The Bay season 3: release date, cast, plot and everything you need to know

Marsha Thomason in The Bay.
Marsha Thomason as DS Jenn Townsend, the new lead in 'The Bay' season 3. (Image credit: ITV)

The Bay Season 3 has finally arrived on ITV after the huge success of the first two series. 

The first two seasons both attracted over seven million viewers, so there's definitely demand for even more, and we can't wait to see what happens in the next installment. 

This time around, there's a brand new lead at the heart of the show. Morven Christie (who played DS Lisa Armstrong) has been replaced by a brand new character who has taken over as Morecambe CID’s Family Liaison Officer. So, not only have we been treated to a brand new twisty case to get hooked into, but we've also got a new arrival to Morecambe with her own baggage and history to get drawn into, too!

Here's everything you need to know about The Bay season 3...

'The Bay' Season 3 release date

The Bay season 3 began on ITV on Wednesday, Jan. 12 at 9 pm. New episodes will air weekly at the same time in the same place, but the full season has been made available to stream on ITV Hub if you can't wait to binge the series.

The third series was commissioned by ITV’s Head of Drama, Polly Hill, who said: “We are delighted with the audiences’ response to The Bay and look forward to them meeting DS Jenn Townsend played by the fantastic Marsha Thomason, who joins the team in series 3.” 

Meanwhile, in the US you can watch the first two seasons of The Bay on BritBox — check out our full list of BritBox shows. Or you can download it from Prime Video.

Who is replacing Morven Christie in The Bay?

The Bay Season 3 welcomes Marsha Thomason (Cobra, White Collar) to the series, where she plays DS Jenn Townsend, Morecambe CID’s new Family Liaison Officer. She has confirmed the news on her Instagram account, revealing she was "so excited to be joining the brilliant cast".

When we spoke to Marsha Thomason, she was thrilled to be taking over from Morven Christie. She said: "This is the best role I've ever played! It gave me the opportunity to be in almost every scene, and to follow Jen in her work life and personal life. 

"I’ve been doing this job for a very long time, and I've never been the lead in anything! So I was ready for this challenge and opportunity", she added.

Speaking about the new character, Catherine Oldfield, Creative Director of Tall Story Pictures and Executive Producer of The Bay said, “Daragh and I always felt that there were so many brilliant stories to be told in the world of The Bay so after Morven decided to leave the show, we got straight to work finding a new lead actor. From the moment Marsha read for the part we knew it was "game over" and we’d found our new lead, DS Townsend. We are so excited to see Marsha bring these stories to life.”

What is the plot of The Bay season 3?

According to ITV, the plot for The Bay season 3 is as follows: "DS Townsend is immediately thrown into the deep end when a body is found in the bay on her first day in 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 struggles to settle in Morecambe, proving to Jenn that a fresh start might not be as simple as moving to a different town."

Award-winning writer and playwright Daragh Carville (Being Human, The Smoke, Cherrybomb) returns as writer of the series, with filming expected to start in Spring 2021.

Star Marsha Thomason revealed a few extra details about the case to us in our interview. Talking about her first day on the case, she said: "It starts with a car accident, and then she's straight into a case, so it's a lot to deal with. She's lost confidence in her ability as, even though she's good at her job, she's in a bit of a crisis when we meet her."

The Bay season 3 episode 1 recap

DS Jenn Townsend ends up involved in a car crash on her way to drop her children off at school. Right after dealing with the accident, she begins her first day as Morecambe's new Family Liaison Officer by rushing over to a woman who is watching the police recover the body of a boy who turns out to be her son, Saif Rahman. 

She is then partnered up with DS Karen Hobson both to support the Rahman family and to begin establishing why someone would want to have murdered Saif. From there, Jenn is formally introduced to the team and launches a full-scale investigation as they try to establish any leads.

Jenn discovers that Saif was in a relationship that his mother didn't know about. After chatting to her, Jenn learns that Saif was involved in a fight outside a new nightclub in town after some men started hassling him and his girlfriend. Although he's a promising young boxer, his postmortem showed evidence of being beaten with a blunt object, such as a baseball bat.

Police pull the CCTV from outside the club and identify Jordan Rooney from the crowd. When they raid his flat to bring Jordan into the station, they discover a bat in his flat.

