Broadchurch series 3 episode 3 review: Another blinder from Colman and Tennant, but no more suspects please

As the list of potential attackers grew longer, DI Hardy got increasingly fraught in another captivating, if slightly implausible, instalment 


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“It feels like the more we talk to, the more we rule in….it’s a scarily wide net right now,” said DS Miller (Olivia Colman) of the zillion suspects in the frame. She wasn’t wrong. Not only did half the blokes in the cast seem to have been marauding around the garden at the estimated time of the sex attack - the crime that’s the focus of this third series - we also met a load of new potentials. Broadchurch 3 is keeping viewers gripped all right, and the perfectly pitched chemistry between colleagues and nearly-friends DI Hardy (David Tennant) and Miller was a delight to watch this week, but please, no more newbies – there are already too many faces to remember. Plus, I’m concerned DI Hardy might have another heart attack if they can’t eliminate some locals soon.

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New suspicious faces included Arthur Tamworth (Richard Hope) who owned the party venue. He confessed to a childhood habit of hanging around down by the waterfall (the crime scene). Only his dogs could vouch for his alibi on the night. We also met the caterer who had his excuses suspiciously down pat, and who, conveniently, went for a fag by the lake at the time of the attack. Away from the party guest list, Michael Lucas (Deon Lee-Williams) was, we learnt, stepson of not-so-truthful cabbie Clive Lucas and also Tom Miller’s porn-watching pal. A dark stretch, but could the young boy have acted out something he’d seen online? 

The blokes we were already familiar with got even shiftier, not least Ian Winterman (a brilliantly nuanced performance from Charlie Higson) who revealed that he had drunk so much tequila that he blacked out. Then he woke up, guess where - by the lake of doom. He confessed all to Cath’s husband.  If I was going to confide in anyone, it would not be Jim “massive box of Durex” Atwood (Mark Bazeley) who definitely has a few secrets hiding in that garage. 

Talking of the Atwoods, we were given a glimpse at their home life this week– Cath asked her husband if he had anything to do with the attack. I’m pretty sure accusing your husband of rape is not the sign of a happy marriage. The Lucases' domestic arrangements were even more miserable. Clive’s wife, Lindsay (Becky Brunning), told Miller that her husband was a serial cheat. Then we heard that his empty car was seen in the car park at the time of the crime, contrary to what the taxi driver had said in his police interview. And what was the fishing twine seller, Leo (Chris Mason), deleting from Ian Winterman’s laptop? Are you keeping up?

As well as write a twisting whodunit, as I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, creator Chris Chibnall is on a mission to show the aftermath of a sex attack, both the procedural element and the impact on on the victim and their loved ones. This was movingly done here. Ian Winterman forced to call his estranged wife from outside the window as she cowered down in her safe place, back against the radiator, head in hands, was as powerful a scene as I’ve watched over all three series. “I love you, Trish,” he said, desperately, helplessly. Julie Hesmondhalgh continued her fine performance as Trish, trying to rebuild her life and engaging with Beth Latimer on her own tragedy, while blaming herself for what happened at the party.

Trish didn’t want to talk about who she’d slept with on the morning of the attack. Miller and Hardy took their usual different approaches. Miller, like a sympathetic pal you’d like to have a cup of tea with when the chips are down, and Hardy going in like a particularly ferocious dog with a very tasty bone, not worried if he bit anyone who got in his way. “We are probably going to retrieve his DNA from your bed sheets anyway. It’s quicker if you tell us.” 

Miller ticked him off for the heavy-handed approach. In case in case you hadn’t realised, she’s the benevolent face of modern policing, dutifully reminding viewers that violent sex attacks “are about power and control, not sex” and pouncing on Ed Burnett’s tired stereotype. “She’s not the sort of woman this happens to,” he said of his employee. “What sort of woman is that?” DS Miller snapped back. 

The detectives’ bickering brings some light relief to the trauma. “Eat your stupid scotch egg,” said Hardy as Miller badgered him to look after himself. Those dark circles under his eyes are growing.  He’s like that friend we had at uni who would pull all-nighters to get their essays in. They might have got a first, but nearly killed themselves getting there. Of course, it’s not just another crime Hardy is worried about, it’s also about protecting his daughter, Daisy, who he’s brought to Broadchurch in the hope of a fresh start. She’d already got in with some local yoofs, which Hardy was none too happy about – if he gets any shorter with people, none of us will be able to understand what he’s saying. 

It was nice to get some more of the cliffs and sea action this week and remember what an important part the Jurassic coast scenery plays in this show. A bleak, stormy beach is a good backdrop to a heart-to-heart, not least for the Latimers.  If you thought the Joe Miller trial was behind us, oh no, Mark Latimer is determined to try and bring him to justice. Alas he has a new identity and address, making things difficult. I predict a re-appearance, but let’s hope it doesn’t interfere with the giant, ridiculous but also ridiculously compelling manhunt.