SPOILER ALERT – please be aware that major plot details are revealed in the following story
Broadchurch fans took to social media to post their reactions as the ITV crime drama reached its shocking finale on Monday night.
The third and final series ended with cab driver Clive’s 16-year-old son Michael (Deon Lee-Williams) revealed as Trish Winterman’s rapist, having been forced into it by his friend Leo Humphries (Chris Mason).
Humphries also admitted raping three other women previously.
The eight-part story – by writer and series creator Chris Chibnall – has been widely praised for how it has handled its harrowing subject matter.
Actor Robert Lindsay praised Olivia Colman, who plays detective sergeant Ellie Miller, writing: “#broadchurch is great TV but Olivia Coleman is probably the most honest actor and is a joy to watch her.”
TV presenter Gaby Roslin picked out actor Andrew Buchan, who plays Mark Latimer, for particular praise.
Latimer’s son was murdered in series one and he has been seen struggling to cope throughout series three.
She said: “When the award season happens I do hope #AndrewBuchan gets an award. Superb performance & utterly heartbreaking in #broadchurch @ITV.”
Other fans concurred – Jack Longstaff tweeted: “Brilliantly written. Loved @BroadchurchTV from start to finish.”
‘Top of its game’
Critics were broadly positive about the finale, but many criticised certain elements of the series as the whole.
In his four-star review in The Telegraph, Michael Hogan wrote: “After a disappointing second series, this third chapter in Chibnall’s trilogy represented a return to the fine form of the debut run.
But he added that the dialogue during Leo’s confession “didn’t quite ring true – a rare misstep in a series which has strived for authenticity and procedural accuracy”.
Metro‘s Claire Rutter said: “While it didn’t quite surpass the original series, Chris Chibnall and his team should take a bow as it did reaffirm that British crime drama can be at the top of its game and really keep you in suspense week by week.”
But, she added, in her three-star review: “This series didn’t live up to the intensity and suspense of ‘who killed Danny Latimer?’ stopping abruptly at the cusp of rabbit holes rather than exploring the warrens like season one leading to believable red herrings.”
Tom Eames praised the show but also sounded a dissenting note in his review for Digital Spy.
“Broadchurch at its best was one of the best crime dramas the UK has ever produced,” he said.
“But conversely, it can also be one of the most frustrating. Series three was much better than its disappointing predecessor, but it never quite caught the public’s imagination like its first run.”
The Independent‘s Sally Newall gave the series finale four stars, adding that the show leaves behind “a legacy Chibnall should be proud of”.
“As cameras panned along those now familiar cliffs, it was hard not to feel a twinge of sadness for the end of Hardy and Miller, for now at least,” she said.
“David Tennant and Olivia Colman as the duo have managed to make us cry, laugh and really think – and left us wanting more.”
Writing in The Daily Mail, Jan Moir said some devotees may feel slightly cheated by the ending.
“I was convinced ex-husband Ian Winterman was the guilty party – but DS Miller’s rage and fury at the ghastliness of some men were majestic to behold.
“Her stellar performance was just one of the many things that made Broadchurch a hit – along with the magical location.”
Rapist and groomer Humphries, played by actor Chris Mason, was seen in shocking scenes in the police interview room coldly telling detectives Ellie Miller and Alec Hardy (Tennant) that he was “proud” of his crimes and that rape was “beautiful”.
Somerset and Avon Rape and Sexual Abuse Support, a charity that advised writers on the ITV series, said the show performed “excellent work” in portraying the reality of rape.
And Avon and Somerset Police deputy chief constable Gareth Morgan said: “That was harrowing viewing but vital message landed. Rape is not sex. It’s about power and control.”
The series also focused on the prevalence of porn and charities such as UK Says No More lauded the series for highlighting such issues.
“#Broadchurch offered a powerful portrayal to the aftermath of rape and leaves the audience to start the conversation about porn & consent,” the charity posted on Twitter.
Julie Hesmondhalgh – best known for playing Hayley in Coronation Street – was also singled out for praise.
Rape Crisis England and Wales tweeted: “Ahead of tonight’s finale, thanks to @BroadchurchTV & @juliehes for a sensitive & thought-provoking portrayal.”
Lib Dem peer Meral Hussein-Ece also tweeted: “#Broadchurch brilliant in highlighting rape is not about sex, it’s only about male power & control. Victim never to blame, only the rapist.”
Chris Chibnall said he wanted to show “best practice” in dealing with rape cases after speaking to various rape charities and the police.
This series has seen many twists and turns as Hardy and Miller strove to find the perpetrators.
The main suspects for the attack on Trish included her ex-husband Ian (Charlie Higson), her best friend’s husband Jim Atwood (Mark Bazeley), cab driver Clive Lucas (Sebastian Armesto) and Trish’s boss, shop owner Ed Burnett (Sir Lenny Henry).