Although I have concerns about the public appetite for news and dramas about crimes and murders, I think Broadchurch has been a really good British tv drama – perfect appointment tv. Mainly, as I’ve indicated before, because of it’s stellar cast, because it has been rather melodramatic otherwise – but perfectly good fun.
So in the penultimate episode of this series, we learn some more about the characters but as an audience we’re still in the dark about who actually killed Danny Latimer. Previously we found out that the newsagent had a complicated past having been convicted for sleeping with his 15 year old student, whom he later married, but then having a son who was killed in a car crash. This week, we found out that ‘Susan Wright’ played by Pauline Quirke, who previously seemed like a particularly odd and scary woman, used to be married to a man who abused and killer her older daughter and then hung himself in prison. We then found out that she is the mother of ‘Nigel’, the plumber who works for Mark Latimer, the father of the dead child. Although Nigel did not know he was the son of a convicted murderer, his mother, Susan, thinks he has it in his genes – she tells the police that she saw him on a boat, and laying Danny’s dead body on the beach.
We find out that Nigel was poaching pheasants from farmland – and was doing it the night of the murder. We also find out through Chloe’s(Danny’s sister) boyfriend that Danny used to poach pheasants with Nigel quite often. We also know that Nigel has a crossbow and various other weapons.
Meanwhile our head detective, Alec Hardy (David Tennant), has arrythmia. Throughout the series, people have been talking about ‘Sandbrook’, an earlier child murder case that Hardy failed to solve or at least failed to be able to convict the main suspect. In this penultimate episode we found out that the reason why they did not have the evidence to convict the suspect was because Hardy’s former wife, who was a DS on the case, had the crucial evidence of a pendant that would have convicted the murderer, but then she went to a hotel before taking the evidence to the police station, to have a drink with her lover, and then her car was broken into and the evidence lost. Hardy took the blame and pretended his car had been broken into and that he had lost the evidence because he didn’t want his daughter to know that her mother had been having an affair. He confesses this all to the local newspaper, The Echo, now because with his arrythmia it doesn’t seem like he has long left – on the job or maybe even in life. However, if there is a second series and Hardy does die, then it doesn’t matter because Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) is the best thing about this show.
The episode centres around Ellie’s interviews with Susan Wright and her incredulation that Susan didn’t know before that her husband was abusing and then murdered her daughter. But the question that is raised is how much does Ellie actually know about her husband and her son. Her son, Tom, was not the ‘best friend’ with Danny that she believed. He’s broken up his hard drive to try and destroy incriminating evidence – which the vicar (Arthur Darvill) has found and handed into Alec Hardy.
In the final scenes of the episode, Hardy receives the emails from Tom Miller’s computer – although we as an audience don’t get to see them. We see Hardy have a ‘eureka’ moment and then we see some of the main suspects: Nigel, Mark Latimer, Tom Miller, Ellie’s husband, the ‘psychic’ played by Will Mellor and the vicar. Who did it? Was it an ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ style example where they all did it? One episode to go and I hope we get a satisfying conclusion and explanation.