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The Bay series 3 review

Episodes: 2

Premiered: 2022

Duration: 45 min

DS Jenn Townsend, Morecambe’s new Family Liaison Officer, is immediately thrown into the deep end when a body washes up in the bay on her first day on the job. She must get under the skin of a grieving and complicated family if she has any chance of solving the premature death of an aspiring young boxer.

While she’s eager to give the family answers, she also needs to prove herself as the team’s newest recruit. The pressure is multiplied when her new blended family struggle to settle in Morecambe, proving to Jenn that a fresh start might not be as simple as moving to a different town.

Daniel Ryan (Innocent, Home Fires), Erin Shanagher (Viewpoint, Peaky Blinders), Thomas Law (The Worlds End, A Cinderella Story) and Andrew Dowbiggin (Cobra, Coronation Street) reprise their roles alongside the new lead, Marsha Thomason, following Morven Christie’s decision to leave the show after two series.

Here’s Steve Charnock’s episode-by-episode The Bay series 3 review.

The Bay series 3 episode 1 review

The first day in any new job can be tricky, can’t it? You don’t really know anyone, you’re unfamiliar with exactly what’s required of you and you’ve no idea how the coffee machine works.

DS Jenn Townsend (Lost‘s Marsha Thomason) never even got a chance to put a pot plant on her desk or spend an hour on the phone to IT trying to get her emails set up before she found herself thrown into a murder investigation here in this third series of The Bay. Still, unless you’re on your very first swimming lesson at the local lido, there’s nothing wrong with being thrown in the deep end.

Thomason’s Townsend replaces the central character who so ably carried the first two runs of ITV’s popular Morecambe-set crime drama. After two series in the thick of it, Morven Christie decided to step aside. Inside of recasting DS Lisa Armstrong, the show’s head writer Daragh Carville opted to write her out and replace her with an entirely new character. Enter DS Townsend.

Now, normally, a new colleague would prefer to spend a couple of days getting to know the team while filling in a few HR forms and leaving at 4pm. That may well have been the case here but for a pesky corpse popping up in the bay.

The opening scene of episode 1 is impressive, with a woman dramatically getting her leg caught in some rope at a bhoy while out sea swimming. You assume we’re going to watch her tragically drown. Instead, she wriggles free. Just as the bloated body of Saif Rahman unexpectedly bobs up above the surface of the briny water.

Co-written by Furquan Akhtar, it looks as though this third series is set to follow the Rahman family as they try to come to terms with the death of middle son Saif, a popular local boxer. There’s edgy mum Mariam (Rina Mahoney), sweet, deaf younger brother Jamal (played by deaf actor Nadeem Islam) and trouble-making older sibling Adnan (Michael Karim). With, of course, a whole host of other characters in and around the investigation, some of whom we’re yet to meet.

Jenn is, of course, assigned as the FLO (Family Liaison Officer) to the Rahmans; it’ll be her job to look after the family while subtly probing away until a killer is found. Which, as ever, will be in episode 6.

Eagle-eyed viewers may recognise the new star of The Bay from her appearances in British dramas such as ITV’s Safe House, Where the Heart Is or Pie in the Sky, while fans of telly from across the pond might have seen her in Bones, NCIS: Los Angeles, or the new Magnum: PI. Marsha Thomason is a very able actress that has seemingly had to wait a fair while to bag a star turn. Based on this opener, she’ll have no issues stepping in for the departed Morven Christie here.

As for the quality of the series, there’s no discernible dip here with this third outing. Okay, we’re not venturing into groundbreaking territory here, but that’s not what the series is really about. A cynic may label it a fairly formulaic drama, but police procedurals often are. Yet while we’re hitting familiar marks, we’re also doing so with plenty of style and the odd flash of distinction.

When we reviewed the first series back in 2019, we described The Bay rather reductively as a ‘Morecambe Broadchurch’. It’s a tempting tag, for sure. While everyone involved seems happy enough with the inevitable comparison, the drama has established something of a personality of its own – just not a hugely unique one. Still, we’ll be only too happy to revisit it every Wednesday night for the next five weeks.

