Another Broadchurch mystery was solved tonight as ITV confirmed that the drama would be returning for a third series with David Tennant and Olivia Colman both in the cast.
The broadcaster made the announcement as the credits rolled on the final episode of series 2 which saw a shocking verdict delivered in the Joe Miller case and the solving of the Sandbrook murders.
In tonight’s episode Miller was found not guilty of the murder of Danny Latimer. But Claire, Ricky and Lee were all shown to have been involved in the murder of 12-year-old Pippa Gillespie and 19-year-old Lisa Newberry in the long-running Sandbrook saga.
Miller may have walked free but he was also exiled from the community after being taken to the clifftop hideaway where he committed his crime by Danny’s father Mark Latimer. There Joe was confronted by Beth Latimer (Jodie Whitaker) and his wife Ellie (Olivia Colman).
It seems unlikely that Joe will feature in series three but ITV has confirmed that Colman and David Tennant will be returning to the drama.
However question marks over the exact role played by Tennant’s Alec Hardy remain.
As he said his farewells to Colman’s DS Miller he was left standing by a waiting cab and scanning the horizon as the driver asked him “Where to, then Sir?”.
Will he return to form another double act with Ellie? All we know for sure is that he didn’t get in the cab….
One thing that seems certain is that one or two questions about Miller and Hardy’s handling of the Danny Latimer case will be asked.
Both coppers did not emerge well from the Miller verdict, with the defence team arguing that they were having an affair and had concocted the case against Joe to get him out of the way. Ellie, who is technically now a uniformed copper on patrol duty, may have to work her way back to favour.
But at least the Millers and Latimers have found some peace at the end of series two, playing and laughing together on the beach where Danny’s body was found at the start of series one.
ITV’s Director of Drama Steve November said: “[Creator and writer] Chris Chibnall knows exactly how to keep viewers guessing and I’m delighted that he is going to take the story onto the next stage.”
Chibnall added: “We’ve been overwhelmed that nine million people every week have continued to join us on the twists and turns of Broadchurch. This third chapter has been a glint in my eye for a long time and I’m thrilled to be writing these characters once again.”
Broadchurch series 3 is likely to be filmed this summer and is poised to return in the autumn of 2016 or early 2017 according to ITV sources.
Details of other cast members and filming dates will be confirmed at a later date, ITV said.