Thursday, September 26, 2013

Oh, Broadchurch--Finale Review


Look--I like where this show was pointing its attention. It wasn't all about the mad, bad, and dangerous to know DI with his manpain and his neckbeard of sorrow. It wasn't a thrill ride about who dunnit and how is he going to get caught. There were exactly zero car chases and nobody ran away from a fireball. (All of which we can expect to see in the American remake, if there is one.)

The point of the series was to look at the people who get overlooked in murder dramas: the grieving parents, the lost sibling, the family of the culprit, the effect of suspicion on the suspects who turn out not to be guilty.

I just wish it had done all this better. In a series that was gorgeously shot, it never quite raised its game to the same level. It looked like an "A" movie while working generally at a "B-" level. Like a student who isn't working to his potential, it is frustrating for what it could have been, if it had just put in the effort.

Of course the murderer was Joe Miller. Operating on the Agatha Christie Principle of the "least likely person is the one who did it," it had to be Joe Miller, because he was one of only two recurring characters who had not been a suspect yet. The other? Danny Latimer's grandmother, of course.

(Could it possibly have been the grandmother? Well, she did give up DNA and fingerprint evidence in the first episode to be used to disqualify her as a suspect, along with the other members of the family. That could have been a brilliant double fake--but it wasn't.)

It was bloody obvious by last week, however. There was Susan Wright's identification of her estranged son Nige as present at the beach. But it wasn't Nige, it was the other skinny, pale, bald man in town. More unforgivable was the hamhanded scene in which DS Miller confronts Susan Wright about her ignorance of her husband's sexual abuse of their daughters. "How could you have not known? How could you live in that house and not have known?"

Nobody gets to say something like that without having it thrown back into their teeth. DS Miller claims that she didn't know about Joe--either at the time he was secretly meeting with Danny, or during the investigation.

(Beth Latimer comes out of her house to accuse her former friend of the same thing--"How could you not know?" So keep an eye on the Latimer household for unsavory goings on in the second series of Broadchurch, already ordered.)

Again, the problem was with the writing. The whole "he's not really a pedophile, he just likes hugging a boy" is odd in the extreme. The "accidental" nature of the murder is also weird--Danny said they couldn't meet like that again, and Joe got so worked up, trying to get Danny to listen to him, that he strangled the boy before he noticed what he was doing? It doesn't make any sense to me, and lampshading it inside the drama doesn't really correct the problem. DI Hardy probes for details, saying "I need to understand." Joe lashes back at him "If I don't understand it, why should you?"

Ellie Miller also gropes for understanding using very similar language, and she asks Hardy if her husband can be considered a pedophile if he never actually molested anybody. If not, what is he? "Why do you need to categorize him?" Hardy asks. "Because I need to understand" she says.

I'm not sure that the mystery qualifies as "satisfying" if the whole motive thing is baffling to both the audience and the characters themselves.

Can we talk about some of the pacing as well? Hardy has to tell Miller that her husband is the culprit. He interrupts her interrogation of Nige, terminates the proceeding and dismisses everybody. She should be furious, but she's not. Why? He starts to ask her questions about the night Danny Latimer was killed, and she feels like he suspects her. But she puts up with it patiently, again, not too believably. But seconds--seconds--after she learns it's Joe, she's crouched in a corner of the room, heaving.

It's just too fast. Like Nige sobbing over newspaper clippings from last week--about the tragic story of a bunch of people he never knew existed, it's just emotional spectacle without the proper set up. Why would Miller believe Hardy? Especially over her own experience with Joe? Why wouldn't she deny it longer?

To her credit--Olivia Coleman really sold the heck out of Ellie Miller's devastation. The scene where she confronts her husband in the interrogation room, and loses it--very believable. The way she kicked at him, even as a uniformed officer was dragging her away--that felt like hysteria. That was the manifestation of her emotional turmoil, and the way she had to believe that he had done it.

The problem was never the acting, and if Olivia Coleman takes home all the awards next season, she will have earned them. The problem is that the story itself is too linear, too determined, to be engaging on its own. Once a suspect was "cleared," they never resurfaced as a possibility again. The victim's father, Mark, was dodgy about his whereabouts the night his son was killed. Extremely dodgy. It turns out that he was off having an affair--and keeping that secret was more important to him than finding his son's murderer? Really? I mean, once the Keystone Kops got him to admit to the affair, let let him go and he was never on their radar again.

