KUDOS FILM AND TELEVISION PRESENTS BROADCHURCH SERIES 2 Images are under strict Embargo not to be used before the 13TH January. PICTURED : OLIVIA COLMAN and DAVID TENNANT. Copyright ITV/Kudos.

There are spoilers in this review. Duh.

I wrote about Broadchurch season one before, and it seriously is one of the best crime dramas I’ve seen on television. What stands out to me about the show is how intense and personal it is. We see a lot of crime dramas where stories are wrapped up in one episode, or maybe after a few. Even the ones who take full seasons don’t use as much painful, detailed focus. As someone who grew up in a small town, I can relate to this tiny little town where nothing bad ever really happens, so it’s shaken by a brutal and unexpected murder. Danny Latimer’s death was a tragedy, but I think a lot of people didn’t know what could come next for this show now that his murder was solved. Oh ho ho, little do people realize how much worse things can get once a trial begins. Another fun part of this show is how serious they were about protecting spoilers. In the first season, they didn’t tell people who the killer was and it was a closely kept secret, scripts were protected, etc. Love it. This season they did the same thing. Season three is coming hopefully soon. This is a long review, sorry not sorry.

So previously on Broadchurch, we met Detective Inspector Alec Hardy (David Tennant) and Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman). He got the job that she wanted in this little town, and he had a history as someone who “bungled” a big investigation that still haunted him. He was there in time for the mysterious death of boy Danny Latimer, and the rest of the season was peeling back the possible whodunits. Danny’s parents Beth (Jodie Whittaker) and Mark (Andrew Buchan) struggled to keep their marriage despite the lost of a child, but he had an affair and that didn’t help things at all. He was slightly suspicious re: his son’s death, but ruled out last season. They took care to indicate most characters on the show at least once, but that left the true murderer as Joe Miller (Matthew Gravelle). I figured this out quickly while watching, mostly because he was the only character they were trying not to implicate at all. And because it was clear the narrative was about breaking the faith and grit of Ellie Miller, who is a big cinnamon roll. So it was her husband who did it, for vaguely pedophilia reasons. He admitted to it once caught by Hardy, and Ellie lost her temper once she found out, confronting and hitting him. The community thought they could possibly move on now that it was discovered.

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Haha not so much. See while Joe did admit it, and he was clearly the killer, he decides to plead Not Guilty when faced with actual prison time. He’s a coward, which we all are well aware of, and his guilty conscience does not mean he’ll purposely go to prison. His junior barrister is pretty shocked when he says that, however, and then two major lawyers are  convinced to take up the case. Sharon Bishop (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) is for the defense, and she is the former protege of prosecutor Jocelyn Knight (Charlotte Rampling), who is convinced to come out of retirement for this. The community wants Joe brought down so they can get some closure, and they’re infuriated that he refuses to let it go. Meanwhile Ellie’s suffering for the reveal about her husband, losing respect, support, and her position because of it. Alec is still haunted by the memory of his last case, where a child died and he never managed to capture the person. Or rather he pointed the finger at someone he is certain did it, but they had to let him go due to botched investigation. He has a potential witness in Broadchurch, hidden there until he can find a way to start the case up again. She is Claire Ripley (Eve Myles), the wife of the suspected murderer Lee Ashworth (James D’Arcy). So as a summary about the Joe case: the defense manages to successfully cause doubt in the minds of others by indicating Mark could have done the kill himself. They also disparage Ellie and Alec’s part in it, implicating they were having an affair and that Ellie’s attack on Joe was unprofessional and served against the case. In the end he is found not guilty and released, but the town of Broadchurch get together to aggressively exile him. It’s a powerful scene where he’s brought to where Danny died and he’s told to leave or he’ll get his ass killed. I’m shocked he wanted to stay there at all, but this isn’t a sane person.

I summarize that because the major mystery this season is about the Sandbrook case. So here’s the deal: One night Lisa Newbery (Eliza Bennett) and her little cousin Pippa Gillespie (Hollie Burgess) were kidnapped. Pippa was found dead by Alec in a stream, a memory that haunts him to this day, but Lisa was never found. Alec was certain that Lee was to blame, but the facts didn’t add up and he never got true justice. Claire says she will inform on her husband. But Claire also sort of instigates a lot of odd behavior with Lee and acts inappropriately with Alec too. Ellie helps him with the investigation since he clearly can’t do it on his own, and he’s far too emotionally invested. Eventually the convoluted story involves three people, and that’s why one person could never be pinpointed. Lisa had an affair with Lee, Pippa’s father Ricky discovered it and killed her in a fit of anger, and Pippa witnessed it. After telling Claire the truth about sex with Lisa and what she observed, Claire gives her a roofie that her father handed over in a flask. She then manipulates Lee into smothering the girl, claiming that she can point at him as the killer. Ricky is told that his daughter had a bad reaction to the roofies and she died, so he believes he’s responsible for both deaths. He buries Lisa somewhere secretly but doesn’t do as good a job with his own child, obviously. Claire is very skilled at manipulation and she almost gets away with it during this whole thing, but Alec and Ellie are an awesome combo. He manages to finally get the peace he was after, and with Joe going, so does Ellie. Well, not full peace. After all, they’re both traumatized people who can never look at the world the same way.

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There are so many details I had to gloss over for this, because obviously all the side characters and new characters had plots and arcs of their own. So this is a good reason for everyone to just go watch it on Netflix for yourself. As always, the acting in this is superb. Tennant is engrossing in his portrayal of a haunted man, and Olivia Colman deserves all the awards. It was no secret that Ellie was my favorite in series one, and my heart hurt for her, and it does this entire season as well. She’s been shaken and damaged, but she manages to get her feet under her again after struggling with guilt and responsibility. Her son’s anger toward her and confusion is difficult, and obviously her community hates her for much of this. Eventually they come around though, as they should, because Ellie is the best. I think by helping her partner she’s come to recognize she’s a good cop and it wasn’t her skills that failed her, it was just general blindness. It was a human flaw. I liked the two lawyers in this a great deal and their conflict and positions as defender/prosecutor.

They did a great job juggling both storylines. I feel like Broadchurch could’ve gotten away with making the entire season about the court case, but the other murder was pretty necessary. I do think it got a little convoluted? It was kind of like “well we did that one shocker before, now HERE ARE THREE MURDERERS EVEN MORE SCANDAL.” It did make sense once they broke it down and you met all the new characters, but wow despicable people, am I right? I have to hand it to Eve Myles because Claire is devious and layered and dark, and she really dove into the role. I didn’t like her in Torchwood, but clearly with good material here she makes the most of it. I have no idea what season three is going to look like considering both cases are clearly wrapped up. Will there be another sudden murder in town? Will we be going to a new town? Will they have SIX murderers this time? Either way, I’ll be there for it. Broadchurch is tense, thrilling, and while it moves slowly at times, it feels right, because it gives you time to sit in the setting and with these characters. You won’t find a lot of TV this well done, so seriously. Tell everyone to watch before season three starts!

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