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TV review: Broadchurch

TV's greatest whodunnit since Who Shot JR? was finally solved last night – and if you've recorded ITV's smash hit Broadchurch and don't want to know the result, look away now.

TV review: Broadchurch

The vexing question of who killed Danny Latimer, which has kept fans busy debating around office watercoolers around the land for the last eight weeks, was answered – and whereas often the denouement of crime thrillers can be a bit of, if you'll excuse the pun, a cop out, viewers here were left with a highly satisfying conclusion to a first-rate mystery.

Featuring a uniformly excellent cast, headed by David Tennant as Alec Hardy, a Detective Inspector trying to recover his reputation after a failed prosecution, Olivia Colman as Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller and Jodie Whittaker and Andrew Buchan as the grieving parents, the impact on a community of the killing of the 11-year-old schoolboy was examined in minute – and gripping – detail.

But who, indeed, had committed said crime?

Was it his father Mark Latimer, who couldn't explain his whereabouts on the night of his son's death – and whose fingerprints were found all over the murder scene?

Was it the Reverend Paul Coates, who was often seen wandering around the parish in the early hours of the morning?

How about psychic Steve Connelly, who claimed to have been in communication with Danny after his death and seemed to know more about his last movements than the police? Or could it have been Susan Wright (played to chilling effect by Birds of a Feather's Pauline Quirke), a loner whose own backstory was clouded in family tragedy?

In the end, the bookmakers called it right, with DS Miller's husband being unmasked as the killer in a memorable scene which saw the tension cranked up to breaking point as DI Hardy tracked down his prey.

And tension was what this series was all about. Unlike many modern cop shows, Broadchurch wasn't awash with blood, with bodies piling up before each ad break – though the one murder which did occur was heartbreaking stuff.

Instead, the writers relied upon suspicion and intrigue to keep viewers glued to the unfolding drama, with everyone who came into contact with Danny seemingly in the spotlight at one time or another.

Now that one mystery has been solved, the next is working out where the show can possibly go from here.

Creator Chris Chibnall had publically said it wasn't developed to be a "returning franchise" but a message at the end of the credits promised that "Broadchurch will return".

However, it's hard to imagine a second series focusing on a single case where practically every member of the community is a potential suspect. And while the characters of DI Hardy and DS Miller surely deserve a platform of their own, turning Broadchurch into a standard police procedural would surely spoil people's memories of this excellent self-contained serial.

Whatever happens, if Broadchurch does return, it will be met with great anticipation and not a little trepidation, because the producers have ensured they have a very tough act to follow.

Helen Brown

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