Ever wonder where your favourite actor or actress came from? What they did before you “discovered” them? They certainly did not just drop out of the ceiling fully formed, right? Well, I am sure that was the case for plenty out there when it came to Olivia Colman. Over the past few years she has had a career many would envy with her turns in Netflix’s acclaimed The Crown in the lead role as Queen Elizabeth II, a supporting role in Phoebe Waller-Bridges’ excellent series Fleabag and winning an Oscar for Best Actress two years ago for playing another British queen, this time Queen Anne in The Favourite. Before this recognition here in North America she had made quite a career for herself in the UK. Besides being a celebrated stage actress she had also starred in films like The Lobster, Hyde Park on Hudson and The Iron Lady as well as series like The Night Manager, Rev. and Broadchurch.
Alongside the always excellent Colman is the very steady David Tennant. His character is the darkness to Colman’s light. A dour, strange man who obviously comes with a ton of baggage. What is great about the series is that it keeps you guessing at all times. Whether it comes to storyline or characters, you never really have a firm grip on things.
The story here is similar to that of the Danish then American television series, The Killing. The death of a child brings about crushing grief and then a murder mystery. A peaceful seaside town is the setting of a horrible tragedy. What is first believed to be a suicide by young Broadside resident Danny Lattimer (Oskar McNamara – Anna Karenina – 2012). Then it becomes apparent that he was the victim of foul play.
DI Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman), a long time resident of Broadchurch, is assigned to the case along with newcomer DI Alec Hardy (David Tennant – from television’s Jessica Jones). Some conflict between the two crops up as they have very different working styles. Plus Miller, who is returning from maternity leave, is expecting to be given the lead inspector position only to find it has gone to the male outsider, who has a rather dubious reputation.
This is not going to be a simple case. There are many secrets being kept in this small town. Miller and Hardy move from suspecting one person to the next with plenty of pressure coming down on them to solve the high profile case.
Though the backbone of the story is rather disturbing you still are gripped by the show. Wanting to know the truth. Because of the high quality of the story and acting you hang on to every scene and word. This is television at its best.
N.B. There is a serious Doctor Who thing going on here. Tennant has played the title role previously and Jodie Whittaker being the present time traveler. Colman, Susan Brown and also appeared in an episode of the iconic series.
Broadchurch: Season One is available on Netflix.