Shouldn't he have been? I mean, if he had killed his son, wouldn't an affair be the kind of alibi you would arrange for yourself? If he did kill his son, maybe he would have arranged it so that his affair was his alibi--but the detectives never looked very closely at it. They never really tried to figure out if he could have done both--they took him at his word that he didn't, they didn't scrutinize his alibi, they didn't try to find any inconsistencies in his story--that would have been a compelling story to tell about  the effect that murder has on a family. Not only did they lose their child, but the stress of having the husband be suspected--by the police, by the rest of the family--could have been searing. Much more powerful than the pathetic minor rudeness of Beth having to order a drink from Becca.

But the show kept turning away from those kind of tensions, in favor of--what exactly?

That's the question. What was the engine that drove this series? The police work was subpar, the secrets  that were revealed weren't rooted in characters we cared about, because most of the characters weren't given enough dimension for us to really care about them. For example--what did we know about Susan Wright before we heard her sob story? She was creepy, and threatening, so she was a great suspect, but she wasn't somebody we actually cared about.

And in the absense of characters we care about, the secrets have to stand on their own as compelling plot devices, and most of them were frankly--not. The Rev. Paul Coates goes to AA? Seriously? That was it? Mark Latimer is having a tawdry midlife affair with the hotel owner? Predictable, basically. Nige was adopted?

What if they had abandoned all this serial suspect finding, and went deep into the broken Latimer family. Daughter Chloe has a drug dealing boyfriend, and is under the age of consent. He's kind of dodgy, but he's giving her some semblance of stability in the face of the murder. Beth and Mark invite him to dinner--which would certainly have been the source of some real conflict between them (and within each of them). Surely, the awkwardness where he offers a present for the new baby was far from the most powerful moment that would have happened in this crucible.

And let's talk more about that ending. How did our police duo figure out who the murderer was? Was there clever assembly of disparate information gathered over the previous seven weeks of investigation?

Of course not.

Basically, the perp all but called in his location. He turned on Danny Latimer's phone, and then stood in place and waited for DI Hardy and his neckbeard to follow the turn-by-turn directions on his phone. When he reached Joe Miller standing in a backyard shed, Joe admitted to the crime. "I was tired of hiding."

Let's just say if I was Hardy's boss, I would be pissed. All those cops, all those weeks of major staff expenditures and new phone lines and conventional policing--turned up nothing. They might as well have just sat around and waited for Joe to give himself up. The two weeks of angst around the budget cuts and the loss of the additional staff--didn't mean anything at all, because as far as we can tell, they didn't do anything to forward the investigation.

And what was the deal with the psychic telephone installer? What did he add at all to the story? Are we supposed to think he was actually channeling information? If so, if he really was getting messages from Danny--why didn't Danny give him better hints? "It's someone you know" is hardly helpful, nor is it unusual, since statistically that is true of all murders. So, was he just a creep trying to insert himself into a drama? Was he a goad to DI Hardy? The story never told us, just left him hanging around on the periphery, with no plot purpose or resolution. Are we supposed to believe in the supernatural? Or just believe that somebody does? Does it give Beth any comfort--or does it make her feel used? We don't know, because it's not in the writing at all.

I went online and looked at reviews of the finale both here and in the UK, and as far as I can tell, part of the  excitement was the cultural conversation around the role the media played, in light of the recent phone hacking scandal, and possibly the attempt to figure out the murderer as well. And when there is a lot of conversation, it makes the show loom larger and take on more cultural weight. We just didn't have that here, for whatever reason, and without that the thinness of the plot was just too obvious. Maybe it was the fact that this happened in the summer, or that it was yet another limited episode murder mystery series and that conversation had been exhausted by The Killing, The Bridge, Top of the Lake,  and even the non-murder limited series House of Cards, and Orange is the New Black.

Which makes me wonder if this is a series that I would have liked better if it had been released in the all-at-once Netflix model. If I could have immersed myself into the world, without commercials (and without the cuts BBC America made to get those ads in and keep it a tidy hour long show), for as  long as I could. I might well have watched the whole thing over a weekend rather than dragged out over eight weeks, which game me too much time to pick at its inconsistencies and its flaws. Had I been binging, I might have felt more like I was really in Broadchurch, and I might have invested more of myself into the characters than I did.

I might have cared. As it was, the series was less about Broadchurch as a community, and ultimately was about the destruction of Ellie Miller and her innoncence. She started the series believing that her greatest disappointment was that she didn't get the promotion she was promised. She ended the series destroyed emotionally, believing that she could no longer even do her job, with her family and friendships in shreds around her. "I know that boy" she said in the first hour. By the final hour, she felt she didn't know anybody, including herself.

