After suspecting every single cast member in turn during the course of a compelling and occasionally brilliant crime thriller that has been widely-touted as Britain's answer to The Killing, viewers of ITV's Broadchurch had been steered rather sharply towards the chief suspect last week. Not least when he muttered the immortal words to his wife “you don't think it was me ?!”
It was Joe! Of course it was. The stay-at-home, too-good-to-be-true home-husband of Olivia Colman's supremely affable Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller.
Alas, there he was clasping dead schoolboy Danny Larimer's mobile phone in the garden shed as Detective Inspector Alec Hardy, played by a wild-eyed David Tennant, followed the GPS tracker of Danny's mobile phone which had been suddenly switched back on again because, as Joe helpfully explained, “I was sick of hiding”.
There had been rumours of a last-minute twist in the final minutes of the last episode.
Sadly not for Ellie Miller, for whom it wasn't looking good from the start of the episode, when she pays a visit to her toe-rag sister (also mother to journalist Olly Stevens) and gives her £1,000 to finally confess what she saw the night Danny was killed – which was, she helpfully reveals, a man in the distance wearing dark clothes and a hat, and shoving a bag into a bin.
Then there was Ellie's own son, Tom, who was being questioned by police over emails between himself and Danny, which he'd deleted (before attempting to destroy the hard-drive, being nothing if not thorough) - one of which told his now-murdered best friend, “I wish you were dead”.
But why, Joe? It was the question on everyone's lips. “I need the facts, Joe, I need to understand,” Detective Hardy reasoned. “If I can't understand it why should you?” was the man's reply, preceding a somewhat dubious rationalisation for the relationship that had grown between him and the boy: “I wanted something that was mine.”
In other loose ends, we saw DI Alec Hardy admit he'd been to Broadchurch as a child, where his mother had told him “God will put you in the right place even if you don't know it at the time”.
Once the Latimer family have been told that their friend was the killer, Ellie turns up outside their house where Danny's mum Beth asks her “How could you not know?” echoing the same words she'd used to Susan Wright last week about her husband's abuse towards their daughters.
Ellie then takes her own kids to a hotel room where she suggests they “eat chips out the packet” before telling them “We found out who killed Danny, sweetheart it was your Dad.”
The series ends with Danny's funeral, led by the priest who is reunited with his fellow prime suspects (all bar Wright who has long-disappeared with her beloved dog) to burn a flame in memory of the boy.
Ellie, we are told, intends to move away to start afresh with the kids while Alec Hardy's time as a detective is “all over”.
Several questions remain unanswered, like what was that whole boat plotline about, and does any man in Broadchurch not take a size 10 shoe? With the programme set to return to our screens, time perhaps will tell. But, patience till then. The last words are best left to Detective Inspector Hardy: “Now is the time for Broadchurch to be left to heal away from the spotlight, thank you.”
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