Broadchurch, Television Review. Series Two, Episode Four.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10

Cast: David Tennant, Olivia Coleman, Andrew Buchan, Jodie Whittaker, Charlotte Rampling, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Arthur Darvill, Eve Myles, James D’Arcy, Meera Syal, Carolyn Pickles, Jonathan Bailey, Tanya Franks, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, William Andrews, Matthew Gravelle, Shaun Dooley, Amanda Drew, Joe Simms, Adam Wilson, Lucy Cohu, Thusitha Jayasundera, Hannah Rae, Hollie Burgess, Brendan Murphy, Lucas Hare.


The writer of Broadchurch must love playing with audience’s minds so much that he seems to take them to the point of one explainable and rational theory, before offering a certain line or screen shot which might go unnoticed in the melee of damnation and finger pointing, and a new line of though runs through the head and screams, “What about me?”

Chris Chibnall is no fool, he certainly knows how to captivate a crowd and that makes it surprising to see that there are those in this detective story loving land who are complaining of lack of brisk pace, even hubris on behalf of the writer. Broadchurch is not be the same as the first season and it is all the better for it. Nothing can touch the extraordinary feel of the initial season, however by placing the action, for the most part in the court room, the viewer is allowed a glimpse into the minds of those who act as defence and prosecutor, their own roles on the boards in a play designed to make emotions scurry and hide lest a light be shined upon them.

Unlike typical detective programmes where the balance of restorative justice is acted out in the closing scenes as the murderer is revealed, it is the question of why which is the most interesting, not the who! The court room is just the extension of that, especially in Broadchurch, but at the back of the mind, the explanation given doesn’t quite seem right.

Chris Chibnall offers a brief cursory glance at why that may be with a clue on Alec Hardy’s previous case. The camera shot of the two homes sharing one long roof, indistinguishable in every way, is there a case of an identikit killer, someone prevalent to both cases, actually guilty?

Whilst not having a stand out member of the cast in this particular episode thrusting themselves into the limelight, it is the writing and creeping doubt that are the stars in episode four. It might not be what some expected, in many cases it is actually even more frightening a prospect to believe that out there one writer can cause you doubt your own knowledge week in, week out.

Broadchurch continues next week.

Ian D. Hall