23/04/2013 01:13 | By Dan Owen, contributor, MSN TV

Broadchurch finale: episode 8 reveals Danny Latimer's killer

TV review: Broadchurch, starring David Tennant and Olivia Colman, finally revealed Danny Latimer's killer.


Broadchurch's David Tennant and Olivia Colman (© Broadchurch's David Tennant and Olivia Colman. Image. ITV)


Summary

Broadchurch, the hit crime drama which has sensationally been given a second series by ITV, reached its conclusion with - seemingly - the entire nation watching.

The killer of Danny Latimer was finally revealed to DI Hardy (David Tennant) and DS Miller (Olivia Colman). But not, perhaps, in the way many expected...

Highlight

The best moment was Hardy breaking the news to Ellie that her own husband was the killer she's been helping catch all along. Olivia Colman's raw, pained reaction was magnificent.

Lowlight

The flashback to Danny's murder was perhaps slightly underwhelming, in terms of exactly how and why it happened, but that's down to personal taste.

Full review

It could have been a diluted version of The Killing, but Broadchurch crafted its own identity to charm nine million loyal viewers.

Much of that is down to the difference in approach, as this was a less depressing affair, despite the child-killing subject matter.

"Broadchurch crafted its own identity to charm nine million loyal viewers."

Maybe that's partly down to its idyllic seaside locale, but Broadchurch also embraced the British tradition of a good murder-mystery.

It also didn't outstay its welcome over a lean eight weeks. A good murder-mystery's only as good as its final chapter.

Easter's Jonathan Creek provoked consternation thanks to a ludicrous explanation, after viewers invested just 90-minutes of their time. Broadchurch kept its audiences on the hook for two months so its own reveal simply had to be worth the wait... or else its legacy would be the mass outcry of unsatisfied armchair sleuths.

Thankfully, Broadchurch delivered a conclusion that felt worthwhile and emotionally realistic. But if you were expecting Hardy and Miller to crack the case themselves, you may have been frustrated because the culprit gave himself up and then confessed.

But did you guess the killer? Writer Chris Chibnall perhaps showed his hand too early last week, because most people I know correctly fingered the right man... if not for the right reason.

Broadchurch's wonderful cast

So Joe Miller (Matthew Gravelle) was revealed to have killed Danny - the husband of Hardy's local partner Ellie Miller, and father to their son Tom (Adam Wilson).

Joe claimed to have "fallen in love" with Danny, becoming his fatherly confidant, leading to them having secret rendezvous to "cuddle" in a beach hut.

Danny was strangled to death after trying to end this odd arrangement, which caused Joe to overreact out of fear their meetings would be misinterpreted by others.

The ending wasn't astonishing, but felt justified. In retrospect it feels obvious the killer would have to impact one of the two lead actors, and Miller was the only one with connections to the community... Then again, everything looks obvious with hindsight.

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What I loved about Broadchurch's finale were the many human touches. Joe confessed early, so most of the hour concerned repercussions: Olivia Colman was marvellous as she portrayed Ellie's world collapsing around her.

David Tennant maintained a beautiful sense of dignity and determination and Matthew Gravelle was great as a father who did something horrific, yet wasn't a complete monster. Interestingly, the paedophilia angle was played down - too upsetting for an ITV audience? Maybe.

The scene where Danny's father Mark (Andrew Buchan) confronted his son's killer through the hatch of a prison cell fizzed with emotion, and the sequence with the townsfolk came together to light coastal bonfires in a show of unity was a lovely way to end the series.

All in all, a fitting denouement to a very good series about a close-knit community dealing with a harrowing event. Broadchurch wasn't revolutionary, but it was a great example of a genre that retains the power to beguile mass audiences.

  • Verdict: Broadchurch deserves all the acclaim it has received; a superb drama.

    Star grade


What other reviewers said

The Independent - "A compelling and occasionally brilliant crime thriller that has been widely-touted as Britain's answer to The Killing."

The Mirror - "This was not by any means a flawless piece of television."

What people on Twitter said

@SarahMillican75 (Sarah Millican‏) - "Bloody loved Broadchurch. Kudos to @ChrisChibnall and the whole cast especially Tennant and Colman. All socks acted off."

‏@AlanCarr (Alan Carr) - "Just finished watching #broadchurch -was out doing stand-up so kept off twitter - didn't want any spoilers!"

‏@realaled (Aled Jones) - "Have loved every second of #broadchurch - everything about it - acting, music and the writing. The man responsible on @Daybreak tomorrow x"

The views in this article are those of the author alone and not of MSN or Microsoft

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