The final reveal is a surprise that rocks Ellie’s world. For a character so seemingly devoid of compassion, DI Hardy shows an ample bit as he follows the breadcrumbs to their end, keeping Ellie in the dark until his suspicions are confirmed. There is no satisfaction at the end of the case, just a human moment between Alec and Ellie as he clues her in.

“How could you not know?” is a phrase that will surely figure into season 2, whenever and however it occurs. It’s what Beth asks Ellie after the killer’s identity is revealed, and it’s what Ellie asked Susan Wright (a one-time suspect and star of her own sub-plot with Nigel) the day prior.

If Ellie is the focus, then it will be very interesting to see her evolution. How can she possibly police a city that knows that she slept with a murderer under her roof? David Tennant’s involvement in the next series is not yet confirmed, but if he does return, one imagines that he’ll re-train his focus on the Sandbrook case now that local reporters Oliver and Maggie have broken the story about what really happened there.

Regardless of who returns and who doesn’t, the challenge will be to find a way to continue this story while most likely staying away from the “murder in a small town” trope. There is plenty of ugliness left to uncover in this pretty town, but for a second series to succeed, Chris Chibnall can’t try to recreate or top a brilliant first season that may be un-toppable.

Broadchurch season 1 is currently available on VOD.


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