{Previously Published in The Hindu Metroplus}

The British crime mystery show, Broadchurch, asks the questions many of us have asked ourselves at some point of time – How long does it take to confidently say that you really know someone? and, do you ever really know someone?

Broadchurch is a small fictional town in Britain, where everything goes around like clockwork and where everyone lives a still life, until a young boy is found murdered, with his body dumped on the beach. Detectives Alec Hardy (David Tennant), and Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) must do all they can to catch the murderer, but when a sleepy town’s dark secrets begin to wake, the obstacles in their path are many.

At a time when almost every police themed television show out there takes on a fresh murder each episode, Broadchurch takes on a single killing, a deceptively simple premise (a boy was killed, who did it?), and amplifies it to an eight episode long cat and mouse chase. If, at any moment, you think you’ll be bored by the idea, let me tell you – you will be proven wrong. The show doesn’t drop pace even for a second, and the writers have packed in twists and turns so tightly, that if you miss an episode, you’ll miss crucial parts of the investigation, and trust me, you don’t want to miss out on the investigation. Broadchurch is renowned in the UK for reducing even the most exceptionally critical audiences into a bunch of nervous detectives.

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David Tennant, famed for his role as Dr.Who, is a pleasure to watch as Detective Alec Hardy, the sullen outsider with a torrid past who suspects everyone. Olivia Colman as Detective Ellie Miller, the woman who has been in Broadchurch all her life, who thinks she knows her town like the back of her hand only to be shattered by the revelations that rise during the investigation is a class apart. Colman won a BAFTA for her role as Ellie Miller, so there’s no denying her splendid acting performance. The entire casting is actually spot on, with some familiar faces from the Harry Potter movies, and even Game of Thrones. The collective experience of the actors on screen makes you invest in the show and its characters, as if they’re people you know already.

Broadchurch explores not just murder, but also the effect of catastrophe on a small knit community, the mutual suspicions that arise, the combined nervousness which emanates while talking to anyone new, but most importantly, it explores the effects of media attention on criminal cases and the way it is capable of shifting perceptions. The British media are portrayed in the show to be cruel gossipmongers who would slime their way around for even the slightest sniff of gossip. People’s pasts, mistakes they’ve made, mistakes which they have admitted and have corrected themselves for and mistakes which they don’t want to revisit are all brought to light, just to feed the papers.

Broadchurch’s excellence as a show, and the reason it is capable of chilling you to the bone doesn’t lie in its ability to showcase drama, rather it is because of its ability to showcase reality.

{Broadchurch is on Netflix & is presently telecast on Colors Infinity}

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