Broadchurch is a British mystery drama created by Chris Chibnall and starring David Tennant and Olivia Colman. It follows two police inspectors as they investigate crimes in the seaside town of Broadchurch. I really enjoyed Broadchurch. And while it’s later seasons may stagnate a bit and fall short of the original, it’s nonetheless a fairly consistent show with some remarkable twists.
Broadchurch follows detectives Alec Hardy and Ellie Miller. When the murder of a young boy named Danny Latimer shakes the foundations of the previously crime-free town of Broadchurch, everyone has something to hide. Later seasons divert away from Danny’s death, but it nonetheless remains at the center of the show.
Alec and Ellie are foils of each other. One is antisocial, hates his job, and is extremely formal, while the other is outgoing, optimistic, and satisfied. It’s very interesting because comparing the two at the start of season 1 to the end of season 3, they almost become the same character, as their traits rub off on one another. The relationship feels very organic, and both David Tennant and Olivia Colman are very talented. Speaking of talent, some of the acting in this show is phenomenal. Alec Hardy, Ellie Miller, and Mark Latimer have some incredible moments of acting. Mark Latimer in particular is also one of the most complex characters ever written, and I personally find his motivation due to guilt very relatable.
I am… conflicted as to the writing of this show. I don’t like Chris Chibnall very much. He ruined Doctor Who, and that show has gone down drastically since him becoming show runner. He fares much better in Broadchurch however. Truly the criminals are the last person one would ever expect, and every character feels multi-dimensional. However, the characters are also very inconsistent. Often they do actions that don’t make any sense simply for the plot to move along. Chibnall does similar things with all his writing I’ve noticed. Additionally, the final season begins to border on pandering. It starts to almost needlessly vilify men universally. This is something else Chibnall does with some of his other writing, as he puts similar statements into Doctor Who.
I like Broadchurch a lot. It features some excellent characters and acting, and it sets a bar as far as murder-mystery dramas go. It does suffer from some so-so writing and a weak final season, but I still enjoyed it.