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.
- Broadchurch: Series 1 Episode 1 Review
- Broadchurch: Series 1 Episode 2 Review
- Broadchurch: Series 1 Episode 3 Review
- Broadchurch: Series 1 Episode 4 Review
- Broadchurch: Series 1 Episodes 5 – 7 Review
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