'Broadchurch' Producer on The Final Season: 'I Think the Audience Will Be Very Pleased With the Journey'

Ileane Rudolph

Tennant and Colman

Broadchurch returns for one last season, and its titular English seaside town has been rocked once more by a heinous act of violence. Trish (Julie Hesmondhalgh), a middle-aged local woman, has been brutally assaulted, but as we’ve learned from this beloved series, her case is in pretty good hands.

Detective Inspector Alec Hardy (David Tennant) has returned to work—and to bicker—with Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman, above, with Tennant), bringing with him his 17-year-old daughter, Daisy (Hannah Rae). “The cracks in Broadchurch haven’t completely healed since the murder of young Danny Latimer in Season 1,” producer Dan Winch says, “and we again explore the effect of a terrible crime on the town. A sexual predator seems to be on the loose, and there’s a growing paranoia.”

It’s Trish, of course, who suffers most. “Her journey is harrowing and heartbreaking,” Winch says, noting that reports of sexual assault are on the rise. “[Show creator] Chris Chibnall has wanted to tell this story for some time and to break down the stereotypes that surround rape.”

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Who assaulted Trish? And who is the man whose name she won’t reveal that she had consensual sex with before the attack? As in past seasons, the whodunit keeps us wondering as each episode spends some time on new hometown suspects, including Trish’s boss, a womanizing taxi driver and even Trish’s estranged husband.

Not to fear, though—there are some familiar faces still in town, including vicar Paul Coates (Arthur Darvill) and Season 1 victim Danny’s parents, Beth (Jodie Whittaker) and Mark (Andrew Buchan), who now live apart. And still no one knows where Olivia’s husband, Joe (Matthew Gravelle), has gone since he was acquitted of Danny’s murder, despite his overwhelming guilt.

The show’s popularity both here and in the U.K. hasn’t waned, but Chibnall—who is now showrunner on the same network’s Doctor Who—has no plans to bring the show back. “It feels like a fitting end,” Winch agrees. “Broadchurch has always been about feeling very real. I think the audience will be very pleased with the journey and the conclusions reached.”

Broadchurch, Season Premiere, Wednesday, June 28, 10/9c, BBC America