Broadchurch season 3 review: Who raped Trish Winterman? 10 clues, theories and burning questions as David Tennant and Olivia Colman return

The ITV crime drama is back with some familiar characters and a dark new case for detectives Miller and Hardy.

Broadchurch series 3 has been a long time coming. It’s been two years since the slightly underwhelming second season and four since the story of murdered school boy Danny Latimer gripped the nation.

So will viewers still care about the small Dorset town, DI Alec Hardy and DS Ellie Miller and the dark dramas unfolding beyond the stunning Jurassic coastline?

Writer Chris Chibnall delivered a powerful and emotional opening to series 3, which suggests that the show can rediscover some of its original sparkle.

Oliva Colman and David Tennant remain the show’s strongest asset as the squabbling coppers and just like series one, they find themselves working a case that makes an immediate impact on them and the viewers.

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Ex-Coronation Street star Julie Hesmondhalgh plays Trish Waterman, who is the victim of a violent sexual attack at a part of her friend Cath. In a severe state of shock, she can remember very little and struggles to express even the things that she does.

Here are the 10 talking points, clues and burning questions from episode one:

  1. The show’s depiction of rape was powerful, sensitive and important

Writer Chris Chibnall and the cast have all stressed in the build-up to the new series that the most important part of the new episodes is striking the right tone with the depiction of rape.

Julie Hesmondhalgh delivered a stunning performance as the confused and apologetic Trish, struggling to find her voice after the attack.

Julie Hesmondhalgh as Trish Winterman

The show didn’t sugarcoat the incident and highlighted that despite all the support groups and sympathies of the police, nothing can stop an investigation into a sexual attack from feeling cold, clinical and intrusive.

Speaking about why he wanted to make series 3, Chibnall said: “I wanted to tell this story because these crimes are increasing. Recorded sexual offences have been increasing year on year for the past decade: the most recent annual statistics showed an increase of 41% in reported rapes, compared to the previous year.

“Representations of, and attitudes to, sex have become more oppositional and confrontational.”

  1. Is Cath’s husband guilty?

Shifty-looking mechanic Jim Atwood, the husband of Trish’s friend Cath is the first prime suspect for viewers. Not only did he commit the serious TV crime of looking incredibly dodgy, he was also keen for his wife not to visit Trish.

He’s also going to have to do some explaining about that opened pack of condoms in his car, which match the colour of the ripped packet found near the crime scene.

Cath and Jim Atwood in Broadchurch.

  1. What was that bag doing in the bushes?

The closing shot of the episode was of a village shop bag being found in the bushes near the crime scene.  It places grumpy shop owner Ed Burnett (Lenny Henry) on the suspect list.

 It seems like a very clumsy thing to do after what appears to be a very calculated crime, so we think this may be a red herring.

  1. Who is the man chewing gum?

After arriving at Trish’s house, Hardy watched a neighbour leaving in a car. He was chewing gum and referred to his female passenger as “darling”, which obviously makes this chap  a wrong ‘un.

However, we’re currently in the dark about who he is and how he’s connected to the story.

[Read more: Broadchurch series 3 - Julie Hesmondhalgh reveals all]

  1. Will Georgina Campbell solve the case?

Hardy and Miller are leading the investigation, but it was Georgina Campbell’s DC Katie Harford who caught our eye in episode one.

She may be naïve and inexperienced, but we suspect that she will be heavily involved in catching the guilty party. Campbell is an incredible actress and rising star, so the more she’s involved in series 3 the better as far as we’re concerned.

  1. What other clues did the show reveal?

Trish is clearly popular (all the pictures on her fridge), we know that she’s recently divorced and a single mum.

There were around 50 men at the party and it was easy to access even if you weren’t invited, so the suspect list is gigantic.

The attack looks like it was planned as they used methods that would protect them from detection such as using a condom and placing a device in Trish’s mouth.

[Read more: Broadchurch - David Tennant and Olivia Colman reveal show secrets]

The attack took place near a waterfall at the grounds of Cath’s party – the sound of the water masked the attack, but it was still out in the open.

The attack took place on a Saturday night, but Trish went home and didn’t report the attack for 48 hours.

  1. Why are we following the Latimer’s story?

The Latimer family in Broadchurch.

Keeping Beth and Mark Latimer involved in the third series prevents the show morphing into an unbelievable Midsomer Murders-esque town, where crimes are committed and the victims disappear. However, it did feel like the presence of the Latimer family was shoe-horned into the episode.

Beth has become a crisis counsellor and has been allocated Trish’s case. Meanwhile, Mark is living on his own in a gloomy flat, sulking about his decision to sell his story about Danny’s death for a tawdry book.

[Read more: Broadchurch - meet the cast of Series 3]

Arthur Darvill’s vicar and Carolyn Pickles newspaper editor Maggie Radcliffe also made cameos in the opening episode, but hopefully they will be kept to the sidelines, allowing the new case and characters time and room to breath.

  1. Is Tom Miller’s storyline supposed to be serious or comic relief?

Possibly the only bum note in episode one was the storyline involving Ellie’s son Tom, played by Adam Wilson.

The teenager has been excluded for sharing porn with classmates and although hearing Olivia Colman shouting “porn” in a Devon accent is relatively amusing, the sub-plot didn’t strike the right tone.

Presumably, Chibnall wants to discuss the dangers of porn in shaping sexual attitudes, but this plot felt more like comic relief than a serious discussion.

Ed Burnett (Lenny Henry) in Broadchurch

  1. Will Trish’s husband be the prime suspect?

Trish revealed that she had been separated from her husband Ian from six months. Played by Charlie Higson, we’re yet to meet her ex, but details about the series pre-episode 1 revealed that Ian was in a relationship with a new woman.

Ian is likely to be a number one suspect for the police – Hardy is already chasing his details – so it will be interesting to see if he has an alibi.

  1. What was the fight about at Cath’s birthday party?

Cath inadvertently revealed to Hardy and Miller that there was a falling out at her party, which might have been worthy of police investigation.

She said that it involved her husband Jim and her boss Ed – but what were they scrapping about and why did Cath think the police might have got involved?


Did you enjoy Broadchurch series 3? What questions do you want answered after episode one? Have your say in the Comments below

Photo Credits: SISTER PICTURES/ITV Pictures