ITV has announced that there will be a second series, that will be a different story. If I were asked to predict what that story would be--I would go with the re-construction of Ellie Miller. She's got to hit bottom, and then pull herself together, because she has two children she has to raise, and she's got to figure out how she is going to move forward into the rest of her life.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Trying Again on "Oh Broadchurch"

I keep thinking about this show--which is a win for the show, obviously, if you believe that any publicity is good publicity.

But here's the problem. The whole thing looks like it's a sensitive and nuanced look at the effect of murder on a small town. The talented cast acts like it's a sensitive and nuanced look at the effect of murder on a small town. It's the script that isn't on the same page.

Because the script only goes to the first level of secrets. There's a murder. To solve the murder, people have to give up information they would rather keep to themselves. But under the concentrated questioning of the police and in their own self-interest (because they don't want to be convicted of a murder they didn't commit, or because they want to sleep safe in their own beds and want the murderer to be caught) they reveal their secrets, their darker sides.

That's the bargain, right? There is a desire for privacy, to not be judged for things they are already ashamed of--otherwise they wouldn't be keeping them secret. But there is a strong countervailing need for safety. So in the course of the investigation, we learn things about people, their true faces.


Except not everybody is fully and totally honest. Not at first. Maybe not ever.

There are lots of reasons for this, right? Let's look at some of the candidates for lying.

  • Obviously, the actual perpetrator might lie repeatedly in order to not be punished. S/he doesn't want to get caught, so s/he lies. It's the job of the police to break through this defensive scrim of lies to get at the truth. "You murdered him." "No, I didn't." "Yes, you did, and here's our proof." You can't expect the murderer to just confess at that point. The problem is that--despite DI Hardy's repeated insistence that "anybody could have done this"--the police don't seem to consider that the suspect they question might be lying at a more sophisticated level than simple denial. Which a murderer who doesn't want to get caught will certainly do.
  • Deliberate lies. Even when not covering up murder, people are frequently engaged in other illegalities they don't want to admit to, or just things they are embarrassed about. Especially when they believe these things aren't related to the murder. For example, Mark Latimer (the victim's father) was having an affair. He didn't want to make that public, and he knows that he didn't kill his son to cover up the affair, so why do the police need to know about it? So he stalls, he evades, he makes up stories about where he was, he enlists his pal Nige to cover for him. The cops track down Nige, explode his story, get the truth from Mark. This is about the only time they do any decent police work. But once they get the fact of the affair out of Mark--they drop him as a suspect. The problem is that a man who is having an affair could also have other secrets. He could be involved in getting drugs for the hotel guests--his daughter was, his mistress was, why not him? Could having an affair plus illegal drug activity be motive for murder? 
  • Misleading facts. Jack Marshall, the local Sea Scouts leader, is found dead, apparently having committed suicide. He had been the lead suspect at the time, his past as a sex offender leading to persecution and dredging up his sorrowful backstory of losing his son and wife to his wife's drunk driving accident. He was technically a sex offender, in that he fell in love with a girl just shy of her 18th birthday (16th? Whichever is the age of consent in the UK), and married her after he served his time for statutory rape. This is not the assumption that the town jumped to, concluding that he molested all the Sea Scouts, and killed Danny Latimer to keep his pedophilia secret. But--was he an innocent victim and did he commit suicide? The mob of men who confronted him and tried to run him out of town--might have come back. They might have murdered him. He might have murdered Danny. What proof do the police have that he didn't? Not any kind of forensic proof, that's for sure. Instead, it's a sort of "narrative necessity." He couldn't be the murderer, because he died only halfway through the series. Far too early for him to be the solution. Which isn't very satisfying.
  • Mistaken but sincerely held beliefs. Susan Wright is kind of a creepy lady, and she's got a lot of proximity to the murder--she has the keys to the hut where the murder took place, she had Danny's skateboard, she trolls for Tom Miller with her dog and lures him to her caravan. When she's broght in for questioning, she tells a sad story about her abusive husband, the murder of her own daughter, the loss of her remaining two children, and her search for the baby that was taken away from her--who she has identified as Nige. Maybe she believes this to be true. Maybe it is true--but maybe she is mistaken. Maybe she is lying. Maybe she has a longer con in mind, is using the purported filial relationship to get Nige into some scheme. We can't know, because DS Miller buys the story, hook, line and sinker.
The thing about detective work--real detective work--is that a confession can't always be taken a face value. First a detective has to figure out what questions to ask, and then has to take the answers skeptically. Hardy and Miller hardly ever seem to take that second step, and that's what makes the whole of Broadchurch seem flimsy. It's the sense that you haven't really looked very deeply at all.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Oh Broadchurch--Why Do You Disappoint Me So?

