Broadchurch Series 1 Episode 4 (ITV) Review

Last week’s Broadchurch pointed the finger firmly at adulterous father Mark Latimer, only to be proved (probably) wrong, so now blame is being passed around like a hot potato, with the audience, along with Hardy and Miller, tasked with working out who would have killed little Danny and why.

In a series like this, as soon as someone looks obvious, you can cross them straight off your suspects list. That means that Mark, and almost certainly Pauline’s Quirk’s Susan/Elaine have already been proven innocent, and we can probably exonerate newsagent Jack Marshall, too. He has a record with underage sex, he runs a youth club, he’s unmarried, and there are some dodgy-looking photos of young boys in his possession, but that actually makes him less likely to have killed Danny, in terms of TV rules.

Nevertheless, the tightly woven tapestry of small town life that Broadchurch have created thus far means that this is one of the more satisfying whodunits to appear on screen for quite some time. By satisfying I mean that there’s almost half a dozen suspects just waiting to be studied, and the likelihood of each of them actually being the culprit fluctuates with each passing scene. It really is fabulously entertaining, the more so with Tennant and Colman at the helm, holding everything together with their awkward chemistry. A highlight of the week, contrasted to all of the detective work, was their mini dinner party.

But who killed Danny? Hardy seems convinced that it was a novice on account of the panicked burning of the boat we saw at the end of last week, and we’re inclined to believe him. None of the current suspects look like seasoned serial killers to me, even if Pauline Quirke appears to have come from a different show entirely. Disregarding her horrific threat to Carolyn, her knack for lurking in doorways and bringing on one of Hardy’s mysterious attacks surely means that she’s holding back some form of psychic power similar to Steve. I’m not being entirely serious of course, but it’s worth bearing in mind.

And Steve has now become a suspect after his extreme reaction to being removed from the Latimer household. He has a criminal record, but could he be telling the truth regardless of how it looks? Then there’s Paul, who reveals to Hardy and Miller that he suffers from a form of insomnia that causes him to ‘wander’ in the night. If that doesn’t sound like a clue, then I don’t know what is. The trouble is, Broadchurch has so far shown more faith in its audience than most series, and we can probably strike him off the list, too.

That leaves Miller’s own family, unfortunately, as we already know Tom is keeping some secrets of his own. Danny’s best friend clearly knew something about what led to his murder, since he deleted those texts in the first episode, and this is evidence that points to Paul the IT club teacher. Could the three of them have been mixed up in something? But then, looking into the background for some clues, you can’t help but stop on Ellie’s husband, Joe, who is a potential murderer hiding in plain sight. Maybe watching too many crime shows has hardened my heart, but characters are rarely present for no reason.

But Broadchurch has made a stink about the press and its tendency to pick over the grieving and the dead, and it’s hear that we’ll probably find most of our answers. They stepped it up a gear this week, as Beth was coaxed by Karen into giving a personal account of Danny’s life and death – given that she’s so photogenic – and the paparazzi are drawn the Latimer’s like a moth to a flame. Could Karen and Olly be involved somehow? Maybe Olly was so desperate for a scoop that he created one for himself? It’s an outside chance, but the series’ focus on how the press deals with child murder cases is interesting all the same.

What did you think of the episode? Who’s at the top of your suspect list now? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.