Broadchurch – A Look at the Second Season

After a day and a half of deliberations, the Jury told Judge Sonia Sharma that they had not reached verdict. The Judge sent them back with the provision that if they could not reach a unanimous verdict, that she would accept a majority verdict.

On the next day, a verdict was reached and read out in court. Later in the attorney’s changing room (all Queen’s Counsels must wear gowns of a prescribed design, white dickeys, as well as wigs), we got this exchange –

How’s the family taking it?

Maybe you should have asked that question before you took on the case.

Oh please don’t be a sore loser.

And don’t be a shitty winner. I trained you to be so much better than this. Of all the people you could have helped, you took on a tawdry child killer. All you ever wanted was to prove me wrong so you could show the world how brilliant..

No, no. All you wanted was for me to be a mini you. You know the difference between us? I don’t see the nobility in this job. I see a loaded, lopsided game, full of people justifying their cynicism as a higher calling. It’s just street fighting in wigs…

Just street fighting in wigs… and these are the only the involved lawyers in the Joe Miller murder trial. This is Episode 8 of Season 2 of the BBC drama Broadchurch (now available on Netflix).

If you like characters that are strong and intense – Broadchurch is an ideal series for you.

For the defense

For the defense

One of those lawyers, Sharon Bishop, the defense attorney is played by Marianne Jean Baptiste, you probably know her as Bethany Mayfair, an FBI boss in the NBC hit series, Blindspot. The other attorney, Jocelyn Knight, represents the Crown and is prosecuting the case. She’s played by Charlotte Rampling.

Back in August and September of 2013, I wrote 8 separate posts as Broadchurch’s Season One progressed, and when it ended, Joe Miller, the husband of Detective Ellie Miller, has been brought in and has confessed to killing Danny Latimer.

Season Two brings us the Joe Miller trial, as well as a close look at some of the characters from Inspector Hardy’s previous case, which still troubles him.

Given the success of Broadchurch’s first season – many had high hopes for a second season which would give us a look not only at the trial of Miller, but would also bring into focus the aftermath. As we have seen from an untold number of mysteries, particularly murder mysteries – it is not often that we get a look at the toll that a trial brings to the family of the victim. And in Broadchurch – the whole town.

But this is not always a successful tactic for a television producer. There’s the falling off of interest by viewers, as well as the possible burn out factor which could impact the actors, and finally there’s the law of diminishing returns.

Now I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed the second season. I can also say with certainty that upon even what I might call a slight bit of reflection, the second season had some glaring errors. most of which stem from the trial itself.

While Joe Miller never took the stand, it seemed that he must do exactly that. But his lawyer, Sharon Bishop had a better read on the proceedings than I did. And Bishop’s opposing counsel Jocelyn Knight for the Crown, seemed an all together imposing presence in court, yet at times she gave away far too much.  Even Tom Cruise‘s navy attorney, specifically chosen in the hopes he would spare the Navy a trial and accept a plea-bargain, Lt. Daniel Kaffee, didn’t make some of the mistakes that Knight did.

Jodie Whittaker as Beth Latimore

Jodie Whittaker as Beth Latimer

What they did right, make that extremely right was the effect and toll on Ellie Miller, Beth Latimer, and Mark Latimer. The people in these roles: Olivia Colman, Jodie Whittaker, and Andrew Buchan 

Andrew Buchan as Mark Latimer

Andrew Buchan as Mark Latimer

were just superb. And the new characters, from the Sandbrooke case, Lee and Claire Ashworth, played by

Broadchurch-2-James-DArcy

James D’Arcy and Eve Myles, will captivate and demand your attention as well.

Tennant was great to watch, and unfortunately, it was, at times, more watching than watching and listening, as Tennant’s heavy Scottish accent was often impenetrable.

But that said, the show, meaning both of the seasons, was just a joy to watch. In my one trip to England – I never got out of London, which I now think was a regrettable decision. Had I explored the coastal areas – London’s Waterloo Station to Bournemouth is less than a two-hour train ride. I now regret that decision.

Because, if we give top ratings for the cinematography, and the accompanying music to set the mood, and to pull us into both the story and the environment, then we must, with no uncertainty, call the place’s geography both an integral part of Broadchurch’s appeal, but also we can call this area almost a ‘key character’. But the characters themselves are but a part of the show’s appeal. Think about this – behind every motivation there’s a truth. And yet, the line between perception and truth is easily blurred. This is Broadchurch.

Think of Season Two’s tagline: Same town, new secrets.

In summary, I’ll call this second series of Broadchurch a must see. Two cases are resolved, and a score of people or should I say characters, now have a better chance of either recovery or redemption.

There’s news too. There will be a third season. Principal shooting will begin next summer. As a special bonus, please check out this video about the making of the second season. You’ll be glad you did.

 

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