Simply put, Broadchurch is one of the best crime dramas I have ever seen. From the beginning, the British thriller is engrossing, taking us in to the small town lives of the people of Broadchurch, who are reeling over the discovery of the murdered body of an 11-year-old boy. Like a good crime drama, this is a town that has secrets…and everybody has something to hide.
Typically, a show of this nature is able to successfully point the suspicion on a couple of characters that we legitimately believe have a chance of being the killer. Broadchurch manages to blow this up, as at certain points, we suspect nearly every character of being a murdered, due to the incredibly intelligent writing on the series. The mystery builds up from the moment we hear of Danny’s death, and people come out of the woodwork to become suspects with every new episode.
There are people with mysterious pasts, questionable actions around the time of the murder, and tremendous back stories that are haunting and horrifying.
And watching the whole thing unfold is absolutely incredible.
There can be comparisons made to the great crime thriller The Killing, a show that was adored by many in its first seasons of trying to determine who killed Rosie Larsen. As exciting and twisting as The Killing was, Broadchurch is just better. Starting with a fantastic filming location, on the cliffs of England, to the spectacular writing and phenomenal writing, Broadchurch is as close to perfect as a series could be.
The actors excel in their roles in this show. Starting with Jodie Whittaker, tasked with the role of the young, grieving mother, she makes us feel for her plight. She owns the pain the character feels, and it never comes across as hammy or over-acted. The detectives, played so well by David Tennant and Olivia Colman (who is more traditionally seen in comedic roles like Peep Show and Twenty Twelve), bring more depth to the show, as we care about their lives as well. Tennant is the outsider, new to the town, and Colman is the detective who has strong roots in the community, and their clashes while trying to solve the murder are clever and important to the development of the story.
There are many layers to the story here, so it is not simply a story of trying to resolve the murder of a young kid. There are stories of friendship, abuse, professional drama, personal drama, marital issues, questions of the role of the church, the role of media, the importance of our past following us, and more. All of it is wrapped up beautifully in the dark series.
Be warned, Broadchurch offers very little in the way of levity, or comedic relief. It is a hard, edgy, dark show, and this helps us cope with the brutality of the situation that the people of the town are going through.
Don’t hesitate on Broadchurch. It is so incredibly well done, it is pretty much guaranteed to be worth your while. It will keep you guessing until the very end, and there are a ton of plausible candidates to be the murderer. It is dark, and constantly mysterious, and an absolute thrill.
The best news just might be that there is going to be a second season of the show that begins in January.