Broadchurch's finale clinched 8.3 million viewers last night - as it was announced that David Tennant and Olivia Colman are returning for a third series.
The final instalment, in which Joe Miller was found not guilty of Danny Latimer's murder, was down on the first series, which peaked at 9.3 million viewers in its last outing.
But it did boast the highest rating episode of the series.
It was watched by an average 7.8 million viewers (a 34% share of viewing), beating the 7.6 million who watched the launch episode of the ITV drama.
Despite grumbles that the court scenes were unrealistic, Broadchurch averaged more than nine million viewers throughout the second series, including catch-up viewing.
Tennant has brushed off criticism of the second series, saying: "I think we're a victim of our success, to be honest.
"The first series was such an extraordinary thing. This country, we never allow lightning to strike twice in this country ... we just don't let that happen."
Broadchurch's creator and writer Chris Chibnall said he was delighted to be penning a third series.
"We've been overwhelmed that nine million people every week have continued to join us on the twists and turns of Broadchurch," he said.
"This third chapter has been a glint in my eye for a long time and I'm thrilled to be writing these characters once again."
ITV director of drama Steve November said: "Chris Chibnall knows exactly how to keep viewers guessing and I'm delighted that he is going to take the story on to the next stage."
No details about the other cast members who will be joining Tennant's DI Alec Hardy and Colman's DS Ellie Miller have been revealed.
The US version of the murder-mystery, also starring Tennant, has not being renewed for a second series, according to reports.