"I used to assume that grief was something inside that you could fight and vanquish, but it’s not. It’s an external thing, like a shadow. You can’t escape it, you just have to live with it. And it doesn’t grow any smaller. You just come to accept that it’s there…." — "Broadchurch"
When it debuted in 2013, the British mystery series "Broadchurch" landed like a knock-out blow. The eight-episode slow burn, about the investigation into the murder of a young boy in a small seaside village, was intense, riveting, and emotional.
"Broadchurch" was just about the best show I saw that year. It's finale — in which the killer is revealed — was one of the finest episodes I'd ever seen. It was emotional, beautifully constructed, and packed a huge punch. It felt like the perfect ending to a great, self-contained story.
Then it was announced that "Broadchurch" would return for a second season. (The second season has already aired in the U.K., but premiers Wednesday in the United States. It's already been renewed in England for a third series). "Broadchurch" felt like a perfect, self-contained story. It felt like a show that was complete in eight episodes and didn't need anything more.
So I approached the second season with trepidation. How do you add to something that felt complete and so perfectly cast. Having seen the first five episodes of season two, I can say that the creators of "Broadchurch" have found a fascinating way forward.
"Broadchurch" remains a compelling show, thanks in large part to its main characters — David Tennant as Alec Hardy and Olivia Coleman as Ellie Miller. They have a great rapport, and they help make the show hum.
The second season focuses on two pieces — the trial of Joe Miller and trying to solve the case that landed Alec Hardy in Broadchurch to begin with. On the first aspect, Charlotte Rampling and Marianne Jean-Baptiste join the cast as opposing lawyers in the trial. The excellent actors have helped to ramp up the drama and added depth to the story.
On the second account, James D'Arcy joins the cast as the prime suspect in the case Hardy couldn't solve. As always, there is plenty of intrigue, plenty of drama, and some great interplay among the characters.
The show also still finds time to make a meditation on grief in following the Latimer family, explores the slow healing process for the town, and further builds on the relationship, friendship, and partnership between Hardy and Miller.
I was skeptical about a second season of "Broadchurch," but as soon as the action starts, it's great to have Hardy, Miller and the rest of the Broadchurch gang back to see the story continue and evolve.