As someone who absolutely loves mysteries, the first season of Broadchurch was satisfying. The characters were intriguing, and the town’s idyllic setting was perfect for a murder mystery. It was riveting television. Sadly, I felt that the second season just didn’t hold up very well. In fact, I didn’t finish watching the show. This was mainly for two big reasons:
This is the biggest reason why the second season failed for me. I’m not unhappy that they decided to make the trial become the main plot, but I am very disappointed with how it was handled. There are a number of specific examples:
- We are told that Jocelyn Knight is an amazing lawyer, even though she hasn’t actually worked on a case in several years. It takes several conversations for her to even agree to take on the case. Unfortunately, she ends up being a disappointment that the show doesn’t even recognize. What I mean by that is that she does a terrible job during the case, but we’re still supposed to think she’s amazing. In one particular exchange, she lets the defense completely walk all over Ellie without even raising a fuss in the slightest.
- The show completely mishandled Joe’s confession. From my understanding, in the real world, a discussion of the confession would have happened between the lawyers and the judge without the jury present. It just makes sense. Why taint your jury pool by admitting that there is a confession, but there are some potential mitigating circumstances around it? It would be very difficult for a jury to ignore the confession’s existence.
- The dismissal of the confession is also sketchy when it was easy to prove that it happened before Ellie showed up. It’s amazing that the prosecutor would let it go without much of a fight. A confession is a pretty big deal; why wouldn’t you fight harder for it?
I don’t deny that perhaps I am being too picky about the technical aspects of the trial. Some liberty is required to make a courtroom drama more exciting, I get that. But I think there were ways to have a good courtroom drama without excessive flaws. I also realize that British courts are different from American courts, but I read posts from people with actual experience and they said that some of the technical aspects of the show were flat-out wrong.
The Sandbrook Case
It was difficult to feel interested in the Sandbrook case. It was obviously a very important case for Hardy, and the plot at least tried to weave it into the town of Broadchurch. But it was difficult to connect with the case at all. Perhaps if we had learned more about the families and the victims I would have felt more invested in the story. Although I didn’t finish watching the episode that fully explained what happen, I did read the summary and felt underwhelmed by its conclusion. It just wasn’t that interesting to me.
Broadchurch does have a third season on the horizon. While I may have been thoroughly disappointed by season two, I still intend to at least check out the third season whenever it arrives.