The ITV drama will return to screens later this month and mark a big change for Anna Friel's protagonist, as she is recruited for an undercover operation rather than chasing serial killers in an official police role, as she did in the first two seasons.
Speaking to Digital Spy, Marcella creator Hans Rosenfeldt — who wrote the storyline and the first two episodes of season 3 — explained the reasoning behind "reinventing" the show for the third season.
As well as explaining how the events of season 2 made it impossible for Marcella to come back as a traditional police officer, Rosenfeldt revealed his want to reinvent the show to make it stand out from a "quite a few" others with a similar format to the first two seasons.
"It was intentional to kind of reinvent it," Rosenfeldt said.
"When we finished series two, kind of late, we wrote the last scene in the last episode of series two where she's more or less being recruited, just to have kind of an opening for series three, where we already then knew we would like her undercover. Because we couldn't really find a way to bring her back into being a police officer after all that happened to her in series two.
"So in series three, we can't have her being a police officer any more, at least not the way we used to see her."
He added: "So that was very intentional. And then it was also intentional – and I kind of liked it, but it came with the idea of not having her chase another serial killer. Because I think by the time that we finished series two and aired series two, there have been quite a few of those shows – quite dark; quite broody; they're chasing a moral-less, elaborate serial killer.
"So we thought, 'Maybe let's not do that one more time. Let's do something completely different but keeping Marcella at the centre of it.
"So, yeah, it was intentional, and we wanted to do something else, and see if we could reinvent the show, but still kind of make it the third chapter in a trilogy."
Marcella is set to return to ITV for its third series on Tuesday, January 26 at 9pm.
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