Fans are going to miss Broadchurch, a masterfully dramatic TV series starring David Tennant, Olivia Colman, and Jodie Whittaker. The series featured stellar performances by some of the best British actors alive, and like any good mystery, it kept viewers guessing all along. Each season has had us on the edge of our seats and hopefully, Tennant's upcoming Deadwater Fell will be equally as compelling.
While we might have caught some of them binging the first round, looking back, there are plenty of clever clues and hidden details for us to spot. Many of these, had we paid attention, would have led us straight to some of the show's secrets long before each season's finale.
10 Joe Miller Was Planned From Day One
Many writers aren't positive about which character is the one "whodunnit" when they write a series, but Broadchurch's writer and creator Chris Chibnall admits that he not only knew that Joe Miller was the killer from day one, but he'd also cast actor Matthew Gravelle as the character carefully with that in mind. He did have to make edits to the first draft once the realization hit him.
From that moment on, there were hidden details planted within the series to serve as clues that many viewers did not put together until the end of the series as we followed Alec Hardy to Miller.
9 The Slug Said It All
Viewers didn't pay much attention when Ellie Miller knelt to examine a slug in the second episode of the first season. It seemed insignificant until she squashed a slug beneath her foot six episodes later. Chibnall says this is symbolism depicting the evil in the Miller house. It's right there beneath Ellie's feet.
The repeated theme of not knowing what's happening in your own house is another big clue as Ellie demands it of multiple people. She judges each neighbor's secrets, lies, and obliviousness, as is her duty as an investigator, while she is completely unaware of what's going on beneath her own roof.
8 Not Her Marriage
A key clue that was fed into the dialogue between Miller and Hardy during the first season was that Miller's marriage was indeed in jeopardy, despite her own claims that it wasn't.
Hardy remarks that the job they have takes a toll on one's marriage, as it obviously did in his own situation. Miller looks so confident when she replies that isn't true for her own union, and many viewers agreed with her since her stay-at-home husband took care of the home and kids while she worked and appeared to be content. Her remark was a red flag, however, indicating that the opposite was true.
7 The Big Reveal Was The Anti-British Whodunnit
Chris Chibnall said he didn't want the big reveal to be the traditional British to-do, where everyone sits in the parlor and gasps as the killer is unmasked and the sleuth just talks everyone to death with the details of how it happened, or it's all told in flashbacks. He wanted much more suspense built into the series.
Alec's tracking of Danny's phone takes nearly four minutes, which had audiences sitting on the edges of their seats as they waited to find out who Danny's murderer was. Most didn't notice how different this was from a typical British mystery.
6 Miller Was More Than Too Close
The continued refrain that Miller was too close to the case was another clue in the series. The obvious takeaway was that she was too close because it concerned her close friends, and there is plenty of support for that in every episode. In a small community, that's bound to happen.
We discover, of course, that she was too close in a much darker fashion, sleeping in the same bed with the enemy without ever even suspecting it. Even though Miller scrutinized everyone in town to the point of severing bonds and burning bridges, she failed to apply that same lens to her own husband.
5 Joe Miller's Skate Park Visits
Joe visits the town skate park not once but twice, and this dramatic irony should have alerted fans to something being amiss in these scenes. Danny's skateboarding was a prominent focus in the series and Joe's fixation with the park was another of his many red flags.
Looking back following the end of the series, we can easily recognize these moments not only as times when Joe obviously wanted to be around other teen boys, giving us the heebie jeebies, but times when he might have even been considering grooming another victim. This makes us cringe thinking of season two, not only because he got away with it but because another child could be in danger from him.
4 Susan Wright's Story Mirrors Miller's
Of all the people Miller incredulously interrogated, one of the worst was Susan Wright, whose husband abused and murdered their daughter. Miller was disgusted upon learning that Wright didn't even notice the behavior under her own house, insisting that if something that terrible were happening, you should definitely know about it just by living in proximity to it.
Wright's story is terrible, but it serves as another point of dramatic irony that mirrors Miller's own situation. Miller has no idea that something quite similar is going on in her own life, with her own husband, and is quick to judge others in the same boat as a result.
3 It's Shot Like A Documentary
While many viewers have praised the cinematography of Broadchurch, they may not have realized that the goal was to shoot it as if it were a documentary in the first place, which is why there were so many shots of the landscape. The tranquility of the land was meant to be the opposite of the chaos inside each home.
Fans might notice the Steadicam filming that occurred throughout the series, particularly during important moments like when we meet all of the suspects as Mark walks through town in the first episode, or when Hardy is following Danny's phone signal when Joe turns it back on. The idea was to carry the audience along for the journey and make it feel more present, as if viewers were alongside the cast.
2 Joe Was A Killer At First Sight
Joe's guilt was foreshadowed from the first moment we laid eyes on him. As Mark makes his way through the cheerful community, when he says hello to the Millers, Joe pretends to strangle his own son, Tom, as a "playful gesture" that is a sinister mockery of what he's already done to Danny.
It was a moment of improvisation courtesy of the director, but given that even the cast had no idea which one of them was the killer, it was a brutal moment of truth, hidden in plain sight. Not only did Joe kill Danny after all, but he destroyed his own family, too.
1 Clues Were In Place On Purpose
While many fans were shocked at the big reveal (Gravelle himself was shocked that his character was the culprit), others were disappointed with it being so obvious once they found the clues. What they didn't realize was that it who wasn't a whodunnit after all. Chibnall said that while he wanted the clues to be subtle, he wanted them to clearly be there for the audience to pick up.
"I think there's enough subtle clues in there that you can pick it up and work it out. I never wanted it to be a cheat. I wanted it to feel like you could piece this together and you could have your suspicions and they could be proved correct," he said. That's because the series is so much more than a traditional whodunnit: it's about how everyone has secrets, how no one really knows anyone and the ripples of effect each person has on their community.