‘Broadchurch’ Postmortem: Creator Chris Chibnall on ‘Seeing Hardy in a New Light’

David Tennant as Alec Hardy, Olivia Colman as Ellie Miller, and Lenny Henry as Ed Burnett in BBC America’s ‘Broadchurch’ (Photo: Colin Hutton/BBC America)

Episode 3 of Broadchurchs final season cast, to quote Olivia Colman’s Miller, “a scarily wide net” of suspects for the rape of Trish Winterman (Julie Hesmondhalgh), who has now received flowers with an unsigned card reading “Thinking of you” on top of anonymous texts that said, “Shut up. SHUT UP OR ELSE” and “I’m sorry.”

Leading the list is cab driver Clive Lucas (Sebastian Armesto), who tried to downplay his history of showing unwelcome interest in female riders, yet was seen placing Trish’s keychain in what looked an awful lot like a trophy drawer. Turns out he’s unhappily married to his college sweetheart, who knows he’s cheated on her for the last 10 years but won’t leave him because he married her when he found out she was pregnant from her previous relationship and vows mean something to her. (“It makes me ashamed to be a man,” Hardy said after meeting her. Read David Tennant’s take on Hardy’s struggle here.) Their son is Michael (Deon Williams), the friend with whom Ellie’s son Tom (Adam Wilson) was suspended from school for distributing porn. Clive told Miller and Hardy he lied about his whereabouts the night of Trish’s attack because he’d pocketed the cash from accepting an unscheduled fare (a no-no in Britain, apparently) — a man he described as a “relieved”-looking thirtysomething heading away from the location of the party, where Trish was raped.

Charlie Higson as Ian Winterman and Mark Bazeley as Jim Atwood (Photo Credit: Colin Hutton/BBC America)

Next is Trish’s estranged husband, Ian (Charlie Higson), who we learned blacked out at the party and only remembers waking up in the grass near the lake, where Trish was assaulted. He also had a clandestine meeting with the “swaggery young s**t” Leo Humphries (Chris Mason), who’d put something on Trish’s laptop for Ian that Ian would now like deleted before anyone discovers it.

Then there’s Trish’s boss, Ed Burnett (Lenny Henry), who was seen heading off into the gardens the night of Trish’s attack after he’d had a row with Jim Atwood (Mark Bazeley), the husband of Cath (Sarah Parish). Cath point-blank asked Jim if he’d raped their friend. “Yeah, just another evening in their household,” Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall quipped in our weekly postmortem.

Sarah Parish as Cath Atwood and Julie Hesmondhalgh as Trish Winterman in ‘Broadchurch’ (Photo: Colin Hutton/BBC America)

We asked him about two key scenes this week. The first is when Trish, after having a heart-to-heart with Beth (Jodie Whittaker), reached out to Cath. The two took a walk on the beach and had a chilling conversation about the pool of suspects/friends at Cath’s party. “How many do you think would be capable?” Trish asked. “Well, after a few drinks…” Cath answered.

“The unknown nature of it and the terrifying possibility that it could have been anybody at that party is really horrifying for Trish, and also for Cath really,” Chibnall said. “That was a way for these two women to be talking about the cold, hard fact of the numbers at that party, but also to slightly see the difference in approaches that they’re both going to have as well.” (Insert Trish’s quietly appalled face when Cath marveled at an attack happening at a catered 50th birthday party.)

(Photo: BBC America)

The second scene is the chat between Hardy and Miller that finally shed some light on Hardy’s return to Broadchurch. We learned Ellie hadn’t heard from him in two years before he showed back up in town, now with teen daughter Daisy (Hannah Rae) in tow. He said he’d been trying to make it work with his ex, but eventually Daisy got herself into trouble and both she and he were at odds with her mother. He came back to Broadchurch to give Daisy another chance, like he’d gotten, even though he hates it there (“mostly”).

“At the end of Season 2, you see him deciding whether or not to return home. He did, he tried, it didn’t work,” Chibnall says. “What I think is the thing that’s unspoken between him and Ellie is they’ve both become single parents, trying to do their best in very different ways. And, actually, though she never gives him the credit for it, I think she’s impressed that Hardy has returned here because he thinks it’s the best thing for Daisy, not really because he thinks it’s the best thing for him. He’s done it to give her a fresh start. We see him in a new light this series, really trying to do his best for his daughter and trying to be a better father.”

Broadchurch airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on BBC America.

Read more from Yahoo TV:
‘Broadchurch’ Season 3 Episode 2 Postmortem: Creator Chris Chibnall on Season 3’s Growing List of Suspects
‘Broadchurch’ Season 3 Premiere Postmortem: Creator Chris Chibnall on the Final Case
‘Broadchurch’ Final Season: David Tennant Previews Hardy and Miller’s Slight Role Reversal