After my disappointment with the American Broadchurch-pretender series Gracepoint on Fox, it is a distinct pleasure to find the British original Broadchurch back on the air for a second season, and airing on BBC America. Both series star Doctor Who‘s David Tennant, but the first episode Broadchurch’s season two allows us to leave the pale mediocrity behind us for good. (The American series has not been renewed for a second season.)
I had been wondering how the creator Chris Chinball was going to move on to second outing, since the first seemed to have a real (and satisfying) ending: the killer caught, and the police careers both Alec Hardy (Tennant) and his DS Ellie Miller (Olivia Coleman) lying in tatters. Of course, many of us wondered what would become of Ellie, now that her husband had been arrested (and confessed) for the tragic murder of 10-year old boy Danny Latimer.
We begin season two not long after the events of the first season finale. Joe Miller is in prison, and on the eve of his trial. He shall plead guilty to the charge, and the Latimers will be able to get on with their lives. Ellie would be rid of her husband and perhaps one day, her son (Danny’s best friend) would forgive her for arresting his father. It’s quite the tangled web. On the sidelines (but not really) are the editor and reporter for the local rag, who are (of course) only in pursuit of “the truth.” But as it is said during the hour, there is a difference between “truth” and “justice.”
The tables, however, are turned when Joe pleads “not guilty” to the murder, shocking everyone, including the viewers (at least me). Not even his barrister had guessed at the reversal, and now everyone: the Millers, the Latimers–the entire town–will be put through a long trial, that will likely include the unearthing of unwanted truths from everyone. And in episode one, the dead boy is, himself, unearthed, his body exhumed from its resting place in the Broadchurch cemetery. The “A” plot of the season will follow this trial and the abundant secrets of the Broadchurch populace as Joe, whether intentionally vindictive or not, likely puts the town and his family through hell.
If the trial of Joe Miller were the only thread, the series would be interesting, but lack the tension of season one. We know Joe is guilty; we know what happened. The second series could therefore easily descend have descended to soap opera.
However (a very big “however). Enter Claire (Torchwood’s Eve Myles–the “Whoverse” must be going quite mad by now, with Tennant and Myles both in the series, though their characters never crossed paths during Doctor Who).
Claire is a remnant from Alec’s last case, which we learned last season had been both professionally and personally devastating for him. Claire is the wife of the killer–and Alec’s main witness, but after the case had fallen apart and the presumed murderer released, Claire’s life was in terrible danger. Guilt-ridden, and unable to find a way within “the system” to protect her from harm, Alec had taken it upon himself to care for her himself–in complete secrecy. And now, he’s involved Ellie just when, Alec has learned, the murderer has come back into England after a long time away.
To me, this “B” plot will be the more involving. I’ve wanted to learn more about Alec’s old case. We know how the case had fallen apart, but nothing about the case itself. Clever move on Chinball’s part.
There is one more intriguing plot thread to this season of Broadchurch: the confrontation between the two QCs (Queen’s Counsel) barristers, one defending and the other prosecuting. It is clear there is some deep and conflicted history between them, as we learn that the Defense Barrister Sharon Bishop (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) had been junior to the prosecutor. The prosecutor (played by the legendary Charlotte Rampling) has been in retirement for three years, and, so we are told, for good reason. We just don’t yet know that reason. Hmm. Stay tuned.
I’m looking forward to immersing myself once again in the English seaside town of Broadchurch for the next seven weeks to learn the secrets and lies, truths to be revealed, and whether justice, at last, shall be delivered!
If you’ve not yet seen Broadchurch season one, here’s a quick recap, provided by BBC America:
Broadchurch airs Thursday nights on BBC America. You can watch the premiere episode on BBC America’s Broadchurch page.[amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00QU7SQ2G][amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00HGE90Z4][amazon template=iframe image&asin=B003LMRD6S][amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00B5A9FNM]