×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TV Review: ‘Broadchurch,’ Season 2

With:
David Tennant, Olivia Colman, Andrew Buchan, Jodie Whittaker, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Charlotte Rampling, James D’Arcy, Eve Myles, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Matthew Gravelle, Charlotte Beaumont, Adam Wilson, Arthur Darvill, Simone McAullay, Joe Sims, Carolyn Pickles, Jonathan Bailey, Tanya Franks

The question “What do you do for an encore?” appeared particularly daunting for “Broadchurch,” the U.K. series that traced a single murder to a clearly resolved (and what many deemed shattering) climax. Yet writer-producer Chris Chibnall has met the challenge and then some, not so much returning to the scene of the crime as reloading, continuing to follow the first season’s aftermath while introducing a new storyline alongside it. By that measure, it’s perhaps a more delicate operation than the original, but after Fox’s “Gracepoint” unsuccessfully tried to replicate the concept, fans will surely relish another plunge into “Broadchurch’s” seaside environs.

Anyone still contemplating starting with season one should read no further. But as it turns out, solving the murder of 11-year-old Danny Latimer — which led back to the doorstep of local cop Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) — hasn’t completely ended the community’s nightmare.

That’s because Ellie’s husband (Matthew Gravelle), who confessed for unsettling reasons, unexpectedly enters a “not guilty” plea. So that part of the story turns to the courtroom and battling barristers, putting a veteran but semi-retired prosecutor (Charlotte Rampling) up against a former protege (Marianne Jean-Baptiste), who quickly seeks to unravel the case by impugning the reputations of Ellie and her partner, Alec Hardy (David Tennant, mercifully divorced, after his U.S. detour, from his American accent).

Yet that’s only half the story, as one of Hardy’s old investigations also pops up to haunt him, involving the disappearance of two girls, age 19 and 12. Happily, in terms of the addition of talent, the mystery focuses on the neighbor (James D’Arcy, unrecognizable from his work in “Marvel’s Agent Carter”) who was Hardy’s primary suspect at the time, and said neighbor’s wife (“Torchwood’s” Eve Myles), whom Hardy has pledged to protect.

Initially, anyway, Chibnall does a fine job of juggling these two plots, while incorporating elements like the pain of Danny’s parents (Jodie Whittaker, Andrew Buchan), Ellie’s attempts to get on with her life, and the memories revisited by the trial. Indeed, the writer has essentially kept just enough from the first season to get away with still calling this “Broadchurch” while morphing it into what almost feels like an entirely different show.

There’s risk in that, but it’s diminished considerably by the actors who have come aboard, and the fact that while most shows in this genre end when the handcuffs are slapped on, in reality the drama continues for the family and others connected to such a sensational murder.

In the interest of disclosure, this comes from one of the few critics who wasn’t completely over-the-moon appraising “Broadchurch,” feeling the haunted detective and identity of the killer were both cliched enough to slightly undercut its many admirable qualities.

“Broadchurch” has already concluded in the U.K. — triggering much debate about its merits — and a third season is in the works. Not every show is built to last, and this one hardly appeared like an ideal candidate for multiple visits. Midway through season two, however, those who knelt in admiration the first time have little reason as yet to question their faith.

 

TV Review: 'Broadchurch,' Season 2

(Series; BBC America, Wed. March 4, 9 p.m.)

Production: Filmed in the U.K. by Imaginary Friends in association with Kudos for ITV and BBC America.

Crew: Executive producers, Chris Chibnall, Jane Featherstone; producer, Richard Stokes; director, James Strong; writer, Chibnall; camera, John Conroy; production designer, Simon Rogers; editor, Mike Jones; music, Olafur Arnalds; casting, Victor Jenkins, Kelly Valentine Hendry. 60 MIN.

Cast: David Tennant, Olivia Colman, Andrew Buchan, Jodie Whittaker, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Charlotte Rampling, James D’Arcy, Eve Myles, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Matthew Gravelle, Charlotte Beaumont, Adam Wilson, Arthur Darvill, Simone McAullay, Joe Sims, Carolyn Pickles, Jonathan Bailey, Tanya Franks

More TV

  • Baztan Elizondo Guardián Invisible

    Conecta Fiction: Spain’s Navarre Primes Film-TV Gameplan

    MADRID  — Navarre has been a long-term film and TV shooting locale thanks to diverse and sometimes stunning landscapes that take in the Bardenas Reales badlands, immortalized in titles such as “The World Is Not Enough” and “Game of Thrones.” One of Spain’s richest regions, Navarre has historically levied its own tax regime, which led [...]

  • Jeremy Sisto, Ebonee Noel, Dick Wolf,

    Dick Wolf Plots Cross-Network Crossover Between CBS, NBC

    Veteran television producer Dick Wolf, best known for creating the “Law & Order” franchise, is eyeing a cross-network crossover between his CBS freshman procedural “FBI” or its in-the-works spinoff “FBI: Most Wanted” and one of his NBC shows, such as “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” or “Chicago P.D.” The decision whether to go with [...]

  • Prince Albert II of Monaco (C),

    Jessica Alba, Gabrielle Union's 'L.A.’s Finest' Opens Monte Carlo TV Festival

    Prince Albert II of Monaco opened the 59th Monte Carlo Television Festival on Friday at a glittering ceremony at the principality’s Grimaldi Forum attended by Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba. The Hollywood actresses presented the French premiere of their action cop series “L.A.’s Finest,” which has just been renewed for a second season. “You typically [...]

  • Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba'L.A.'s Finest'

    Jessica Alba, Gabrielle Union Speak About Horrific 'L.A.’s Finest' On-Set Accident

    Actresses Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba spoke about how the horrific accident on the set of their action cop series “L.A.’s Finest” affected them and the crew at the 59th Monte Carlo Television Festival Saturday. They also paid tribute to the main victim of the incident, executive producer/co-showrunner Brandon Sonnier, whose leg was amputated below [...]

  • Emmys: How a Social Media Campaign

    How a Social Media Campaign to Game the Emmys Led to This Week's 'Block Voting' Scandal

    The Television Academy’s “block voting” controversy has quickly become the talk of Emmy season — and that appears to have been the org’s point. According to multiple insiders, the number of people disqualified from voting in this year’s competition is believed to be small, only around three members (out of nearly 25,000 members overall). But [...]

  • No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No

    TV News Roundup: Hulu Drops Trailer for 'Veronica Mars' Revival (Watch)

    In today’s roundup, Hulu dropped the official trailer for the “Veronica Mars” revival and HBO revealed more cast members for “Lovecraft Country.” FIRST LOOKS Hulu has dropped the official trailer for its revival of “Veronica Mars,” set to premiere on July 26. The series will bring back most of the original cast, including Kristen Bell, Jason [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content