After a triumphant return last week, where a brutal case of sexual assault was presented with both sensitivity and honesty, Broadchurch started its investigation of the crime in earnest this week. The list of suspects grew, the awfulness of Trish’s ordeal intensified and Miller and Hardy (especially Miller) were pure gold.
Now Trish Winterman’s ordeal had been reported and processed, it was now down to Hardy and Miller to get going. And get going they did – in bouts of pure procedural, they started their rounds. They interviewed those who were at the party, and the suspects began to stack up. In fact, by the end of the episode there were more suspects than you could shake a stick at: there was Trish’s ex-husband, Ian Winterman (Charlie Higson), who refused to submit a DNA sample because he didn’t like the idea of the police holding such data; there was shifty-looking mechanic Jim Atwood, who was found with some fishing paraphernalia in his workshop and who the camera was keen to linger on for that extra half second; cocky young fishing tackle factory lad, Leo, who just had something about him that smelled, well, fishy; and taxi driver Clive Lucas, who was at the party pretty much all night and whose radio was suspiciously on the blink all night.
It was all skillfully done, but what sets Broadchurch apart is the repartee between Miller and Hardy. Miller, especially, had some terrific lines in this episode (“I am not in the mood for swaggering young shits,” she harrumphed terrifically after her encounter with Leo.) Her conversation with Beth – she was trying to speed the investigation up and ask for Beth’s help to bring Trish in for her video interview – was pure gold: like two old friends, they chatted about sex, Jilly Cooper novels and dildos. It was natural, funny and beautifully acted.
But aside from flashes of humour, there was some serious business at hand – that of Trish and her statement. Throughout the episode there were hints of what rape survivors have to go through during this whole horrid process. There were suspicious and withering comments from rookie cop DC Harford (“was she drunk?”) and Trish’s ex-husband Ian, who told Miller and Hardy that Trish had slept with at least half a dozen men since their break-up and that she had been cavorting around at the party. All assertions sexual assault survivors have to contend with during criminal proceedings. Trish’s version of events was brought further into question by Trish’s inability to answer the crucial question of who she had had (consensual) sex with on the morning of her attack in her interview. What, or who, was she hiding? (My guess is that it was Mark Lattimer, only because Beth was with her in the interview.)
These things shouldn’t matter in a sexual assault case – it shouldn’t matter how drunk a survivor was, how much she was ‘cavorting’, and who she had slept with on the day of her attack. The fact is that a woman had been assaulted and no blame should be ascribed to her whatsoever. But these suspicions and questions linger. They always do.
Aside from the interview, Trish also had to open up to her daughter and tell her what happened to her. It was touching and emotional. She apologised to her daughter.
The cliffhanger moment at the episode saw Trish receive a text message from her assailant telling her to shut up. He was still out there; he was still watching.
Another strong episode, then, heavy on procedural detail once again, but beautifully paced and balanced. We even got some laments on the slow death of print journalism (don’t I know it), the erosion of community and how it needs a common purpose to exist and flourish, and the encroaching world of cost-cutting and social fragmentation. Not bad for episode two.
For our episode one review go here