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TV review: 'Broadchurch' returns, still riveting

TV review: 'Broadchurch' returns, still riveting

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After the brilliant first season of "Broadchurch" came to a devastating conclusion, I didn't think a second season was necessary. I was wrong.

Season 2, beginning at 9 tonight (Wednesday, March 4) on BBC America, follows the emotional repercussions following the revelation of who killed little Danny Latimer in the idyllic English seacoast town of Broadchurch. (If you're reading this, you probably know, but I'll avoid spoilers nonetheless.)

Detective Inspector Alec Hardy (David Tennant) is living in isolation, still fighting heart problems and haunted not just by the Broadchurch case but also by an earlier case that ended badly. He has taken on himself the job of protecting a woman, Claire (Eve Myles), who was pivotal in that case.

Detective Ellie Miller (the wonderful Olivia Colman) is no longer on the Broadchurch force, instead working traffic control in neighboring Devon.

Then the confessed killer pleads not guilty, and a full, messy trial looms. The prosecution brings in retired legend Jocelyn Knight (Charlotte Rampling), while the defense has Sharon Bishop (Marianne Jean-Baptiste of "Without a Trace"), a former student of Jocelyn's whose tactics are dubious.

The best of "Broadchurch" Season 2 remains the relationship between Hardy and Miller. In the four episodes provided for preview, the courtroom developments in the original case are fascinating, while Hardy's old case seems extraneous and even annoying.

Still, I zoomed through the four episodes of "Broadchurch" provided for preview and wanted more. The new season doesn't live up to the original, admittedly, but it's still far above imitators, including Fox's unnecessary remake, "Gracepoint."

Gail Pennington is the television critic for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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