Broadchurch: Entertaining fans, educating crime writers
I'm a big fan of British mysteries from M. C. Beaton’s Hamish Macbeth to Elizabeth George’s Inspector Lynley Mysteries, so when I discovered Chris Chibnall’s Broadchurch television series a couple of years ago, I was super-excited.
Broadchurch is a crime drama done the British way – with plenty of intrigue, snappy dialogue, and a clever plot with several “did-not-see-that-coming” twists. It’s the kind of program that satisfies fans while also giving crime writers a look at how a high-quality mystery – one worth an audience’s time – is delivered.
The first Broadchurch series focuses on a complex murder investigation in which a local police officer, passed over for promotion, has to work with the outsider who not only took her job, but who also comes to the case with a reputation for failure. As the two pursue the murderer, we discover that everyone in the small English seaside town has a secret – even the two detectives investigating the case.
As the Brits like to say – it is a “cracking” good mystery – all because the writer made sure tension was high from the very beginning and he maintained that level of stress throughout each episode by peppering the plot with suspects, clues, and red herrings. Along the way, the audience is drawn into the emotional aspect of the case and the toll it takes on everyone, from the victim’s family and friends to the town folk and the two investigating officers. The solution to the crime is a total shock but entirely believable. The second series follows the trial of the accused murderer and delves into a case haunting one of the detectives. The third series is a completely different mystery and equally intriguing. All well worth your time.
You can find all three series on Amazon, Netflix, and maybe even in your local library or through interlibrary loan. Whether you’re a mystery fan or a mystery writer, you’ll enjoy the Broadchurch series.