Written by Amanda Keats and James Thompson
*Warning! While this article does keep the identity of the murderer a secret, it contains a little information on the series finale so if you want to know absolutely nothing about it, please stop reading!*
Last night, millions of viewers tuned in to ITV1 to find out, after a gruelling eight week wait, who killed Danny Latimer as hit crime drama Broadchurch reached its dramatic and emotional conclusion. Many had their suspicions but few saw the ending coming quite how it ultimately panned out. The killer was a well-guarded secret, with the final two episodes not released for reviewers ahead of schedule.
The episode itself marked the end of what has managed to remain a compelling drama that had viewers speculating each week as to who had been responsible for the death of 11-year-old Danny. This close-knit community held numerous secrets of hidden pasts, sordid relationships, corruption and criminal activity and as the weeks went on and the investigating police officers in charge (played flawlessly by David Tennant and Olivia Colman) delved deeper into this outwardly idyllic town, everyone became a suspect.
In a shock to what many may have expected, the reveal of the murderer was actually surprisingly low-key, rooted instead in the emotional fallout for everyone involved. It was heart-breaking to watch as the people of Broadchurch came to terms with the news that not only had someone finally been charged for the murder but it was someone they all knew.
The biggest surprise of the night, though, seemed to be when they announced that ‘Broadchurch will return’. Having been advertised primarily as a one-off, viewers were surprised to see that the show has been commissioned for further episodes. But where could the show go? A Christmas special? Another murder?
The possibilities may initially appear limited but when you open your mind there may be some different directions in which the ITV show could head in. For example, David Tennant’s Alec Hardy is a character who has a rich depth and one whose past, and possibly future, could be investigated in a new series. After all, Hardy referred to a past visit to Broadchurch with his bickering parents so could we be heading into prequel territory? Could we see the majority of characters returning or will we be accustomed with a whole new batch of individuals in the seaside town?
Whatever happens, it seems that the series creator Chris Chibnall always had an idea for a second series had the programme become the success it has, saying,
“The whole Broadchurch team has been delighted and properly gobsmacked by the response from ITV viewers. When I first talked to Peter Fincham and Laura Mackie, ITV’s Director of Drama about Broadchurch, I mentioned that if people liked it, there was another very different story we could tell afterwards. I’m really thrilled we’re going to tell that story too.” – ITV
Whether or not a second series is required, or even if it can remain within the same high standards that the show has clearly set certainly pose question marks, but it does offer some solace in that Chibnall has already considered the future for Broadchurch. The surprise comes in that it appeared as a one-off show, but one that has clearly captivated millions week-in, week-out, so ITV’s decision to further its reach is undoubtedly a swift and profitable move for the company.