A small contingent in the ITV (UK) crime-drama television series Broadchurch worry about how the recent murder of a child is going to affect the tourism. And they have good cause to worry, because after Broadchurch, the sinister possibilities in their seaside village is enough to put me off vacating to any quaint coastal resort.
Broadchurch is chilling.
11-year-old Danny Latimer’s (Oskar McNamara) body is found on the beach. This is the first case for Detective Inspector (DI) Alec Hardy (David Tennant, Doctor Who) in Broadchurch, but certainly not his first case dealing with child-murders. The last one will haunt his story-line. At his side is the woman whose job he nabs from under her, Detective Sergeant (DS) Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman, Hot Fuzz). She has never dealt with a case of this magnitude, but she does know the town. The victim’s mother is a best friend. It is the sort of place where everyone knows everyone else, and little goes unwitnessed.
How could you not know?! is a frequent refrain in Broadchurch. But people are good at keeping secrets and looking the other way, including the children. People are just as good at jumping to conclusions, content with not knowing the whole story. But of course, no one is content with letting Danny lay. Especially since the child-killer surely must abide among them.
Broadchurch is a classic who-dunnit. Secrets begin to surface and suspicious characters are slow to be eliminated as potential murderers. The series successfully sustains episode after episode of damning activities until that shocking revelation in the 8th and final piece. The sub-plots help. The parents are not only dealing with the loss of their son, but the betrayals emerging about them. The community as a whole is reeling and how might the local vicar Reverent Paul Coates (Arthur Darvill Doctor Who) help. A local newspaperman is eager to get out and work for major papers and this may be his chance. The hungry reporter from the city provides the foil. DS Miller is forced to distance herself and become the observer she needs to become for the sake of solving the case—a struggle as she is deeply embedded in this community. DI Hardy’s health is a serious concern, as is the outcome of his past case. He is the gruff and experienced outsider who views this case and its village as a penance he must see through to its close.
The anguish and disgust is palpable in this series brimming with a talented cast. David Tennant is outstanding. Olivia Colman is gorgeous in her role. The camera-work is beautiful: those cuts to the placid expanse of water, the color, the dark. The dialog is tight, the story plotted and carried through in such a way as to leave one giddy after its execution.
The subject matter is the thing that makes a “must see” tentative. I’ve a professor who couldn’t make it past the second episode… It’s the child. And really, the ugliness of the world only expands, spiraling outward from around this center. It is all gloriously played, with some thought-provoking dilemmas to unwind once you recover from that stunning and heartbreaking conclusion.
Broadchurch is a must!
…if you love David Tennant, dark mysteries (drama), and/or having your suspicions of small town life confirmed.
–there is to be a second season. I can only imagine what that will mean. but I will be watching for its return.
–there is to be an adaptation of the series for FOX w/ Tennant to star in his same role; can’t say that excites me.
Broadchurch (season 1), creator/writer/executive producer: Chris Chibnall, Directors James Strong & Euros Lyn. Cinematography Matt Gray. series music: Olafur Arnalds. executive producer Jane Featherstone. producer Richard Stokes. starring: David Tennant (DI Alec Hardy), Olivia Colman (DS Ellie Miller), Jodie Whittaker (Beth Latimer), Andrew Buchan (Mark Latimer), Arthur Darvill (Rev. Paul Coates), David Bradley (Jack Marshall), Pauline Quirke (Susan Wright) and Vicky McClure (Karen White).