The Split season 2 recap—what happened and which cast members have returned for season 3?

If you need a The Split season 2 recap you're probably not alone as fans anticipate what lies in store for season 3...

The Split season 2 recap as Nicola Walker returns for season 3 of the BBC drama
(Image credit: BBC)

Many fans might be looking for a The Split season 2 recap as the hit legal drama returned after two years with some truly heart-wrenching storylines.

Anyone who loved the legal focus of Showtrial BBC and who is still devastated and wondering why Nicola Walker left Unforgiven, then the return of The Split has likely been on your radar. Following the emotional ups and downs of the Defoe sisters, two of whom are lawyers, their personal and work lives are every bit as dramatic as viewers might’ve hoped. Now back with The Split season 3, it’s been confirmed that this is the show’s final outing. 

And with anticipation high about what’s to come, some people might be looking back to remember what has lead the characters to this point.  

Here we have a The Split season 2 recap to get you up to speed on all the legal twists and turns sure to influence what’s coming in season 3…

*Warning: spoilers for The Split seasons 2 and 3 ahead* 

The Split season 3 cast

(Image credit: BBC)

The Split season 2 recap—what happened last series?

Just like so many popular shows and movies, from Derry Girls season 3 to Killing Eve season 4, the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the return of hit BBC legal drama The Split for quite some time. Finally back on our screens after an agonizing two-year wait, fans might well have forgotten where the Defoe sisters’ story left off as The Split season 3 landed. 

For anyone in need of a The Split season 2 recap, there’s one major story arc that’s already made its presence felt in the season 3 premiere. In a moment that could’ve had Hannah and Nathan fans screaming at their TV screens, The Split season 2 finale saw the couple’s relationship break seemingly beyond repair. 

Throughout the second season, fans saw Hannah torn between her husband and her handsome colleague, Christie, and managing to conceal her affair from Nathan. This all changed in the final episode, however, as the high-flying lawyer’s affair with her colleague Christie was finally uncovered.

Furious, humiliated, and utterly crushed, Nathan ignored Hannah’s desperate assurances that she wanted to make their marriage work and declared it was all too little, too late. The couple told their children they were separating and Nathan packed up his belongings and left the family home. 

Meanwhile, for anyone hoping a The Split season 2 recap would remind them that Hannah’s sisters’ stories were left in a happier place, sadly this isn’t the case. Nina discovered she was pregnant and her ex-client and married man, Rex Pope, is the father.

Stephen Mangan and Nicola Walker in BBC One's The Split

(Image credit: BBC)

After telling him the news it didn’t take long for her to see him for what he was: a failing comedian who only agreed to their meeting out of desperation, leading Nina to decide to raise their child alone. 

Things then took an even more surprising turn for the mother-to-be as she ended up kissing Tyler during his and Zander’s post-wedding stag night. 

If this The Split season 2 recap has reminded viewers of anything, it’s that love and relationships in this legal show are full of complications and that’s exactly what fans are likely expecting now that The Split season 3 is here.

What to expect in The Split season 3?

In The Split season 3, a shocking revelation has already turned what started out as reasonably amicable divorce proceedings between Hannah and Nathan into a bitter all-out war. After discovering her husband has moved on and found a new girlfriend Kate, Hannah isn’t prepared to settle things quite so quickly as she was before. 

It’s not known yet how far their relationship could disintegrate and the depths the former couple could sink before The Split season 3 is over, especially with the suggestion (if what Nathan said is true) that Kate is pregnant. 

But if the series finale is anything to go by, this particular plotline isn’t about to let up on the twists, turns, and tear-jerking moments. 

Nina has welcomed a beautiful baby girl and is balancing life as a lawyer with life as a single parent, choosing her sister Rose and her brother-in-law James to be godparents. Though the matter of the Tyler kiss remains unresolved and it’s of course possible that The Split season 3 could go on to explore this avenue, with Zander (who, after all, is a Director at Hannah’s work) discovering the truth.

Meanwhile, while fans might not have ever imagined the shocking twist ending in a million years based on The Split season 2 recap, the first episode of the final season will have brought a tear to many eyes. Rose is tragically widowed after her husband James is badly injured in a car accident and doctors are unable to save him. 

