In my previous post I discussed the viability of some programmes returning to our screens after their premise has been filled. I made a brief reference to Broadchurch, citing it as a potential example of a show that had a satisfactory resolution that has had a second series tagged on to it to satiate the hunger from TV execs. I promised to return to it more in-depth as the series progressed to offer my assessment. Well, here it is.

The first question to be answered is ‘would just one series have sufficed’? In other words, did all the questions we needed to be answered get answered? Yes, it did, in that the killer was caught and the motive explained. It ended the way we wanted and expected. But also no, and it is the no that leads me to the second question.

This question is ‘Are there any more stories to tell?’ Well if the answer to question one is no, the answer to this question must be yes. For a start, let’s look at the existing characters. DS Miller’s life has fallen apart, both professionally and personally. Olivia Colman has nailed that blurred line of someone who has both been toughened up and broken down by events. And then there is DI Hardy, still haunted by his past mistakes. Having said that, the plotline of the Sandbrook case is currently not gripping me. It could be that Eve Myles is restricted to pulling ‘scared Bambi’ face for most of her scenes, or maybe that we don’t know this new community, so any twists and turns feel shallow.

One story definitely worth revisiting is that of the Latimer’s. Watching the court case tear at their family all over again is gripping. More importantly, we are shown the stark reality of being the family of the victim. More than on any other crime drama, we are shown that the grieving doesn’t stop at the point of arrest. It is permanent. The wounds inflicted them in the courtroom are painful because the original cuts have not even begun to heal.

Then there are new characters to consider. The animosity between the two QC’s adds a new frisson of tension. And how smart to name them after chess pieces – Knight and Bishop – when a court case is all about strategy. At the moment the defence seem to be winning, thanks to Miller and Hardy somehow running the most unprofessional investigation in history. There is clearly more background to these characters, but that right now feels incidental.

So is the return a good idea? Absolutely. But not because the central premise had been unfulfilled. Chris Chibnall is much better than to extend the story beyond its shelf life. Rather, he has adjusted the central premise. This is not about a community torn apart by a terrible crime. It’s about a community that doesn’t know how to repair itself.

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