Broadchurch is a marvel. I have never seen a TV drama that explores the emotions of so many characters so convincingly. Crimes are traumatizing. Broadchurch gets this perfectly. Nor have I have ever seen a crime drama that packs a visual punch in so many scenes. The Dorset coast is a character in Broadchurch. It plays its role as effectively as any of the brilliant actors in this piece. And that brings up the acting. You won’t find a weak performance and some are unforgettable. –Excerpt from an IMDB review
As in The Fall and Happy Valley, Broadchurch‘s lead character, Detective Inspector Alec Hardy (David Tennant- using his real Scottish accent), is a troubled individual (a past case gone wrong, mysterious health matter, etc.) He is brought in to a lovely/small town on the Dorset coast to investigate the mysterious death of young Billy Latimer, who was the best friend of Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller’s (Olivia Colman) son, Tom. DS Miller, the local top cop, is (of course) shocked by this death. Also, she thought that she was getting the promotion given to Hardy, which causes tension/awkwardness in the squad room.
The insider, Miller, tries to investigate her close friends and many community members in a respectful manner, but Hardy (the outsider) has an abrasive personality that almost everyone chafes against. The media can be used for good, or cause a LOT of problems, with a police investigation. Miller’s reporter nephew, Olly (Jonathan Stevens, who resembles Hugh Dancy), is eager to learn all the details for the local paper. Olly is a good guy who makes a BIG rookie mistake on Twitter. The seemingly happy/picture-perfect Latimers are NOT all what they seem. Suspicion falls on several individuals, including the recently-arrived/young Anglican priest, Rev. Coates (Arthur Darvill). He was one of the most interesting characters in the show- thoughtful, spiritual, yet also a BIT mysterious.
Writer Chris Chibnall was inspired by two American crime shows- Twin Peaks and Murder One (which I watched and really liked). Unlike The Fall and Happy Valley, this show has a broader scope (think soap opera, but much more sophisticated/intelligent). You get to know about MORE people, several of whom dwell in the gray areas of life. Check it out (Netflix). I just learned that Series 2 (BBC) has Charlotte Rampling and Marianne Jean-Baptiste- WOW!