As we approach the halfway point of Broadchurch it appears as if everybody has their own idea of who the killer is. The last couple of episodes have built up Mark Latimer as the lead suspect in the death of his son Danny. However it was revealed last week that Mark’s flimsy alibi was an attempt to cover up an affair with hotelier Becca Fisher. With Mark now seemingly out of the picture, a number of different characters are being lined up as the potential murder. This fourth instalment sees the citizens of Broadchurch turn on each other as they try to decide who to trust. As more secrets come about Broadchurch’s residents it appears as if nobody in a small community truly knows their neighbours.
Obviously the main piece of evidence coming into this instalment is the boat that was seen burning at the end of last week’s episode. It is revealed early on that this isn’t Mark Latimer’s boat but one belonging to another member of the community. After a forensic search of the boat, hairs are found that are later revealed to belong to Danny. At the same time young journalist Olly discovers that shopkeeper Jack Marshall once did time in prison for having sex with a minor. As Danny was a paperboy at Jack’s shop and was also part of the Sea Brigade he and Jack spent a lot of time together. Inevitably Miller and Hardy bring Jack into the station for questioning however he chastises them for dragging up the past. Though he doesn’t reveal the nature of the conviction he tells the pair that he didn’t have a part in Danny’s death. However later Jack confronts Olly about leaking the information and inadvertently gets into more trouble. Realising that he’d be implicated in Danny’s death, Jack goes to the Latimers’ house and swears that he isn’t the murderer. He also reveals that he found Danny’s phone in one of the newspaper bags and the police are happy to have this vital piece of evidence. Ellie later receives information suggesting that Danny’s murder happened in similar circumstances to one in Whitby fifteen years earlier. This may not be a coincidence though as Jack used to live five miles away from where this murder took place.
Hardy also seems to be suspicious of Reverend Paul Coates mainly because he doesn’t have an alibi for the night of Danny’s murder. Paul tells the police that he was busy writing a sermon on the night of the murder but of course nobody can prove this. Paul doesn’t help his case by revealing that he has bad insomnia which means that he often leaves the church to wander Broadchurch’s many cliffs. Paul goes on to tell the police that he wasn’t walking the cliffs on the night of Danny’s murder but I do suspect he’s lying. Paul also has a connection to Danny as he taught IT at the local school and describes Danny’s computer skills as outstanding. While Hardy marks Jack and Paul out as his two main suspects there is still a town full of potential killers in Broadchurch. Susan Wright continues to behave suspiciously and in this episode we found out a lot more about her. After weeks of lurking in the background we found out that she runs the thrill rides along the Broadchurch harbour. Newspaper editor Maggie also does some digging and finds out that Susan has also gone under the name of Elaine Jones. Susan later confronts Maggie and tells her to stop snooping and adds that she knows men who could easily attack Maggie. Susan also seems to have some sort of prior relationship with Nige which might have something to do with when he helped Mark repair a leak at the beach hut.
Meanwhile the Latimer family continue to struggle on with a house full of secrets and a grief that just won’t go away. Beth is distancing herself from her husband and instead seems to be finding solace in the words of Steve the psychic. Beth seems convinced that Steve is giving her messages from Danny however she is later talked round by a sceptic Ellie. It is later revealed that Steve has previous convictions for fraud and the police believe that he wished to cash in on the Latimers’ grief. Karen continues to have to justify her presence in Broadchurch to her editor as he believes she’s gone AWOL. To appease her editor, Karen attempts to get Beth to front a story about Danny’s death and hopes the family will go along with it. She informs them that telling the story through Beth’s words will be the only way to drum up more media interest in the case. In the end the family agrees, however the story results in a plethora of paparazzi turning up in Broadchurch wanting to get close to the Latimer family. The episode ends with a press conference in which the entire Latimer family appeal for new witnesses to come forward. As Beth gives a tearful plea, Mark’s statement is simple as he tells the press ‘whoever did this needs to be caught.’
This might be easier said than done as investigating officer Alec Hardy continues to suffer bouts of poor health. This episode reveals a softer side to his character as he finally has dinner with Ellie and Tom. Though he harps on about hating false intimacy, by the end of the night he and Tom are laughing together. Despite Hardy not wanting to have any more to drink, Tom continues to fill up his glass and resulting in him being very tipsy when he leaves the Miller residence. Hardy does arrive back at The Traders in one piece however he collapses on the bathroom floor while trying to get to his medication. Hardy wakes up in hospital to find Becca at his side but he implores her not to reveal what happened as he needs to finishing solving the case. We also discovered that Hardy has a fifteen year old daughter and we assume that it is her picture that Hardy carries around in his wallet. But this being Broadchurch we can’t take anything or anyone at face value which to me is one of the series’ strengths.
The brilliance of Chris Chibnall’s script means that I am constantly over-analysing every little movement that is made to see if there is any relevance to Danny’s death. I think it is obvious to everyone that Jack isn’t the killer but as he’s played by David Bradley we are naturally suspicious of everything he does. I thought Bradley was great in this episode as a community leader whose past had finally caught up with him. Pauline Quirke also brought another side to Susan/Elaine as we saw her smiling enthusiastic side while trying to sell her harbour thrill rides. Quirke was also utterly terrifying later on when we saw her character threaten Maggie a threat which was completely believable. While Susan still stands out as the most suspicious character I believe her antics with Nige won’t have anything to do with Danny’s death. Instead my current lead suspect is gormless Olly whose mother is seemingly suffering financial difficulties as we saw items from their house being repossessed. My working theory is that Olly paid Danny to do something illegal but he refused which would explain the money that was found under Danny’s bed. However I suspect that by next week Olly’s whereabouts will be explained and I’ll have yet another potential murderer to point the finger act.
This episode of Broadchurch was the best one since that breath-taking first instalment. I liked the fact that the case was opened up once again while some more of the supporting characters got their chance to shine. As always Broadchurch is beautifully shot and I particularly loved the scenes in which we saw Hardy flickering in and out of consciousness while in the ambulance. I also love the elements of humour that are present in Chibnall’s script notably in the relationship between Hardy and Miller. Their stilted dinner party was one of the highlights of this week’s episode and demonstrated the very realistic aspect of Broadchurch which to me marks it out from all of the other crime dramas on British TV.
What did you think to this week’s Broadchurch? Who do you think killed Danny? Leave Your Comments Below.