With a predominantly unchanged cast bar a few new faces and a more focused soap-opera style drama, Season 2 of Broadchurch is a step back from Season 1 but still manages to pull off a consistent plot and some great acting throughout. There’s another mystery woven through the episodes but it feels like an afterthought, for a season that focuses heavily on a court case and the ensuing aftermath of last season’s shocking reveal.
The opening episodes feel a little messy and uneven, with a shifting narrative between the two returning protagonists Detective Miller (Olivia Colman) and Alec Hardy (David Tennant) and the Latimer family as they continue to deal with the death of their son. The mystery does feel clumsily handled early on, with the court case dominating screen time which isn’t helped by the writing which isn’t as strong this time around. Despite the importance of the mystery to DI Hardy’s haunting past, being the one case he was never able to solve, it never quite feels as engrossing as last season with the main attraction this time around being the court case and the fate of the killer.
With new characters Sharon Bishop (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) and Jocelyn Knight (Charlotte Rampling) taking up the positions at opposing sides of the court case, it makes for an interesting power play and dynamic to the show. Their talented speeches and arguments, coupled with emotionally charged acting really helps elevate an otherwise formulaic court case that does become a little too much like a soap opera at times. With some questionable decisions and plot holes that aren’t easy to overlook early on, Season 2 does take a little while to get into a good rhythm. When the show does settle though, it delivers some incredibly intense scenes and the penultimate result of the court case is really well shot and acted throughout. The other side of the coin, the mystery, is interesting the longer the season goes on but its a shame that the mystery isn’t as well executed as it could have been with an ending that’s just as satisfying and engrossing as the first season.
Despite all of this, the second season of Broadchurch still makes for some compelling television. The acting is solid all round, with a little less overacting too. A predominantly unchanged cast makes the chemistry between the characters feel even more authentic than before and the talented duo at the forefront, Tennant and Colman, are outstanding yet again. With more emphasis on their professional relationship, the script allows for some very interesting scenes between the two that help elevate the show yet again.
Having said all of this, there’s a lot to like from the second season of Broadchurch. Although it isn’t quite at the same level as the first season, the camera work, acting and latter half of the season are all very good indeed. The season does take a little while to get into a rhythm and the disjointed nature of the court case along with a conflicting mystery feel at odds early on but the longer the season goes on, the better it gets. It’s not perfect, and there are some questionable plot holes in the court case but they’re easy to overlook with such a strong ending to the season. Whilst a second visit to the town of Broadchurch doesn’t hold quite the same allure as before, it’s still worth a visit in this crime drama that continues to thrill and surprise right up until the last frame.
Verdict - 7/10