TV Recaps

‘Broadchurch’ Series Premiere Recap: Episode One

Photo Credit: © BBC

The smash British murder mystery Broadchurch has finally arrived in the United States thanks to BBC America.  The 8-episode first season focuses around the murder investigation of eleven year old Danny Latimer and the ramifications that the death has on the various residents of the coastal English town of Dorset.

The episode opens up with a dream sequence. Danny’s mother, Beth Latimer (played by Jodie Whittaker) is watching as her son, late at night, is standing atop of a cliff overlooking the ocean, blood is slowly dripping from the tips of his fingers as it appears Danny is contemplating jumping over the edge, ending his life.

It is then that Beth wakes up, she immediately begins her day and asks her husband Mark (Andrew Duncan) and 15 year old daughter Chloe if they have seen Danny. Both reply that they haven’t, it is then that Beth notices that Danny left his lunch behind, so she grabs it and decides to take it to him.

Meanwhile across town, veteran detective Ellie Miller (Olivia Coleman) is returning to work after the birth of her second child. While initially pleased to be back, when Ellie is pulled aside by her boss Chief Superintendent Elaine Jenkinson (Tracey Childs) she is rather annoyed to find out the promotion that she had assumed she was going to be given has in-fact been given to an outsider, Alec Harding (David Tennant).

We are then introduced to Alec, who is meeting with a farmer about his fuel being siphoned; it is then that he is interrupted by a fellow officer letting him know that he is needed at the beach.

Beth arrives at the school and is quickly greeted by a teacher asking where Danny is. Beth said she assumed that he was here, and begins to make calls around to find out where her son is. When nobody can tell her where her son is, Beth makes her way back home, but is stuck in a horrible traffic jam. She gets out of her car and asks strangers what the holdup is, and is told that there is a police blockade up above on the beach, and that they believe they found a body. Beth ditches her car and makes her way towards the beach, praying for dear life that it isn’t her son.

Alec and Ellie both arrive, hoping that their initial suspicions were wrong, but as they made their way closer to the body, they realized that the child, Danny, was in fact dead. Ellie begins to breakdown as she conveys to Alec that the body is that of her son’s best friend. Alec quickly tells her to turn off the tears, that she is working a case now and needs to act accordingly.

Beth arrives at the scene, frantic, and it is then that she sees the body, covered up, but with Danny’s shoes remaining visible. She breaks down, but Beth tells her she has to leave, that she cannot be there.

A little later, Alec and Ellie make their way atop of the cliff, it is there that they are told by a forensic expert that there is no way that Danny jumped, the trajectory just didn’t add up, but whoever placed Danny’s body at the bottom of the beach wanted it to appear as if he had tried to kill himself. It is then that the two make their way to the Latimer’s house, where they break the news that their son had in fact passed away.

Later on, the local newspaper reporter Olly Stevens (Jonathan Bailey) notices that Chloe is spending time around the crime scene, putting two and two together Olly calls Ellie and catches her off guard, she essentially confirms that Danny was the one who had died. After a few moments of contemplation, Olly breaks the news on Twitter, which causes Alec to become infuriated at such a childish mistake wrecking the family’s peace during this trying time.

Time passes and the CCTV footage of the night arrives. Alec and Ellie spot Danny sneaking out of his house skateboarding down a street. Alec realizes that he didn’t have a cell phone on him when his body was found, something Ellie noted as odd considering she knows he has one as he is always in contact with her son. Alec says it is a priority to find out what happened to Danny’s cell phone and skateboard, as their whereabouts might lead them to solving the case. Back at Ellie’s house, her son has deleted text messages and computer files after finding out that the police will want to speak to him.

Afterwards Alec holds a press conference, where he vows that there is no hiding place for Danny’s killer and that they will catch whoever did this.

Overall this was a brilliant start to what appears to be an epic series. While I don’t necessarily find myself caring about any of the characters thus far, the overall mystery of what happened to Danny. The pilot reminded me in many ways of what AMC’s The Killing was touted to be. I hope as the story progresses I find myself really rooting for Alec to save the day, for Ellie to get a promotion and for justice to be served! But as it stands I am just here for the ride, and if the hype is anything to go by, it’s going to be a fun one.

Sound off in the comments with your thoughts on the premiere as well as any theories you have as to who killed Danny Latimer below.

Johnathon K.
Johnathon K. is a staff writer for TV Source Magazine. With a love of soaps, the Super Sentai Series and gaming, John's passion comes through in his writing and as a featured host of the TV Source Podcast, where he also serves as producer. In 2019, John launched his own podcast series "Our Take Media" which gives his take on various things in TV from soaps to reality television.

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1 Comment

  1. I looked forward eagerly to this show. One, David Tennant always delivers. Two, British crime/mystery shows are always done so well. BBCA has given us a real treat with this one. From the premier, it seems this story will have many layers and be quite interesting. I agree with the comparison to what “The Killing” was billed to be and ultimately failed to be. The pacing of this story thus far seems just right. I’m anxious for the second installment of “Broadchurch”.

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