In Depth

Broadchurch series three: Shock finale applauded as series comes to an end

Fans pay a fond farewell to David Tennant and Olivia Colman as they find out who attacked Trish Winterman

Spoiler alert: the following article reveals key plot points from episode eight

Nine million viewers tuned in to watch the final episode of ITV's hit Dorset-set crime drama Broadchurch.

After a nail-biting eight weeks, during which detectives Alec Hardy (David Tennant) and Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) investigated a series of clues, suspects and red herrings, fans finally discovered who had brutally assaulted Trish Winterman (Julie Hesmondhalgh).

But to the surprise of many, the culprit was not one, but two men.

Student Michael Lucas (Deon Lee-William), the son of taxi driver Clive, admitted he had raped Trish at the urging of his friend Leo Humphries (Chris Mason), who filmed the assault on his phone.

It received glowing reviews from critics, both for its gripping plot and moral themes.

Michael Hogan in the Daily Telegraph says Broadchurch "kept us guessing until the last 20 minutes" with a "smartly paced" script that "purred along pleasingly" until the "largely satisfactory yet emotionally exhausting episode".  

Hardy and Miller's slow-burning manhunt built to "a compelling crescendo", he writes, with the best saved for last. The two police officers "spikily agreed not to go for a drink together" and their "irascibly affectionate double act will be much missed".

Katie Jenkins on the Huffington Post applauds the series for not only seeking to "analyse the individual distress of the victim", but provoking "a searing condemnation of modern masculinity".

Rape counselling services praised the show's portrayal of the reality of rape, the London Evening Standard reports, while police also hailed Broadchurch as "harrowing viewing" with a "vital message".

Fans, meanwhile, were distraught the series had come to an end.

Any hopes that it could be back were dashed by series creator Chris Chibnall, who confirmed this was the last we'll see of the dark Dorset drama.

Speaking to Radio Times, he said Broadchurch had been an "extraordinary" journey for all involved, but "there will be no more after this one, absolutely".

Another reason viewers probably won't be seeing more Broadchurch is that Chibnall is now off to tackle the adventures of the Time Lord, after being appointed showrunner of the 11th series of Doctor Who next year.

Broadchurch series three: Key questions after episode 7

11 April

With one instalment left of ITV's gripping crime drama Broadchurch to go, the investigation of Trish Winterman's brutal rape intensified with police uncovering new evidence – and audiences also detecting a glaring error.

Episode seven of the third and final season saw detectives DS Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) and DI Alec Hardy (David Tennant) closing in on the person responsible for the attack on Trish (Julie Hesmondhalgh).

It also offered a reprieve of sorts for Mark Latimer (Andrew Buchan), who many had feared drowned himself after failing to find consolation from confronting his son's killer.

And there were also plenty of questions for viewers to ponder…

Whose DNA is on sock number two?

Broadchurch served up another big cliffhanger as Hardy confirmed that a sock found on the Axehampton estate was used to gag Trish during her attack. It was a big revelation, but there was more to come as police also discovered it had someone else's DNA on it. But whose?  

Is Jim the main suspect now?

Episode seven also nudged us towards seriously considering local mechanic Jim Atwood (Mark Bazeley) as the chief suspect.

The revelation that he had slept with Trish on the morning of the attack seemed to discount him for a while, but we now know the two of them argued that evening and he later failed to have his way with a waitress.

Jim also has links to the other attacks too, as previous victims Laura (Kelly Gough) and Nira (Ellora Torchia) both called for breakdown services before they were assaulted. Added to that, his wife Cath is unable to account for his whereabouts on the key dates.

Then there is the fact the garage sponsors the local football team, who wear the type of socks found at the crime scene. The evidence is mounting.

Why does Clive have "trophies" from women?

Creepy taxi driver Clive Lucas (Sebastian Armesto) also put himself back in the spotlight with his unpleasant behaviour.

We already know he's the one supplying his son Michael - and therefore Miller's son Joe - with porn. Now his wife has discovered trophy-like items stashed in his drawer, including a set of house keys belonging to Trish.

Will Clive be able to talk himself out of this one - and if not, how will he handle his wife?

Why is Leo lying?

Leo Humphries (Chris Mason) works in his father's fishing supply business and has been under scrutiny ever since the twine used in the attack was discoveredHe has also been obstructive to Hardy and Miller and lied about his whereabouts on the night of Trish's attack.

Now it's been revealed that he was at Axehampton and that he also installed spyware on Trish's laptop. Plus his girlfriend let slip that the false alibi she provided was the third favour she had done him, which could mean she has previously helped cover his tracks.

Leo is also a member of the local football team, which links him to the offending socks.

However, the show also revealed his vulnerable side, with the story that Leo might have killed himself over his parents' divorce if Ian hadn't offered him support.

Who put the bag of twine back at the farm shop?

Hardy and Miller weren't the only ones making discoveries this episode. DC Katie Hartford (Georgina Campbell) was called to the farm shop by her father Ed Burnett (Lenny Henry) – the first time the two were linked.

He revealed a key piece of evidence which he claimed he had never seen before, showing Katie a bag containing bundles of bloodstained blue twine – the same type that was used in Trish's brutal rape.

The bag is probably the same one viewers were shown being removed by a mysterious gloved hand at the end of episode one so who put it there: the attacker; an accomplice, or someone trying to implicate Ed?

What happened to Katie's police training?

One problem with this new piece of evidence, however, is the way Katie handled it. Fans of the show were shocked by her unprofessional behaviour as she rifled through the bag, possibly contaminating the evidence. Viewers tweeted their dismay at her behaviour. Let's hope it isn't the vital clue needed to convict the rapist.

Broadchurch concludes next Monday at 9pm on ITV.

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