I started watching this series because I was promised so much. Culture commentators that I generally trust recommended this. Viewing figures from the UK indicated that this was a much-beloved series. A second series was ordered even before the first series had completed its run here in the US.

Sure, I had my doubts. Chris Chibnall has (in my experience, which does NOT include Life On Mars which I have not watched) a tendency to bite off more than he can chew. The ideas are clever, the execution feels thin. David Tennant was delightful as The Doctor, but his Hamlet with the RSC was not something I will voluntarily subject myself to a second time.

But--the general acclaim! What could it hurt, right? Good tv, done well--worth a shot to be part of the ongoing cultural conversation.

Sure! As long as I don't mind being disappointed. And I am. Because--seriously? This is as good as we expect from BBC?

The idea that a murder is more than just a whodunnit is not new, but it doesn't have to be. The idea is that the murder is just a catalyst, the reason why we are looking behind closed doors and rifling through people's lives. Police are charged with solving the case, and so we have permission to pry into people's secrets--permission that is not generally given. It's rude, right? When you have to live with people, you let them have their quirks, their personal space, so even if you think you know everybody in your small seaside town, you only know what they have chosen to reveal about themselves.

And you accept that--because too much unvarnished knowledge makes it hard to keep going. So when an eleven year old boy is found dead on the beach, there is a fundamental communal need to expose the secrets that will uncover the perpetrator. The detectives conducting the investigation are the audience's guide through the shifting realities--the way things were before and the way they are now, afterwards.

Broadchurch attempts to walk the thin line between whodunnit--which puts solving the crime at the forefront of the plot--and a sensitive examination of the ways a murder ripples through a community and affects those around it. Perhaps I should be happy that it attempts the latter at all, and not be so disappointed that it doesn't do it well.

The trouble is, that it doesn't do either of those things well--the search for the killer is not done well, precisely because the procedural elements run smack into the emotional chaos, and both are derailed.

Let's look at this a little more closely, shall we?

In a previous installment--possibly episode 6, from just over a week ago, Our Intrepid DI Alec Hardy (played by David Tennant as a support system for the emotionally complicated neck-beard that defines the character)

has apparently spun the Big Wheel of Suspects and landed on the local vicar.

I say the "Big Wheel of Suspects," because there isn't anything that indicates why the vicar is suddenly the subject of extra scrutiny. Perhaps DI Hardy was alone in his hotel room watching old reruns of The Vicar of Dibley and had a sudden brainstorm?

In any event, he decides that the vicar wants watching, so he tails him to a nearby town where the poor man attends AA meetings. The next morning, DI Hardy corrals DS Miller and they go to confront the vicar in the churchyard. The questioning quickly becomes hostile.

DI Hardy: Why didn't you tell us you go to AA meetings?

Vicar: Because it has no possible bearing on your murder investigation?

DI Hardy: serious side-eye and attempts to look threatening, which fail, because AA meetings have NO POSSIBLE BEARING on the murder investigation.

Because--you know what? The vicar is right. None of the questions Hardy and Miller had asked him had any connection to AA. Why does he keep it secret? Possibly because his ability to do his job might be undermined by the information that he is a recovering alcoholic. Is there anything--ANYTHING--that ties AA meetings to the murder, other than the fact that he hadn't volunteered that he's a recovering alcoholic?

No. There isn't.

Just think all the irrelevant information he could have offered that also has no bearing on the murder investigation. Since apparently DI Hardy gets his knickers in a twist over information that isn't volunteered.

  • He saved money on his car insurance by switching to Geico. 
  • He is choosy about his peanut butter and prefers Jif.
  • He wears boxers, and occasionally irons them.
  • He prefers stuffing over potatoes, every time!
  • Watches cricket, not football.
  • His password on his laptop is either "pasta" or "pizza"--he switches back and forth.
  • He wears short sleeved undershirts under all his dress shirts.
  • Sir dresses to the left.
And this is where the substructure of the series not only shows, but it starts to interfere with my ability to take any of this seriously. Because as the exchange between Hardy and the Vicar indicates, the point of this show is to ferret out everybody's secrets for the sake of demonstrating that everybody has secrets. Then, apparently, there is a limit? No one may have more than one secret? And once that secret has been found out, that removes them from suspicion of murder, because of the Law of Conservation Of Plot? 

