Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan


(UK, 2013)

The reviews of this new BBC series were very good, so we decided to look in on it. (Actually it was ITV, but is showing in this country on BBC America.) It was filmed in Clevedon, a town near Bristol in Devon, on the west coast of Great Britain, in the Severn estuary. It looks like a nice place, with a broad beach and some towering cliffs.

1. In the first episode Danny Latimer, an eleven-year-old, is discovered at the foot of one of the cliffs, quite dead. He has been strangled. The rest of the running time is devoted to introducing us to a broad range of characters, all of whom seem to be wholesome and innocent, but we know (or else why tell the story?) that some of them are going to have deep, dark secrets that no one ever suspected. In addition, Broadchurch is a small town where everyone knows everyone else and everyone else’s business, so there’s sure to be intrigue there. Already we know the son of one of the detectives was a close mate with the dead boy, and we see him erasing all Danny’s text messages and cleaning out his computer. Something’s up!
2. Not a lot of plot advancement, but more character development. We see more of the rivalries. Biggest deal: Danny’s fingerprint in a small building at the top of the cliff, which has otherwise been obsessively cleaned as if to remove fingerprints. One other partial is there: Danny’s father. And his alibi for the night is totally worthless. Oops.
3. Well, where Danny’s papa really was, surprise, surprise, was fucking the lady who runs the bed and breakfast and supplies cocaine to “just her friends.” Local detective Ellie seems to me a terrible investigator. She is so emotionally caught up with these people, who are her friends and—even worse—her husband and son, who have to be seen as suspects. I’d yank her off that case so fast her eyeballs would spin. An outsider has been brought in to head the investigation. He’s an abrasive asshole, and obsessive. We still don’t know the big secret he has, other than knowing that because of something he did, a murderer went free.

I’m not going to do a weekly update from now on. I’ll wait until it’s over, and then finish up. I will say that it’s kept us interested.

Last Episode. Okay, wow. I have to say that the solution, when it comes (and they did not cheat us with a “continued next season” cliffhanger), was a surprise to me, and about the worst thing that it could have been both for the people involved and the citizens of Broadchurch in general. After at least a half dozen people were seemingly implicated and then eliminated, usually after revealing something they wanted to keep a secret from the rest of the town, there were not a whole lot of people left it could have been … but I didn’t see it. This was a good show.

A new season has been announced. I can hardly see how this story could be extended—the mystery has been solved, and the two chief investigators seem to be out of the picture for future whodunits—but I suppose there are ways to go. I’m just glad I don’t have to write them. But I will probably tune in.