The Split season 3 starring Nicola Walker and Stephen Mangan

(Image credit: BBC)

The Split season 3 episode 1 ends with the helpless Defoes gathered around Rose at the hospital as she breaks down after being told the devastating news of James’ fate. 

The family then walk out of the hospital as the credits roll, leaving it almost certain that Rose’s grief at James’ loss and the family’s attempts to support her through it will go on to be a hugely important part of the final season.  

And according to creator and writer Abi Morgan, there’ll also be a wedding this season. Opening up to RadioTimes.com, she explained, "We're building towards a marriage. Whose marriage could it be? It could be anybody's, so I'm excited about that.”

Which The Split season 2 cast members have returned for season 3?

Pretty much everyone who you’d expect to have returned to join The Split season 3 cast has done so, including all the Defoes. Nicola Walker as Hannah, Annabel Scholey as Nina, and Fiona Button as Rose are all back, as is Deborah Findley as their mother Ruth Defoe. 

The actors playing their on-screen partners are also back to join in the drama, with Stephen Mangan reprising his role as Nathan Stern, whilst Rudi Dharmalingam returned, albeit briefly, as James Cutler. 

The Split season 3 starring Annabel Scholey and Fiona Button

(Image credit: BBC)

Also back in The Split season 3 cast are Chukwudi Iwuji as Zander Hale, the Director of Noble & Hale, and his husband Tyler Donaghue is once again played by Damien Malony.

New to the cast this season is Lara Pulver as Nathan’s new girlfriend Kate and, of course, the clients whose divorces they will be wrangling over. Each season these change as the characters negotiate their personal and working lives. It’s also thought that Hannah’s former flame, Christie, played by Barry Atsma will also be back this season. 

How to watch The Split season 3 from anywhere in the world

If you’re looking to watch The Split season 3 then the BBC is the place to head. Not only is The Split season 3 airing at 9pm on BBC One on Mondays for the next five weeks, but just like fellow dramas like Chloe BBC and Holding ITV, all episodes are also available to watch now on BBC iPlayer, including The Split seasons 1-2. 

For any US viewers eager to see the final season of the show, it’s not yet known when or if it’ll land on Sundance as with previous seasons, though US fans can check out the earlier seasons via Hulu and Amazon Prime. But if you’re abroad when The Split season 3 airs then sadly you won't be able to watch the show as you normally would at home, thanks to regional restrictions. 

The Split starring Nicola Walker

(Image credit: BBC)

Luckily there’s an easy solution and you can use a VPN to continue watching this hit drama. This is a handy bit of software that changes your IP address so that you can access on-demand content or live TV just as if you were at home.

Our sister site, TechRadar, has tested all of the major VPN services and they rate ExpressVPN as the absolute best. They say, “It’s compatible with all of your devices, supports most streaming services, and ranks among the fastest. You can even install it on devices like an Amazon Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Xbox, and PlayStation. So for a one-stop-shop, you can’t go wrong with Express.”


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Ranked among one of the fastest VPN providers, this risk-free service is also compatible with all of your devices. Enjoy access to almost any streaming service, and if you don't like it there's a 30-day money-back guarantee.

If you've never installed a VPN before, don't worry, it's quick and easy. Just follow these three steps:


  1. Download and install the VPN following ExpressVPN's easy-to-follow instructions.
  2. Once you've installed your VPN, open the app and select your server location as anywhere in the UK.
  3. With your VPN installed and server location set to UK, you can now watch The Split season 3 online. 

VPN disclaimer

(Image credit: Future)

Now you've got back on track with the plot threads likely to come up again in season 3 via a The Split season 2 recap, there's plenty of time to laugh, cry and cheer in equal measure as the hit show draws to its emotional end. 

And with so many potential routes to take before The Split season 3 finale, who knows whether fan favorites Hannah and Nathan's divorce will go through after all?

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with six years of experience working in digital publishing. Her specialist areas including literature, the British Royal Family and knowing all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and every streaming service out there. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, you can find Emma cooking and watching yet more crime dramas.