Broadchurch Series 3: Explosive opening for a touchy subject

It’s back and returning to it’s roots.

It’s kind of liberating to return to the blog in word form but we’re not here to talk about my medium dilemmas. The popular award winning detective series Broadchurch is back and it looks like we’re in for quite the final season.

Alec Hardy and Ellie Miller are taking part in one final romp but there is no dead boy on a beach this time. Instead they’re dealing with a very different but just as devastating crime, rape. One thing that sets Broadchurch apart from most detective series is that it gives you a real insight into the repercussions of the crime on it’s victims and from the first 15 minutes you get a clear sense of that. Our victim, Trish, is taken through a series of interviews and bleak examinations to gather as much evidence as possible to catch the culprit. The way it is portrayed is done through class and sensitivity by both the direction and Julie Hesmondhalgh herself. It is clear to say the production team and actress both did their research and what we are left with is a lesson on what sexual assault victims experience after they report the crime.

It is no secret that sexual assault needs to be handled with much care and respect when portraying it on screen as it is very likely that viewers watching may have gone through this experience themselves. Dealing with such a traumatic experience would take it’s toll on any human being so Broadchurch had the responsibility to treat the subject matter with dignity and class. When you make the decision to explore something as dreadful as rape you automatically put a lot of pressure on yourself to ensure that the topic doesn’t simply become a plot device but a way of raising awareness and educating the audience on what they are possibly unlikely to know. Judging by the first episode Broadchurch strikes the perfect balance between engaging drama and plausible story as Trish’s reactions to her sexual assault are both believable and superbly acted.

So we have our set up and Broadchurch subsequently hits you with a flurry of questions. Why did Trish wait so long to report the attack? Why were there so many men at the party? Why are we STILL following the Latimer’s story? Okay so that last question was a bit of a reach but when they appeared, even though I knew they would be appearing in this series, I felt as though they would take away from the story that was being told. However thankfully it’s good to know that they will have some involvement going forward as Beth Latimer’s work at the Crisis Centre will see her cross paths with Trish. These questions are what should be expected of a crime drama however they are all engaging and ones we desperately want answers to and will undoubtably make us keep watching.

We are taken to the possible scene of the crime where we find the corner of a condom wrapper and a blood stained rock which was likely used to hit Trish over the nut. This is all eerily overshadowed by the noise of the water that Trish predominantly remembered from the night of the attack. This eeriness along with Olafur Arnalds score captures the atmosphere perfectly and makes Broadchurch such a gripping piece of television. The music isn’t there for show but acts as more of a tour guide and carries you cautiously through the story but not letting you miss anything along the way.

We also get to meet Cath, Trish’s friend who hosted the party where the sexual assault took place, aswell as her shady husband Jim who is definitely everyone’s first suspect. Which also means it’s likely to not be him. His shady aura, the fact that he had a pack of condoms in his car and his distant reaction to the shocking news of the rape place him firmly in the spotlight. That’s the thing with crime dramas in general though. You never really want it to be who you think it is because then the reveal is that less dramatic. But there are seven more weeks of twist and turns which means Jim will begin to fade in and out of the firing line as new evidence and new suspects come into play.

This was truly an enticing set up to what should be a rollercoaster of a final series. I don’t know why series 2 gets so much hate, I mean of course it was not as good as series 1 but I think it took real courage for the show to take the story in that direction. It may not have worked out as well as they planned but it looks like they’ve learned their lesson and have revisited the formula which made series 1 so critically acclaimed. I have no idea whodunnit as I firmly believe we have not met them yet but I am sure that I will have a great deal of fun piecing it all together.

Can I just add that fans of Broadchurch should definitely give the American AMC/Netflix series The Killing a watch which Broadchurch has in fact been compared to.

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