The vicar is a recovering alcoholic, so he can't also be a murderer. The local Sea Scout leader was a convicted sex offender a million years ago, and he committed suicide, so he's been cleared of murder. (He wasn't actually cleared either--they just stopped looking at him as a suspect.) Susan Wright, the cleaning lady who had the keys to the murder site, who had possession of the dead boy's skateboard, who has been living under an assumed name, who is vaguely threatening and creepy generally--has a sad backstory involving a husband who molested both their daughters and then implicated her. CPS labeled her an "unfit mother" and took her newborn away--who grew up to be the bald plumber's assistant Nige.

Well, she wouldn't have told that story if it wasn't true, would she? And if it was true, then she can't be the murderer, because her story came out in episode 7 of an 8 episode series. So we don't bother to check if any of her claims are true, even after Nige tells them "I didn't even know I was adopted!" Why check up on any of her story? She gave up her secret, which apparently disqualifies her from being the murderer.

There are some exceptions--Jody Whittaker's turn as the boy's mother has always been exceptional. She is broken, and her interview with the mother of another murdered child was bleak. The other mother lives in a twilight world of drink and sleep, the marriage fell apart, and she just passes the hours hoping to evade the pain. Beth was looking for hope, for a way to move out of her stasis, and this stunned her.

She remains unable to deal with her own surprise pregnancy--she can't either embrace it or reject it. She can't go forward, because she wants to go back to when her boy was still alive. 

If the series had focused on that sort of sorrow and pain--and stayed away from trying to tug our heartstrings with DI Hardy and his man pain, it would have been stronger. As it is, it is turning into a series of emotionally manipulative set pieces, strung together with too little else. It's like old fashioned opera, where the divas would simply stand center stage during their arias--it's called "Park and Bark" and that's what the citizens of Broadchurch are mostly doing. They each have their own secret, they reveal it to the jaded detectives, and then they disappear from the investigation. 

I expected much better than this.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Oh, Broadchurch-- I Wish I Could Quit You.

Honestly--how bad are the police in Dorset anyway?

--Jack Marshall has a previous conviction as a sex offender. He doesn't want to talk about it. Oh well, unless he's willing to talk, the police have NO WAY of finding out what the conviction was for, TOO BAD. I mean, it's not like a guilty conviction would be a matter of public record, would it? And there's no reason to think that any newly appointed DI from outside of Broadchurch would know anybody in any other police force to find out that information. Too bad there are no telephones in Broadchurch to make a call or anything.

(Also too bad there's no such thing as Google either. Curse you, charming seaside town that exists outside the 21st century!)

--Hey, wait? The autopsy showed Danny wasn't sexually abused. Why would a sex crime conviction (from about a hundred years ago, back when Jack Marshall was 40) have any bearing on a murder investigation where molestation had been ruled out?

--Cigarettes? AT THE SITE OF THE BODY?? Hey! I know! Instead of playing Bad Cop to force a confession out of poor elderly Jack Marshall (about an affair with an almost-legal girl that he married after he served a 1 year sentence--an affair that happened during the reign of Charles II), why don't you ask him if he carried that kind of cigarette and who bought them from him? Because it's more fun to disapprove of your great-grandpappy's sexual history than to ACTUALLY INVESTIGATE THE MURDER?

--Is ANYBODY looking at Danny's computer? We saw Tommy Miller deleting messages from Danny from his own phone and computer, and there was some rigamarole around not being able to find Danny's phone--but what about his computer?

--Also--mobile phone bills from the Lattimers? Danny's phone would probably be on a family plan--is anybody looking at trying to figure out who he talked to and texted by any other means? Oh no--we're just going to sit around and wait for the missing phone to turn up, because by the Law of Narrative Necessity, it has to show up. That's science.

--Who do I think is guilty as of this week? There are a few suspects:

  1. Chris Chibnall. The same clunkily bad writer who gave us Torchwood's embarrassment "Cyberwoman" AND Doctor Who's risible "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" continues to miss the point of plotting out the show you are writing. There is just no police activity going on here! It's like they just hang around and wait for somebody to show up with some evidence.
  2. The Middle-aged Men of Broadchurch--because leaping to the conclusion that Jack Marshall is a homosexual pedophile says a little too much about your own fantasies and fears than I want to have to know about.
  3. BBC America, for editing out a scene in which Tom Miller asks his father how long a murderer might go to prison, and for any other scenes they have cut out. Also, for not airing this series back when the UK got it too.
Yup. I think that does it. 

