TV Review: Broadchurch Season 1: 2013

Posted: January 23, 2015 in TV

broadchurch

Episode 1.1

11 year-old Danny Lattimer (Oskar McNamara) is killed in a small beach town called Broadchurch in England. Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) and her boss, Detective Inspector Alec Hardy (David Tennant) are investigating the murder.

This is the British version of the American show Gracepoint and since the British always seem to do a better job with these kind of shows, Sherlock for example, I thought I’d check it out.  Almost all the characters act suspiciously or are motivated by self-interest.  The detectives investigating the case have a reason not to like each other.  Great acting by the whole ensemble, interesting writing, even great direction, this is no ordinary tv show. I hope it continues to be good.

Episode 1.2

Newspaper reporter Karen White (Vicky McClure) and small time local reporter Olly Stephens (Johnathan Bailey) agree to a quid pro quo. The detectives continue to follow each lead they get. Beth Lattimer (Jodi Whittaker) makes a surprising revelation to the town pastor, Paul Coates. (Arthur Darvill) A telephone repairman, Steve Connelly (Will Mellor) who claims to be a psychic, even shows up claiming to have spoken to Danny’s spirit.

There is an atmosphere that envelopes this town like a thick fog.  There are new characters and even they act secretive, and every episode ends with a mini cliffhanger.  It’s too soon to compare it to True Detective, but it has the makings to be a great whodunit.

Episode 1.3

The inspectors are zeroing in on one suspect, and in fact arrest the person of interest for impeding the investigation.  The suspect lies to police about his whereabouts on the night of Daniel Lattimer murder.  The police find more incriminating evidence against the arrested person, and the psychic telephone man visits Beth.

There is a dramatic tension that fuels this show.  The investigators don’t like each other, the family of the murdered boy feels like everyone is watching their every move, and each new character introduces another layer of complication.  There were parts of this episode that became predictable, but good writing, quirky characters and great acting keep Broadchurch a taut and gripping drama.  And as always a mini cliffhanger ends the episode.

Episode 1.4

The suspects come fast and furious now.  Olly has dirt on one, and his boss Maggie Radcliffe has suspicions about another citizen of Broadchurch.  Karen gets an interview with the Lattimer family, while Ellie invites Alec to dinner.  Alec subsequently faints, and hits his head, only to check himself out of the hospital without anyone’s permission.

What I like most about Broadchurch are these characters, who are so complex and have so many layers  that make up who they are. The parts of themselves that they show in public are not the totality of their characters, that’s what makes the show so interesting.  The characters reveal more and more about themselves in each episode and the pieces of the puzzle start to come together.  The only character with an intact moral compass is Ellie, everyone else is damaged or flawed in some way.

Episode 1.5

The police do a re-enactment of the night that Daniel died. Ellie’s sister, Lucy Stevens, (Tanya Franks) has information about the murder, but she wants Ellie to pay her for it.  The police and press focus on one suspect, while others act suspiciously or cover their tracks.

This is a very powerful episode of the herd mentality of the press also the dangers of the tabloid press reporting salacious stories about people, and finally the mob mentality that emerges when a child is murdered.

Epispde1.6

Karen comes back to Broadchurch after laying low for a while.  Hardy takes cheek swabs  from one suspect, while another suspect is caught with some incriminating evidence.  Chloe (Charlotte Beaumont) runs away from home unable to cope with the stress of her brother Danny’s death.

Instead of winnowing down the suspects, a new bunch of suspects emerge with every episode, and this cliffhanger is a really exciting one.

Episode 1.7

One suspect sees another suspect carry Danny’s body from a boat.  Miller and Hardy question each suspect about what they know.  Hardy makes a revelation about Sandbrook, a prior investigation that still haunts him.  Yet another suspect hits too close to home for one of the investigators.

This is another exciting episode precisely because it expands the number of suspects not contracts them.  All of them seem plausible, so here comes the finale.  I hope the ending is as good as the buildup has been.

Episode 1.8

Detective Hardy finally tracks  down the killer of Danny Lattitmer and the months long nightmare that has plagued Broadchurch is finally over.

I can truly say I enjoyed the ending as much as the whole series.  There was great writing, great acting, especially by the two lead detectives and lots of suspense.  I loved it.  Watch it and see.  I was purposefully vague about many of the characters and plot lines, because I want you readers to enjoy it.

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