Did you tune in for The Bay series 3 episode 1? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below…

Read Steve’s review of The Bay series 3 episode 2 here.

Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

Follow Steve on Twitter.

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The Bay series 3 episode 2 review

Still catching up on The Bay series 3 episode 2? Read Steve’s review of episode 1 here.

There’s a knock at the door. You answer it. It’s two very serious-looking police officers. They want to ask you a few questions in relation to the murder of someone you know. You’re shocked. ‘Murder?!’ you ask. ‘Come in,’ you tell them. You appear to be open, honest and frank with them both. They thank you for your time and leave.

But what’s this? As they return to their car, you walk to the window, disturb the net curtain and peek outside. As you peer at them, a worried look washes over your face. If anyone saw that they might think you looked a little guilty…

Still, so long as you aren’t guilty, you had no reason to lie to the detectives, did you? Except, what’s this? The next day they’re back. This time they’re even more serious looking. They have more questions for you – and you need to answer them down the station. ‘Am I under arrest?’ you ask. ‘Not at all, you’re free to leave at any time,’ you’re informed. They just want to ask you a few questions about your statement yesterday. About why you lied…

In real police murder investigations, the only real motivation for lying is to try and away with having committed the crime. In TV police murder investigations, there are twelve million different reasons to deceive officers and make yourself look like a suspect for half an episode.

We’re not subtly criticising The Bay here – it’s something we see time and time again from TV crime dramas. Vera is the absolute master of the trope and we still love it. Five people are interviewed; it turns out they all lied. But for various reasons of their own, all of which throw a spanner in the works, obfuscate the investigation and implicate themselves.

Here, in episode 2 of this third series of ITV’s Morecambe-set drama, it’s victim Saif Rahman’s girlfriend Molly who tells porkie pies and gets found out. It transpires that she and Saif had an explosive argument on the night he died. But at 5’1” and about seven stone, it seems unlikely that she beat the local champion boxer to death.

Saif’s brother Adnan also lied to police about his alibi. But at least we’ve ruled out the obvious red herring of Jordan Rooney and his gang of idiot pals.

Could his younger brother Jamal be involved? Well, we doubt it. Saif’s deaf sibling seems sweet and genuinely distraught. He is acting a little suspiciously, though. And, let’s be fair, the lad doesn’t exactly look like a sixth former. He’s huge and with that five o’clock shadow, he looks more like the headmaster. The reason? The actor who plays him, Nadeem Islam, is twenty-five years old.

The scene of the murder has been established: outside the boxing club, near the bins. Not a nice place to take your final breath.

This return of The Bay is welcome; it’s a well made drama. True, it can slip into slightly soap-y territory with some of its dialogue and melodrama and it’s not afraid of the odd cliche, but there are some nice touches sprinkled throughout.

By all accounts, its representation of British Sign Language is very accurate, and it was good to see the issue of post-mortems and Islam dealt with sensitively, as well as a mention of the option of digital scans as an alternative. Perhaps the first time it’s been discussed in a prime-time television drama.

There was one glaring error we just have to point out here, though… Okay, it’s pedantry. But DS Townsend had to leave in the middle of preparing dinner for her and her young family to attend to an incident with Adnan – a fight which happened in a busy nightclub. Either she feeds her family at 1am, or the youngsters of West Lancashire go out powerfully early.

DS Jenn Townsend’s character is still finding her feet, so it’s tempting to say that the series is missing Morwen Christie’s DS Lisa Armstrong. We’re sure, though, that this won’t be an issue in a few weeks’ time.

Hopefully by that point we’ll have a better handle on who the killer might be too. And maybe even why everyone keeps fibbing to the police all the ruddy time.

Did you tune in for The Bay series 3 episode 2? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below…

Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock
Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

Follow Steve on Twitter.

Join the discussion

Please note: Moderation is enabled and may delay your comment being posted. There is no need to resubmit your comment. By posting a comment you are agreeing to the website Terms of Use.