What if someone you know takes the life of a loved one? That is the question BBC’s mini-series Broadchurch seeks to answer.
First aired in January 2015, Broadchurch takes place in the titular small town with a population short of 13,000 where everyone knows everyone. Enter the Latimer’s; a simple family who’s lives take a turn for the worst when their 11-year-old son Danny is found on the beach at the base of a high cliff. Initially thought of as a suicide, it is quickly learned that there was no presence on the overlooking cliff, which implies his body was moved there after his murder was committed.
The principle cast includes Detective Seargant Ellie Miller, portrayed by Olivia Colman, and Detective Inspector Alec Hardy, portrayed by David Tennant. The series introduces Miller returning from an implied much needed vacation, only to learn the position of DI that was waiting for her has been filled by Hardy, much to the anger and disbelief of Miller. This sparks the tension between the two, and initially causes Miller to be uncooperative with DI Hardy as they take the case.
The first series, consisting of 8 episodes, follows the investigation into Danny Latimer’s murder. We explore dynamic characters in the small town, and each character will convince the viewer that they are the killer. We have Tom Miller, DS Miller’s 11-year-old son who was Danny’s bestfriend. The first episode ends with Tom erasing texts he and Danny exchanged. We have Jack Marshall, an elderly man who owns a small shop where Danny would pick up papers to deliver. We also have Susan Wright, a woman who owns a trailer by the beach and keeps to herself. These characters and more give the impression that anyone could be the killer.
We also have the dynamic of DI Hardy’s past. His previous case, which he failed, comes into light, causing the town to question his ability to help the Latimer’s. He is, however, a great contrast and shaper of DS Miller. While Miller offers a friendly approach to her interviews and investigations, Hardy is not afraid to take charge and be blunt, often adding insults when it is deemed unnecessary by Miller.
Behind the scenes, the production of the series utilized unconventional filming methods. Where many shows will do multiple takes to get the scene right, Broadchurch was filmed in as little takes as possible so as to get natural emotions from the actors. In addition, the identity of the killer was only revealed two two actors: Colman, and the killer themself. This was to ensure that the revelation of the killer would be natural to everyone who heard it during filming.
Every step the detectives take brings us closer and closer to finding out who killed Danny Latimer. When the killer is revealed, it simply asks more questions than it answers.
Broadchurch is now available to stream on Netflix.
Alex is a junior at Concordia University Chicago studying communications and journalism. Follow him on twitter @alexaguiluz_