“Broadchurch” Series 2, Episode 1

The second series of Broadchurch picks up a few months after the end of the first series; the backdrop of the series premiere is Joe Miller’s trial. The Latimers are getting on with their lives as best they can, and the baby’s on the way, but they go to the trial because they want to see Joe plead guilty. So does Ellie; she’s moved to another town in the area and is now a uniformed policewoman giving out traffic tickets, and her son refuses to live with her. Hardy is doing an interview for the local paper, and he keeps getting messages from a woman named Claire (Eve Myles of Torchwood fame), but ignores them.

The sequence where the main characters enter the courtroom is beautifully directed. The Latimer family are harassed by the media outside the courthouse, and when Hardy tells them that they don’t have to be there, Beth says “I want to hear him say it”. Paul has been visiting Joe in jail, providing spiritual guidance, and is there as someone who was affected by the tragedy. Ellie is running late; when she enters the courtroom, Beth remarks that she’s surprised that Ellie has the nerve to show up, but Ellie needs the same thing that Beth does, that all of Broadchurch does. She goes and sits next to Hardy. The public defender meets with Joe and asks if there’s anything she should know about the case, and he says no. He’s going to plead guilty and then he’ll be remanded in custody until sentencing. Joe enters the courtroom and sees all of the people whose lives he’s affected; the Latimers and Hardy are in focus, and Ellie is out of focus in the background. She says “don’t you dare look at me” under her breath, and then to everyone’s surprise and confusion, Joe pleads not guilty.

This is a television show, so I had predicted this, but it’s a good way for the show to move forward. There’s the drama of the courtroom and also the mystery of Claire’s husband. It turns out that the reason Alec moved to Broadchurch was so he could hide Claire, who suspects her husband is guilty of murdering two young girls; she testified against his alibi in court but he still wasn’t convicted. So Alec has her under an unofficial witness protection, he moved to Broadchurch so she wouldn’t be found. But the Danny Latimer case put Alec in the news, so at least Claire’s ex-husband knows where to find him, and if he can find Alec, he can find Claire. So Alec decides that Ellie can stay with Claire for her protection now that the husband is back. But Alec also needs Ellie to drive him everywhere because he’s not allowed to drive based on his medical condition. And that’s how Ellie comes face to face with the Latimers.

Joe’s guilty plea throws the entire court, the prosecution and the defence, into disarray. The Latimers ask for help finding a new QC for the prosecution, and the best person for the job is a woman named Jocelyn who hasn’t taken a case for three years. The public defender shows Joe’s case file to her superior, believing that there are holes in the case. The Latimers plead for Jocelyn to take their case, but it isn’t until she sees her old protege Sharon Bishop that she agrees to do it. Jocelyn goes to visit the Latimers and lets them know that the defence is already playing dirty. We don’t find out why until we see that Danny’s body is being exhumed; Ellie has taken Alec to the graveyard, which is where she sees the Latimers, and Beth is distraught. I have no idea where this is going to go, but it’s really upsetting that Beth doesn’t realise that Ellie wants the exact same thing as her – the only reason we know is because the show portrays both Ellie and Beth’s points of view.

Other thoughts:

  • The scene where Jocelyn walks into the Latimer house is very well done; Jocelyn and the Latimer family (and whoever the man in the tie is with Jocelyn) are all wearing the same colour.
  • I was shocked when Ellie left her child in the car, that’s illegal in Australia so I was worried something was going to happen.
  • There were a number of scenes at the beach where Danny’s body was found, including the scene where Jocelyn meets Sharon, which seems like a bit much.
  • Alec puts a ‘cleaning in progress’ sign in the ladies’ bathroom so he can talk to Ellie. Ellie’s response: “This is the ladies room!”
  • Ellie: “How is this my life now?” Alec: “I’m sorry. Would you like a hug?” Ellie: “What? No! What’s wrong with you?”
  • Mark is sneaking over to Ellie’s old house to play FIFA with Tom, which is sad, but also weird given what happened with Danny and Joe.
  • Fortitude airs after Broadchurch on ABC, and it’s been really hard to figure out what’s going on as I’ve been writing this. But it’s really good, so I’ll keep watching.
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