Email Roundtable #32 – Broadchurch

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This week on the roundtable we continue with our Fall Television Secret Santa. Kerri gifted Jane  the British mystery/procedural drama Broadchurch. Below is their conversation about the show.

(If you haven’t seen Broadchurch and are worried about spoilers you need not fear. Somehow Jane and Kerri managed to keep this a spoiler free zone). 

Kerri: Would you like to start us off with a short description of Broadchurch for our readers that might not be familiar with it?

Jane: Sure, although I’m horrible at summarizing. Broadchurch is the mystery of the murder of Danny Latimer and its effects on his family, the detectives on the case, and the small town where the murder takes place.  

Kerri: Any initial thoughts before we get into it?

Jane: I will say that I absolutely loved the show! As you pointed out last week; it has most everything I love in a TV show: mystery, heart, a fantastic cast and an amazing pairing! If I could add anything at all it would be more humor. There were a few jokes sprinkled throughout the show but I found them pretty lame.

Kerri: I will agree with you there. The show is pretty dark and dour, though I enjoyed some of the banter between the two detectives, Hardy and Miller. Did their relationship work as well for you as it did for me?

Jane: It worked exceptionally well. I was slow to warm to Hardy but what really kept me interested was his relationship with Miller. It seemed like such a generic setup at first. He gets a promotion meant for her and she has to prove herself in a mans world. This pairing was anything but generic. The only way I can think of describing their interactions with each other is like a complicated dance or sport. They are constantly adjusting their behaviors to deke around each others expectations how they should be behaving. They are amazing to together. I also have to say that Olivia Coleman as Miller immediately captivated me. She is unlike any other female protagonist I’ve seen on television.

Kerri: That is a fantastic assessment, Jane. I love your notion that Miller and Hardy are in this constant dance with each other, feeling out where they need to stand.

One thing that also worked exceptionally well for me was the way the show developed other characters and the world of Broadchurch. Everything felt incredibly organic, for lack of a better word. I always knew where I was at any given point. I also loved the smaller mysteries that the show threw at us.

Jane: I completely agree! The town was like a living thing, everything is connected.This may sound hokey but it was almost like the blood that dripped into the water from Danny Latimer’s hand effected the town in ripples with more and more secrets bubbling to the surface as more people were touched by his murder.

There were some incredible stories. I loved what you said last week about there being no real red herrings. Every development was crucial to the characters that populate the town. The story wasn’t just Danny’s but everyone who lives in Broadchurch.

Kerri: You are so right. It’s like NONE of the secrets could be revealed without Danny’s death.

What did you think about the ending of the show? What did you think of the way the show solved the mystery of who killed Danny Latimer?

Jane: I will say that I figured out who the murder was two episodes from the end. Without giving too much away, I found that the writers were giving us a few too many hints. It was still gripping and addicting to watch. Jodi Whittaker as Beth Latimer portrayed grief more effectively than anything else I think I’ve ever seen. For me what became fascinating was realizing how the revelation of the murder would affect her and the rest of the people in the town.

Kerri: Jodi Whittaker is shockingly good in this show. One thing that I thought I’d be more troubled by but wasn’t was this portrayal of grief. It never became boring or tiresome. Something very real was going on there and it made it very watchable without being very easy to watch.

Jane: The story that most effected me was Jack’s. It was a gut wrenching detail that he had to read all the horrible rumors and secrets from his past before anyone else in the paper (as the owner of the newspaper store). His story still makes me sad.

Kerri: I tend to agree with you about Jack, it is a place where I didn’t think the show would go. One horrible event would have been enough for me but then they throw Jack at us.

I’ll say that I had a very good idea about who the murderer might be after Miller’s interrogation of Susan. I found the Susan storyline incredibly creepy and also quite moving.

It’s funny how many living in Broadchurch have these horrible secrets but I guess it is a place you go to escape. It never bothered me at all while watching.

Jane: No, me neither. It’s strange, you’d think that all the grief and suffering would be too much but somehow the show never seems overly heavy or draining.

Although, I do remember thinking that if that dog dies I’m throwing up my hands and turning off my TV.

Kerri: Me too. Thank goodness that dog survived. It was adorable.

Broadchurch is coming back for a second season. Are you as shocked about this as I am?

Jane: WHAT? I am. I’m not sure how I feel about that. How many more horrible secrets do these poor people have left to relive? What are your thoughts?

Kerri: I’m kind of dismayed. Unless they completely change the show I’m not sure how this will work. I loved the final scene with Hardy and Miller sitting on the bench contemplating where they go from here. I wish the show had ended right there. They didn’t become friends, exactly, but they went through so much together. It was perfect.

Maybe the second season won’t take place in Broadchurch. That I might accept.

Jane: Yes, I almost forgot about that scene! It was beautiful! So much more effecting than that weird recreation of Danny’s last skateboard ride. That was so bizarre and dramatic.

Kerri: And the simultaneous fires across the landscape. It was all a bit much for me. That strange ghostly shot of Danny didn’t quite work as intended.

Any final thoughts before we sign off?

Jane: I feel like all my final thoughts would give away the mystery!

I really loved the confrontation in the bar. That was quite intense. Again, Whittaker’s performance was outstanding, here.

Also, the motive behind the murder felt a bit contrived to me. I almost wish it wasn’t explained.How bout you?

Kerri: Broadchurch is certainly one of my favorite shows of the year. I don’t think the reveal of the murderer will work for everyone but by that point, finding out who did it was sort of an after thought for me.

Jane: Agreed! Great pick, Kerri! Thank you for making me watch it!

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