What lies in store for Alec Hardy, Ellie Miller and co in Broadchurch series three?

As the dust settles on season two, Ben Dowell predicts a whole lot of trouble in store for Dorset’s favourite coppers in the third series...

So it’s goodbye Broadchurch series two… roll on Broadchurch series three, with the news that the show’s leading coppers, played by Olivia Colman and David Tennant, will be returning to action.


But what kind of action?

Things were pretty grim for detectives Alex Hardy and Ellie Miller for much of series two.

Ellie had to watch as her husband pleaded not guilty to the murder of schoolboy Danny Latimer, inflicting further pain and anguish on the family of the kid we knew he had killed. And then he got off.

Hardy’s travails – a heart operation and the fact that the woman he thought he was protecting (Eve Myles’ Claire Ripley) turned out to be an accomplice in a separate (double) child murder – almost pale by comparison.

But if anything (and knowing Broadchurch as we do) things could get even stickier for the pair in the third run.

Both characters will probably face a lot of questioning from their superiors following the acquittal of Joe Miller.

It doesn’t help that Ellie, technically now a uniformed copper on patrol duty, was married to the chief suspect. Ok, that wasn’t her fault. But nearly everything else was.

Joe Miller’s defence team – lead by Marianne Jean-Baptiste’s snarlingly combative Sharon – used Ellie’s misguided behaviour (meeting up with Hardy in a hotel, lending her sister a sizeable sum of money) to argue that the two detectives were having an affair and had concocted the case against Joe to get him out of the way. 

And Ellie will also probably be asked to account for the fact that she beat Joe up while he was in custody – meaning that his confession was not submitted as evidence to the jury.

Her bosses – and the wider Broadchurch community – will probably take a long time to forgive her for spoiling the case against her husband.

Hardy also cocked up in allowing the murder victim’s Dad, Mark Latimer, to visit the suspect in his cell. It’s not the kind of conduct that gets ‘by-the-book’ chief constables doling out gold stars to their officers. And the last we were aware, Hardy had left active duty and was some kind of police lecturer.

But what about the other Broadchurch folk?

I think most of us would agree that it would be kinder to leave the Latimers alone in series three. They have been through enough – a murdered child, Mark’s infidelities aired in court and finally the fact that their child’s killer gets off scott-free. How nice just to leave them on the beach, with a smile on their faces as they played with their surviving children. But this is Broadchurch, so they’ll probably get wiped out in the next series. Or turn out to be killers themselves.

There is probably still a role for the local newspaper editor Maggie, tenacious news reporter Olly Stevens and – as long as people continue to commit sins, which they tend to in this part of Dorset – Arthur Darvill’s vicar, the Rev Paul Coates.

Charlotte Rampling’s veteran prosecutor Jocelyn Knight, meanwhile, seemed to forgive her former protege Sharon for winning the Miller case in an underhand way and the two agreed to team up again. It was a nice moment, but I rather hope we won’t be getting another trial. Especially if Lee, Claire and Ricky Gillespie do a Joe Miller and get off the Sandbrook charges…


Broadchurch series three is expected to begin filming in the summer