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It Takes a Village to Raise a Child….And to Kill One?

You know the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child,” but it also takes the village to turn itself inside out and upside down to find a child’s killer in BBC’s Broadchurch. Self-sentenced to do detective work in the English seaside town Broadchurch after his failure to close a big-city murder case, Detective Inspector Alec Hardy (David Tennant) finds that small towns are just as tangled up and shadowy as the alleyways of a metropolis.

When 11 year-old Danny Latimer is found dead in the sand of Broadchurch’s coast after seemingly being swept in with the tide, the town is shocked and grieved. However, many of those same revolted townspeople harbor their own shameful secrets ranging from affairs to alcoholism, and it becomes D.I. Hardy’s job to uncover them as he simultaneously tries to keep his own secrets from leaking out.

With a skeptical but unflinching local Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller as his partner, he has insight to relationships, people, and the flow of the town, who are strangely as suspicious of the outsider detective as they are of themselves. Motives aplenty run deep and far in this windy and cobble-stoned town, which makes this single murder case last as many episodes as it does. No stone is left unturned nor person unsuspected.

Another contributing factor to its strange length as a single-murder crime show, Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall forces viewers to look at the show through a different lens than most modern crime shows. Rather than have an entire show focus on the lives of the crime-fighters and case-solvers, or even their analytic processes, Broadchurch delves into the lives of the victim’s family, and not necessarily because they are suspects.

The grief and recovery of the Latimers take center stage as they try to rebuild from the immeasurable hole left by Danny’s death and other affairs that come to light upon questioning. Danny’s mother, Beth, is heavily focused on, very likely because she is the mother and much of her life keeps collapsing, even after her son’s death. Naturally, D.I. Hardy’s past does surface and interferes with the case and motivates their hesitancy to let him pinpoint their son’s killer.

The aesthetic of Broadchurch, as well of the soundtrack, captures the spinning blur of grief, with themes of gray, blue, and black and an expected amount of flashbacks. Despite the grayness that descends upon the town, there are scenes full of light, which are probably what keep viewers watching and balance out the emotionally draining story.

Available on Netflix

Time Commitment: 2 Seasons

Why It’s Worth The Binge: Perspective of the victim and victim’s family; suspenseful crime and drama themes; a tone of hopefulness among despair; great companionship between Olivia Coleman and David Tennant’s characters

– Kelly Gatewood
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