Audiences who have been gripped by The Bay since its premiere in 2019 are in for another thrilling tale as series 3 arrives on ITV, with new lead Marsha Thomason making her mark off the bat.
Last year, after solving the case of the murder of Stephen Marshbrook, it was revealed that DC Lisa Armstong would be exiting the crime drama followingMorven Christie’s decision to leave the cast of the show.
Marsha has taken her place as protagonist DS Jenn Townsend, making the acquaintance of Lisa’s old colleagues in the police force as they’re faced with another tragic incident on their hands.
Anyone who’s seen Marsha’s previous work will know that she’s more than capable of playing a lead – so we’re dumbfounded that it’s taken this long to place her and her talent front and centre.
It was evident that it was never initially the plan for Morven to only stay for two series, with the creators having to adapt to bring in a new character rather than continue Lisa’s story.
Nonetheless, the transition is seamless, tying up loose ends as Lisa’s departure from Morecambe is explained and Jenn takes her seat in the office opposite DS Karen Hobson (Erin Shanagher).
During a recent press event for series three, creator and writer Daragh Carville revealed that when Marsha auditioned for the part, they knew immediately that the role was hers – an admission that Marsha found heartening to hear.
Having watched several episode of the new season, we can attest that Daragh knew what he was talking about (not that we had any doubt), as the Lost and White Collar star is able to balance the empathy needed to be a FLO (Family Liaison Officer) with the degree of detachment required to carry out her job investigating a shock death.
Series three follows the Rahman family, as Saif Rahman – a promising young boxer – is found dead, leaving his two brothers Jamal (Nadeem Islam) and Adnan (Michael Karim) and mother Mariam (Rina Mahoney) utterly shattered.
As can be expected with any family going through unimaginable grief, there are several heated moments between the relatives, but some highlight underlying issues from before Saif’s death that need to be addressed.
Rina, Nadeem and Michael all deliver heartbreaking performances, as each of their characters grapple with their perceptions of their family members which are – at times – misconstrued.
Having recently watched Rose Ayling-Ellis become the first ever Deaf winner of Strictly Come Dancing, it was brilliant to watch more representation of the community on screen through Deaf actor Nadeem, whose character Jamal often feels like an outcast but is frequently the most observant person in the room.
Let’s hope it will inspire the inclusion of more Deaf talent in front of and behind the camera, as there’s no reason for inclusivity not to be championed in any industry.
Given series three introduces Jenn as a new lead, it can sometimes feel as though other established characters fall by the wayside, as more time needs to be given to develop the lead character and her home life.
Nonetheless, The Bay is a family drama at heart, and the portrayal of the Rahman family, their grief, the traditions of the Muslim community giving them support and the complexities of their relationships make for a brilliant, sensitive and authentic season.
Verdict on The Bay series 3
The Bay continues to do what it does best, combining an intriguing police investigation with a gripping family drama.
Marsha slots right into the cast, so much so that without the frequent reminders that she’s new in town – literally working on this case in her first week – you would think that she’s already been in Morecambe for a much longer time.
Anyone who has siblings will surely be able to relate on some level to the Rahman brothers, whether you’ve grown up being treated like the golden child or the outsider.
The twists and turns of the case will keep viewers on their toes and leave fans pointing fingers in all directions as they try to figure out who’s got blood on their hands.
The Bay returns to ITV and will be available to watch on ITV Hub.