The third season of U.K. crime drama Broadchurch features two familiar cops in the form of David Tennant’s Alec Hardy and Olivia Colman’s Ellie Miller, but a brand new case for them to investigate in this final run of episodes.
“It’s three years later after the events of season 2,” says creator-writer Chris Chibnall. “Ellie and Hardy are called to investigate a woman sitting on the police station’s steps who’s made an accusation of sexual assault. The two officers begin to investigate the claim, and the community is placed under incredible pressure as people’s secrets, and the lies they’ve kept hidden come tumbling out into the open.”
The victim of the assault, Trish Winterman, is played by Broadchurch newcomer Julie Hesmondhalgh.
“Julie is one of Britain’s most beloved actresses, known for her work in the U.K. soap, Coronation Street,” says Chibnall. “I think she is an actor who embodies such incredible humanity and warmth and humor, and she plays this part with such delicacy and intensity and nuance. It’s a really extraordinary performance by somebody I think U.S. audiences won’t necessarily be familiar with, but I think they have a real treat in store.”
In casting other roles this season, Chibnall seems to have taken a leaf from the book of Martin Scorsese by having actors best known for their comedic work—notably Lenny Henry, Charlie Higson, and Roy Hudd—play “straight” parts.
“I mean, I’m always happy to be compared with Scorsese!” chuckles Chibnall. “But I think what actors who are skilled in comedy bring is a lightness of touch and a precision and a delicacy. I really love it. They’re really great at pathos, but they’re also great at looking for moments of humor within all these characters. When you’ve got such dark and sensitive and complex subject matter, you’re always looking for that. And actually, we’ve always done it, because Olivia Colman, before she did Broadchurch, was primarily known for comedy. I think sometimes actors who have predominately done comedy get a little typecast by some people. I always think it’s a great opportunity. Certainly, Lenny and Charlie and Roy Hudd, I really love what they do with the characters this season. So, yeah, it’s a particular taste of mine. But also, the audience loves to see actors doing new things.”
Broadchurch season 3 premieres on BBC America at 10 p.m. on June 28. Watch a trailer for the show, above.