course there’s the vicar. There’s always a vicar.

It’s Broadchurch alright. You’d think living in a seaside town would be a happy place, but the whole world is grim here. Beautiful scenery tainted by the awful crimes committed on its lands. Tennant is always moody. Colman is serious but warm-hearted. Witticisms are few and far between. This ain’t Bones or Castle. Bingeing shows like this can really put you in a bad place so be careful out there.

Verdict: Last season was rough. It mulled over events from season one and covered a lacklustre cold case. This, however, is a promising re-beginning and the detectives have a new, horrible case to solve.


Where to watch: UK: ITV, NZ: TVNZ