TV Review: Broadchurch, Series 2

A return to Broadchurch isn’t quite as effective, as Series 2 broadens the canvas to another mystery rather than just focusing on the ramifications of Danny Latimer’s case

“Look what these men have done to us” “None of us have got anything left to hife”

As a continuation of the traumatic unfoldings of the first season, Series 2 of Chris Chibnall’s runaway hit series Broadchurch continues its excellent work. We rejoin the picturesque coastal Dorset town a few months down the line with the court case against Joe Miller about to start and rather brilliantly, it soon pulls the rug from us as he pleads not guilty to the murder of Danny Latimer. 

And so the revelations of the case are rehashed, old suspicions reignited and new ones stoked, and a gripping legal thriller emerges. Excellent casting choices make this fly as we’re treated to Charlotte Rampling and Marianne Jean-Baptiste duelling in court under Meera Syal’s jurisdiction. And Matthew Gravelle’s near-wordless performance as the accused is so very well done, as he comes under the glare of the community as they come to either take the stand or watch the trial.

Sadly, that is by no means where the show starts and finishes. Chibnall adds in what was hinted at as a subplot in the first series as a major story strand here, the unsolved Sandbrook child murder case that was haunting David Tennant’s DI Hardy so. It is crowbarred in in the most unlikely way at the start, and then swallows up more and more screen time as it turns into a way to rehabilitate Olivia Colman’s Ellie Miller who has been demoted back into uniform.

Eve Myles and James D’arcy make a decent fist of the persons of interest here, supported by further persons Amanda Drew and Shaun Dooley, but all the fannying about with Hardy’s neglect of his health is very wearisome. The only benefit of this focus is that it means we get the excellent Lucy Cohu popping in as his ex-wife. Not a bad sequel by any means, and entirely watchable, but not quite as gripping or emotionally acute as the first series.

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