BROADCHURCH Season 3 (review)
TV series review by Dennis D. McDonald
Season 3 of Broadchurch is even more challenging than seasons 1 and 2. The first two dealt with excruciatingly difficult topic of sexual abuse and child murder. Season 3 deals with the seemingly more common topic of a drunken rape at a party. Instead what are revealed are disturbing levels of discord and unhappiness.
This doesn’t sound very appealing. Why subject yourself to such a story when easily available and much fluffier and comfortable things are available to watch?
For me the answer is simple: the production values and character arcs lend credibility and reality to a tightly woven mystery where the viewer is kept guessing about who is telling the truth and about what “new” secret will be revealed around the next corner.
The writers’ diagramming of actions and words from episode to episode must have been quite elaborate. We are constantly guessing about the difference between what we know as viewers and what the police know as they work their way through the tangle of clues and investigative frustrations.
The two are very closely aligned. That’s one of the most fascinating things about the show, watching the two cops work their way through a vast ocean of misinformation and lies.
As portrayed magnificently by David Tennant and Olivia Colman, the two detectives struggle to make sense of all the lies and half truths they uncover.
Their relationship has evolved over three seasons. They have learned to accommodate a variety of personal demons and trauma.
Colman’s character is somehow able to remain calm and professional despite her personal involvement with the events from seasons 1 and 2. Tennant’s character reveals a strong and surprisingly personal appreciation of how the town’s women and girls have had to deal with as a “normal” part of their existence.
A word of warning to the potential viewer: men (and even some of the boys) are portrayed as liars and potential sexual predators. Tennant’s character realizes this. He is horrified that he has brought his own teenage daughter to this theoretically idyllic seaside town when it becomes obvious there is a serial rapist on the loose.
Most satisfying is the evolving relationship between Tennant’s and Colman’s detectives. They both share a passion for truth and justice but approach their work differently. Coleman expressed her frustration in emotional terms. Tennant stays more bottled up.
But when it comes to interviewing the myriad of potential suspects in the police department’s interview room, they work together as a team. Theirs is a satisfyingly mature and professional relationship to watch.
Review copyright 2019 by Dennis D. McDonald