This week’s segment of “For Your Consideration” features a show from across the pond, Broadchurch. We’ve had many television shows hop from British screens to American ones: Downton Abbey, Sherlock, and The Great British Bake Off, to name a few. Usually, they come over by means of BBC America, and Broadchurch is one more. In its last season, this murder-mystery is an exceptionally brilliant show that should be on everyone’s radar as it finishes with a bang. The impression it leaves viewers with is suspense night after night. The twists and turns the storyline encounters are strong enough to lure people back, and we should all be privy to the compelling acting and storytelling of this drama.
A small, beach town in Dorset turns out to be even more complex and multifaceted than it seems when Danny Latimer goes missing, only to be found dead on the beach. Detectives Miller (Olivia Colman) and Hardy (David Tennant) attempt to solve the mystery as it progresses. However, to their dismay, the folks of the town often surprise them and secrets emerge as people everyone is close to may not be all they seem. Everyone begins to turn on each other as the detectives rush to catch the killer and prevent any more potential deaths.
The social aspect of the town is delved into deeply as the family dynamics of the Latimer family are analyzed. Danny’s mother, Beth, is played by Jodie Whittaker (soon-to-be the first female Doctor on Doctor Who) and the writers explore her emotions and interactions with her husband, mother, and daughter.
These characters continue and the storyline unfolds further throughout the next two seasons. The repercussions of the murder reverberate and we delve deeper into the conflict that evolves around the residents. There is always something pushing the plot, and though it lags in spots, there’s always something more to resolve.
Why You Should Watch
Drama can be a difficult genre to execute, especially murder-mystery, without seeming repetitive and unoriginal. Characters get stuck in tropes and ruts they can’t seem to drag themselves out of, sticking to typical reactions. However, the acting and writing of this show is contradictory to this. Especially in the first season, when we are first introduced to the characters. Every preconception we might have about this murder is tested. The plot twist we are offered gives us insight to the characters and the impact death has on a community. The examination of human emotion is raw and deep, unearthing something we all have: fear. Fear of loss, fear of shame, fear of loneliness, you name it. Every person in this story is plagued by it and it’s this common quality of fear that all human beings understand that relates to everyone watching. It’s not a story for laughs and giggles. It makes you question, “What would I do if I had to solve the murder like Hardy?” or “Would I have reacted like Beth?” and hooks you.
This exposure to these emotions is what makes this drama completely different than anything else on television. It’s these feelings that also drive the story completely. The creator and writer of the show, Chris Chibnall, doesn’t have to rely on showy ploys or tactics to propel the murder. Simple revelations from witnesses or tiny clues that lead to breakthrough are enough to continue the shroud of mystery and keep fans completely in the dark.
Later on in the show, we rely on these character developments to keep us interested. With there no longer being a murder, there’s a major hole missing that needs to be filled. This hole persists and is slowly filled, with our curiosity being piqued by the daily interactions of the detectives and lawyers. This show is much more than just the solving of a murder. The main point is seeing the reactions of those in a town shaken by how everyone is more than what meets the eye, a lesson that seems to be learned only as the mystery of Daniel Latimer’s death unravels lives and families. The best kinds of shows are the ones that make you think and reflect, always wondering more than whodunit, and Broadchurch is one of them.
You can watch the season 3 finale of Broadchurch this Wednesday night at 10/9c on BBC America. Catch up online on BBC America and you can stream the first two seasons on Netflix.