TV Review: A murder proves hard to solve in ‘Broadchurch’

Angela Schmitt, Staff Writer

In the beautiful seaside town of Broadchurch in Dorset, England, no one would have expected a tragedy to occur. But when 11-year-old Daniel Latimer (Oskar McNamara) is killed, the town’s usual tranquility is greatly disrupted.

The first season of the crime-drama “Broadchurch” follows DI Alec Hardy (David Tennant) and DS Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) as they try to catch Danny’s murderer. There are plot twists at every corner, and with Season Two now airing in the United States on BBC America, it is a good time to watch the first season and see just how deep and complicated this simple-looking show really is.

The story starts in Broadchurch when Daniel Latimer’s body is found on the beach. With evidence suggesting that Danny was strangled, newly hired DI Alec Hardy takes on the case along with DS Ellie Miller. During the course of the season, Hardy and Miller try to piece together the mystery behind Danny’s murder, while the rest of the town suffers from the aftermath.

Indeed, that is one thing that makes “Broadchurch” special. Instead of focusing completely on who did the crime, it also depicts the effect on the town itself. And in such a small community, everyone is affected, and everyone could be a suspect. Danny’s family is distraught, and distrust between family and friends starts to form. With each interrogation, Hardy and Miller think they are finally close to solving it, but it always ends up being something else. In such a close-knit town, you wouldn’t expect this many secrets, and it makes you realize that you cannot judge someone by what he or she looks like. After one episode, you may think you are sure of who the killer is, but by the next episode your theory gets completely knocked down. With plot twists at every turn, “Broadchurch” definitely keeps you at the edge of your seat.

“Broadchurch” also shows how the media affects a situation like this. From the first leak on Twitter, both the local newspaper and other journalists scramble to get the best coverage on the case. Past and present events are blown out of proportion, certain citizens are wrongfully suspected, and normal life is disrupted by paparazzi. It is interesting to see just how much impact the media has on events and people.

But although the plot is layered and engaging, it is the acting that brings it to a whole new level. The creator, Chris Chibnall, wanted to make sure only the best actors were cast, and it certainly made a difference. David Tennant, known for his role at the tenth Doctor in the hit show “Doctor Who,” does an excellent job portraying DI Alec Hardy. And his role could not be any more different from the Doctor. Instead of the funny, light hearted, and clever time traveler, Hardy is serious, weary, abrasive, and hard to work with. Olivia Colman, who played Ellie Miller, Jodie Whittaker, who played Danny’s mother, and Arthur Darvill, who played the town priest, all did a superb job bringing their characters to life. Even the minor characters, such as Joe Miller (Matthew Gravelle) or Susan Wright (Pauline Quirke) were enhanced by their actor’s abilities.

“Broadchurch” is an excellent crime-drama with a deceivingly simple plot that turns out to be so much more. The show combines elements such as love, mystery, grief, sorrow, anger, distrust, and more and turns it into a great show with episodes that leaves you hanging. And since Season Two is just being released on BBC America, hop on Netflix right now and catch up on what you have missed.

Our Grade: A
Rating: TV14
Length: Eight episodes, each episode about 48 minutes
Genre: Crime, Drama
Creator: Chris Chibnall
Starring: David Tennant, Olivia Colman, Jodie Whittaker, Andrew Buchan, Jonathan Bailey, Arthur Darvill