Mysteries on the Small Screen: Broadchurch

Title: Broadchurch

Starring: David Tennant, Olivia Colman, Arthur Darville, Matthew Gravelle, David Bradley.

First Aired: ITV, March 2013 – present

Where you can watch it: Amazon Prime, Google Play, iTunes, Netflix, YouTube (dependent on region)

Small town, big crimes. That’s the premise of Broadchurch, a mystery set in small-town England where the young Danny Latimer is found murdered on Harbor Cliff beach. But whodunit? And more importantly, why? Detective Ellie Miller (played by Colman) is a local whose son is Danny’s best friend, so she finds the scene hard to work—which of her neighbors might have committed such an unspeakable crime? She is so closely intertwined with the crime, how could she possibly see the case through? Outsider detective Alec Hardy (Tennant) of the famed Sandbrook murder case has been hired as Ellie’s superior, in the job she so desperately wanted. She feels insult on top of injury, but his perspective helps Ellie see the small town in a different light. The newspaper agent and loner, Jack Marshall (Bradley), is suspect from the start but viewers must decide whether or not he’s guilty, or simply a victim of the media frenzy surrounding the murder. The atmospheric setting, soundtrack, and storyline have reminded people of other small screen classic murder mysteries like Twin Peaks, but its reception has put Broadchurch in a category all its own.


In 2014, David Tennant inked a deal with American broadcaster Fox to remake the series for American audiences. The new series, Gracepoint, flopped and wasn’t picked up for a second season. Perhaps the original just can’t be improved on.

More mysteries that are a little too close to home:

Arctic Chill, by Arnaldur Indridason

The Chessmen, by Peter May

Hell’s Gate, by Richard Crompton

The Killing, by David Hewson

Wrecked, by Tricia Fields




About the Author:

Erin Downey Howerton is a public librarian in Kansas. Follow her on Twitter at @hybridlib.

1 Comment on "Mysteries on the Small Screen: Broadchurch"

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  1. Shetland, based on the books by Ann Cleaves, is another TV series that is well worth the time to watch. It’s beautifully filmed, is highly atmospheric, and has some great plot lines.

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