Broadchurch hooked me right from the early minutes of episode one, and as I've been away for a few days, I've only just caught up with the finale, which aired on Monday evening. Luckily, I've managed to avoid reviews of the final episode, so my enjoyment wasn't in any way spoiled. And I did enjoy the final episode, just as much as I've enjoyed all the others.
It's interesting to reflect on why this series has been such a huge success - and it has been so successful that it's scarcely an exaggeration to say that Broadchurch gripped the nation. The acting of David Tennant, Olivia Colman and the other key members of the cast was excellent, and Colman in particular was superb in the final episode. A hugely talented performer. The setting, on Dorset's Jurassic coast, was beautiful and atmospheric, and that certainly helped. But the greatest credit must go to Chris Chibnall, who devised and wrote the series. I would agree with those who have pointed out that there were some aspects of the story which tested one's suspension of disbelief. For me, the lack of forewarning about the culprit's fatal personality flaw was the most questionable part of the story. But never mind the quibbles. This was a superbly entertaining piece of television drama.
Some critics have felt that the marriage of a portrait of a community torn apart by grief and suspicion with a classic whodunit boasting a wide range of suspects whose secrets were gradually uncovered, was an uneasy one. I don't agree. The nature of crime fiction is that, however hard one strives for realism, there is bound to be a gap between the story and what actually happens in the real world. But despite this, it's perfectly reasonable to strive for realism, and Chibnall did a really fine job in capturing the devastating effect of murder on people's lives.
Broadchurch has shown that whodunits have an enduring appeal - provided, of course, that they are well done. We're told that "Broadchurch will return", but Chibnall will need to do remarkably well to top this series. It will be fun to see whether he can manage it. Waiting to find out will be almost as tense as waiting to find out who did kill Danny Latimer.