Sunday, September 01, 2013


I heard some good things about the British television series Broadchurch, so I've been collecting episodes on my DVR. This weekend, I watched the four that have aired here in the US.

It's good--I mean, it's fine. It's not gotten under my skin at all, and David Tennant looks like hell. His character is brusque and asocial, plus he's got some kind of Deep Dark Medical Secret--and he's not really rising above the cliche in my book. He's got terrible facial hair--not stubbly enough to be attractive, not thick enough to really be a beard. He's terribly terribly thin, and honestly? His character doesn't really get much screen time either, so there's not much time for him to establish a character.

On the other hand, Olivia Colman as DS Ellie Miller is really good--by which I mean that she is really trying to be good at her job while treating the people in her small town with kindness and decency. She was all but promised the promotion that went to Alec Hardy (Tennant's character), and her bitterness is understandable. Yet she works every day to rise above that, to learn from her new boss, to treat him with humanity and warmth, despite the fact that he doesn't return the favor.

The story so far--eleven year old Danny Lattimer was found dead on the beach outside Broadchurch, on the Dorset coast. His family didn't notice him missing, because he had a paper route and so he was out of the house before anybody else was awake. When he didn't show up for a school event, his mother became worried, and then the body was found.

So the investigation gets us into this small town that has never had much in the way of crime, and never a murder before. Does it work? Well, yes, and no.

The series is created by Chris Chibnall, whose record as a script writer on some other series I watch has been hit-or-miss. Broadchurch isn't as clunky and odd as "Cyberwoman" from Torchwood or "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship" for Doctor Who, so that's good. The scope has been kept resolutely small, tightly on the people. Even when the big institutional conflicts are loaded into place--police versus journalists, notably--the focus stays tight. When the crusading reporter from London shows up, she doesn't worm her way into their confidence in order to get a by-line. In fact, she seems to be doing very little reporting at all. As she eventually reveals, she's there because she is keeping an eye on Alec Hardy, to make sure he doesn't screw up this case as he had recently done on another one.

The ambitious journalist is a local boy, who is so hot to get noticed that he identifies the victim on Twitter--and his editor frog marches him around town to apologize for having done so. Which is not something you see all that often.

Even so, the characters and their relationships aren't very well established, not enough that I particularly care about their struggles. This is most obvious when Tennant's character passes out in his hotel bathroom and wakes up in hospital. The hotel manager is sitting there, and he begs her not to let anyone know about his medical condition--"They'll take me off the case, and I don't want to be off this case. Please. This is my career. This is my life."

Sure, it's important to him--but why should we (the audience) care about his feelings when he gratuitously refuses to care about anybody else's? Maybe it would be a good thing for him to be forced off the case--since the point of medical disability is that a condition like he has gets in the way of being able to actually solve something like a murder. Where is his concern for that?

The pace is rather slow, and it's hard to tell how much time the story spans. Halfway through the eight episode series, and the police haven't even looked at anything from the boy's computer. They did just locate his phone, so perhaps the digital data will appear in the next episode.

And yet--I'm drawn in at some level. I was able to stop midway through House of Cards and Orange is the New Black without much difficulty. Broadchurch is different. I want to see the rest of the episodes, because it feels like this is taking me somewhere. The characters feel like they have been set up in order to have real character arcs kick in. It's not just a question of wanting to know whodunit--there is something more fundamental, more human, that I'm experiencing.

But because it is a mystery, ad we will have a killer--who do I think is going to be revealed as the murderer? I'm putting this here, so I have to admit to getting it wrong if I am wrong.

The methodology? I'm going with the "least likely suspect" and I'm picking Tom Miller--DS Ellie Miller's son and the victim's best friend. He was shown deleting text messages and social media connections, he's been established as very good with computers, and he was a Sea Scout, so trained in using boats. There is reason to believe that Danny Lattimer's body was placed on the beach from a boat, and one was just burned, apparently to hide evidence. Tom knows about boats, and he's been salted into the story just enough as Danny's friend and Ellie's son--but not as a suspect.

Initially, I was leaning toward the local Anglican priest, played by that Very Nice Young Man, Rory Pond from Doctor Who--Arthur Darville. But in episode four, he was placed at the top of the suspects list for not having an alibi at the time of death, and he acted too suspicious about having insomnia. So he's actually too obviously a suspect to be the murderer.

Don't know how I'm going to wait another 4 weeks before I get to the end of this story.