TV tonight Marsha Thomason joins the cast for series three of 'The Bay'.

DS Townsend didn't exactly get an easy start on her first day. (Image credit: ITV)

The Bay season 3 episode 2 recap

Jordan Rooney gets brought in for questioning. He isn't very cooperative and believes Saif "got what he deserved", but he says he was at a party the night Saif was murdered.

Jenn tells Saif's family that there's going to be a postmortem. They protest on religious grounds, but Jenn informs them the coroner has to carry it out, and from this, they learn that Saif must have been dead before his body was dumped in the water. Mariam also denies that Saif would have been involved in any drug use, as boxing was Saif's way of coping with his father's death. 

Molly is brought in to identify the other people who had antagonized them inside the club. After they're questioned, one of them points the finger back at Molly, who hasn't told police she'd had an argument with Saif that night there's even a video to prove it.

Molly says she doesn't remember the fight from that night. Jenn's personal life gets raked up as Erin, her partner's daughter is spotted in the video comforting Molly. When asked about that night, Erin says Molly felt disrespected and thought Saif had been flirting with another woman and reveals that someone had some ketamine on them that night. 

To try and locate the drugs, Clarkie and Eddie head down to the gym and conduct a search with some officers. Behind the club, they find a smashed phone and blood spatters, and Tony Manning asks them to focus their efforts on the club to find out if he died there. 

Meanwhile, Jordan Rooney's alibi checks out and he's released. Later, Jordan provokes Adnan into fighting him in a nightclub. Jenn breaks the fight up, but not before Adnan accidentally hits her in the face. On the way home, Adnan destroys the display dedicated to Saif in the front of his gym.

Tony Manning (Daniel Ryan) inspects Saif's body in 'The Bay' season 3.

Saif's postmortem revealed some crucial info about his death. (Image credit: ITV)

The Bay season 3 episode 3 recap

Evidence started piling up in episode 3. The blood found behind the gym was confirmed as Saif's, and forensics also found some fibers trapped in Saif's zipper. The force has narrowed down the area they believe Saif's body must have been dumped into the bay and began searching that area for new leads.

Clarkie went to the boxing gym to see if he could find more about what Saif was doing there that night; meanwhile, Jenn and Erin continued to look into Saif's family for new leads. Tensions boil over between Mariam and Adnan, as their mother saw Saif as the "golden boy" of the family.

Shirin, who was keeping the club open the night Saif was murdered, said Saif had seemed distracted by a phone call and that's why he left out the back way. After a tox report reveals performance-enhancing drugs were present in Saif's system, gym owner Vincent goes to the station and confesses that he was aware something was going on but turned a blind eye to it to protect his club and keep it open. 

Saif's coach, Warren admits he bought the anabolic steroids for Saif, but he maintains they were Saif's idea, and he wanted them because the pressure from all the money riding on the fight was getting to him. The team also spots a car taking a suspicious route away from the gym the night Saif died. Jenn notices there are two people in the car, and forensics suggests the fibers trapped in Saif's zip would be a match for the car's interior.

Jordan Rooney goes after Adnan armed with a knife after work. Adnan tries to escape, but Jordan tackles him to the floor and, in the struggle, Adnan ends up stabbing Jordan with his own knife.

DS James Clarke (Andrew Dowbiggin) tries to find out what happened at the gym in 'The Bay' season 3.

Clarkie questioned the members of Saif's gym to get to the bottom of his death. (Image credit: ITV)

Who is in the cast of The Bay season 3?

Many actors are reprising their roles for The Bay Season 3, with a great lineup joining Marsha for the latest case. Here's who's returned...

  • Daniel Ryan (Innocent, Home Fires)
  • Erin Shanagher (Viewpoint, Peaky Blinders)
  • Thomas Law (The Worlds End, A Cinderella Story
  • Andrew Dowbiggin (Cobra, Coronation Street)

Is there a trailer?

Yes! A teaser for the show was released in early January, giving us a taste of what to expect from the new series. 

DS Jenn Townsend is welcomed to the Morecambe department, before revealing the death to the boy's family. From there, the investigation gets underway, and both DS Townsend and DI Tony Manning set about trying to chase any leads on who might be responsible.

You can watch the trailer below: