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Broadchurch: Series 1 Finale Review


Reviewed by Patrick Kavanagh-Sproull.

‘All good things must come to an end’ – Proverb (Chaucer)

Broadchurch was astounding. Ambitious and aesthetically pleasing, it held the nation spellbound for eight whole weeks, clocking up millions of viewers. It is Chris Chibnall’s masterpiece. He interwove copious numbers of clues and hints into a satisfyingly credible resolution.

The quality of the series was largely underpinned by its lead actors: David Tennant and Olivia Colman, two immensely talented performers. Their characters, the Detective Inspector Alec Hardy and his assister, Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller, emerged as well-rounded individuals whom we came to empathize with. Hardy went from a grating Glaswegian, loathing the picturesque village of Broadchurch, to become a character softened and humanised by his surroundings. After his backstory was explored with a fine-tooth comb, we can now commiserate with him, rather than regard his personality with distaste. His right-hand woman, Ellie, became one of the strongest portrayals on UK television of a policewomen, placing her in the ranks with Scandinavian coppers such as [The Killing’s] Sarah Lund and [The Bridge’s] Saga Norén, both highly commendable crime thrillers. It was so easy to relate to Miller’s down-home understanding and optimistic view of everything. Olivia Colman’s acting was superlative; particularly the emotionally harrowing scenes when she discovers her husband throttled Danny. Other townspeople, such as Andrew Buchan and Jodie Whittaker as the bereaved parents, and the journalistic team (Carolyn Pickles, Jonathan Bailey and Vicky McClure) were all incredibly believable, with really praiseworthy performances.

Joe Miller had been the bookmakers’ favourite to come out as the Broadchurch killer, and thus, I was not surprised. When the camera closed in on the Miller’s tool shed in slow-motion and Ellie’s husband recited the events of Danny’s death, I found myself initially disappointed. Joe seemed such an obvious option, and I was left a little crestfallen. Notwithstanding, the episode picked up at Ellie’s reaction. Miller shook, cried, and retched when she discovered the man she had been lying next to for so long, had been the murderer. Colman’s acting here was outstanding, and she certainly warrants a BAFTA, or some other sort of highbrow award. I shed a tear; this was a performance of the highest standard. Tennant’s rendition of Hardy was equally laudable, but I felt Colman was the real scene-stealer and one of the highlights of the series.

Although Broadchurch was remarkable, I felt there was one issue that needs comment. For the show to be consistently captivating, it needed to be pragmatic and levelheaded throughout. Despite this the father of the slain child, Mark, was allowed to visit the murderer and have an unsupervised conversation -- in a real-life situation this would simply never have happened. I guess Chibnall included it because most people’s sense of natural justice would allow Mark the opportunity to face the killer of his son, and the scene was perfectly well executed, but it struck me as false. Apart from this, I had no disagreement with the rest of a wonderful finale.


“[Broadchurch is] not set up as a returning franchise, it’s an 8 part serial. It was always devised like that…” said Chris Chibnall to CultBox last month. When we all heard those words, in March, viewers were disappointed that we would only have a few more weeks left of the show. Last night we discovered that Chibnall had been hoodwinking us when he said that. The words ‘Broadchurch will return’ rippled onto our screen at the very end of the credits, and that was a pleasant shock. I’m curious whether David Tennant and Olivia Colman will reappear, as they are both very in-demand actors. Fingers crossed that they do, because Broadchurch II would certainly not be complete without the Hardy and Miller twosome.

Broadchurch had me gripped from the start, and for two months I was captivated by its driving plot. Now it’s over, there will be a noticeable hole in Monday night viewing. The show attracted huge viewing figures and quite a following, so I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t garner any awards. Broadchurch was brilliant, a series worthy of nationwide praise and recognition.

Verdict: 9/10

If anyone hasn’t seen an exclusive online scene, then find it here:

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  • TheOssifiedDevil

    Well, here we are. The final review. I just want to say thank you for all these reviews, Patrick. They’ve certainly made the ‘Broadchurch experience’ much more pleasurable :-D Plus, it doesn’t end here for me. I’m still going to West Bay in the summer holidays for a week. Can’t wait! :-D

    I agree with everything here. Broadchurch has been an incredible, emotional journey, from start to finish :-)

    • PK-S is the Man With Chips.

      @TheSeaDevil:disqus – it has been an honor, giving my opinions on such a remarkable series. I’m going to West Bay, also funnily enough, I think it’ll be amazing. Will you stay in Becca’s hotel? Buy DWM in Jack Marshall’s newsagent? Stop off at the spot where Danny died? Peer into Susan Wright’s caravan?

      Broadchurch has been fantastic.

      • TheOssifiedDevil

        Imagine that. Buying DWM from Jack (If he hadn’t killed himself, that is…)

        Me: Ok, I’ll just buy this, and this packet of Jelly Babies, thanks

        Jack: Ohhh, Doctor Who. I was in that once you know?

        Me: Oh yeah! You were! Well, it’s not real I suppose, I’m guessing you’re a nice guy in real life

        *Two familiar robots appear by the door*

        • The Centre Of The Hurricane

          Or alternative Jack:

          DWM? What’s that dear boy, hmmm?

          • TheOssifiedDevil

            Or Jack Harkness O.o

            Ah, good old DWM. I know The Doctor, he’s a good friend of mine

            Wait a second

            Why am I in West Bay?? What has happened?? Why am I running a newsagents??

  • EternalDoctor

    I just watched the finale myself so I’m still pretty stunned, but I’ll try to convey my opinions on this review.

    I agree – Broadchurch was astounding and the same can be said about your reviews. You’ve given us eight magnificent reviews which reflect perfectly well over the episodes! I must say this review, in particular, is stupendous and you truly put your great writing abilities to use. Whilst this series can almost be categorised as perfect – you still managed to be analytical when necessary and I commend that. I am extremely pleased that you were the one to review this show as you have done it true justice. I will conclude with this:

    ……………………………………….Series 2!…………………………………….

    • PK-S is the Man With Chips.

      Hello there Tyler, thank you so much, it’s been a pleasure providing Cult Fix-ers with Broadchurch reviews.

      This review is the one I’m most proud of, so thank you for calling it “stupendous”; its hugely appreciated.

  • PK-S is the Man With Chips.

    Thank you everyone for bearing with my reviews since the beginning.

    It has been a wild, emotional, tense and fantastic journey, thank you all my readers.

    I may have a treat in store for you later this week, a very special one but don’t get your hopes up, its still only a possibility.

  • TheCommenterOfTheTARDIS

    Well done on a superb review, Patrick! I’ve read all your reviews for the series, and have really enjoyed them!

    The first series of Broadchurch was outstanding television! A truly gripping story with a fantastic, slightly emotional conclusion. Top-notch television with some fantastic performances from all the cast! It’s been an absolute joy to watch, and I tip my hat off to Chris Chibnall for crafting such a fantastic storyline. Can’t wait to see what he has in store for us for Series 2!! :D

    And who knows? If Tennant returns, we may hear his booming cry of “Bloody Twitter!” again!! ;D

  • That Awkward Silent

    I adored the show and your reviews have been one of the highlights of the week. My Monday nights are going to be quite empty without Broadchurch, Let’s see if those two new sitcoms next week are any good shall we?

    • The Centre Of The Hurricane

      Regarding vicious, anything that’s managed to get two Knights of the Realm for its lead roles has to be somewhat decent.

  • GoodYear92

    Well done, Pat. As with the rest of your reviews, this is brilliant. You’ve summed up my thoughts almost to the letter.

    I also found myself initially underwhelmed by Joe Miller’s reveal (not just because of the identity, but how it was handled seemed anti-climactic in itself), but Chris redeemed this seeming falter by reminding us what Broadchurch was always intended to be about, and what it had been from the start; the people within this community. It was never meant to be a ‘whodunit’, the focus was primarily on the characters and their struggles in the wake of Danny’s murder. This was hammered home to great effect as the episode neared its conclusion, especially with the heartbreaking reaction of Ellie to the news that she had been lying next to the culprit all this time (if Olivia doesn’t receive a plethora of awards for that performance, I suggest a protest). I do think the fire shenanigans were a bit much, though. That was just a bit too…cheesy for my liking. But, all in all, a fantastic end to what’s been a stand-out piece of TV.

  • Andrea S

    Great review!
    I read all your reviews from start of the series to finish and I have only one little edit to make–you mixed up the names of Mark Latimer and the actor playing him, Andrew Buchan.

    • PK-S is the Man With Chips.

      Thank you @twitter-219716993:disqus , I appreciate it. In what sentence did I confuse them? Thanks for pointing it out.

      • Andrea S

        “Other townspeople, such as Mark Buchan and Jodie Whittaker as the bereaved parents” ;)

        • PK-S is A Talking Tree.

          Ah, thanks for pointing that out to me. I appreciate it.

          I need to get others to proofread better!

  • TheGenie 2.0

    Well done Patrick, great review.

    Like @Goodyear92:disqus , I was initially disappointed by the reveal. But now I’m glad that it was him. Seeing how everyone reacted to it was wonderful. It was so well done… the music, the directing, the writing (though why kill the poor snail? That really bothered me), and most of all the acting. Olivia Coleman demonstrated what a stellar actress she is hear. You were made to sympathise with every character, even, to some extent, the killer himself. What a splendid final scene, too. That was the second time I ever cried watching a TV show for the first time. Even Exit Wounds didn’t do that the first time.


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