It’s week three and the tension is extremely high. After his fingerprints were found in the hut Mark Latimer has become the main suspect in Danny’s case and he isn’t doing himself any favours keeping stum about his activities. DS Ellie Miller still refuses to believe Mark hurt his own son – ‘There could be any number of reasons as to why his prints were in that hut.’ Hardy disagrees, ‘You need to look at the evidence in front of you and stop acting like you’re his bloody solicitor.’
All the evidence seems to point to Mark having murdered his son. During a series of interrogations Mark conveniently remembers a lot of information from Thursday night, but there’s something that doesn’t quite fit together. Hardy and Miller check out his alibi. Apparently he had an emergency call out to the hut to fix a burst pipe. He got the keys to the hut from Susan, but she tells Hardy and Miller that she never gave them to Mark in her usual abrupt manner. Secondly, Mark’s friend Nigel invented a false alibi. He wasn’t with Mark the night of Danny’s murder and he appears to be hiding something else. Lastly, Ellie checks out Mark’s boat – I know, I too was gutted that he didn’t own the one called ‘The Wagger’ – and she finds blood which is later confirmed as Danny’s. With the evidence mounting, things really aren’t looking good for Mark Latimer.
‘Do you understand what it’ll do to this town if it’s Mark?’ Ellie is struggling to come to terms with the fact that Mark is a suspect. She hardly speaks to him in the interrogation and when she does it’s in a pleading manner to help him to exonerate himself. In her denial, Ellie appears won over by Mark’s lies and charming smile. She’s not objective enough, but the evidence doesn’t lie. Hardy asks Ellie what she is looking for, ‘An easy answer? The least pain? It doesn’t work like that.’ Maybe he doesn’t want Ellie to make the same mistakes he did. After all, we don’t know everything about Hardy’s past. Maybe he too got far too close to a family during the Sandbrook murders and this (and more) cost him his reputation? Furthermore, earlier in the episode, Hardy puts Miller on the spot by having her run a staff briefing. It’s her first one and she’s demonstrably nervous. She feels victimised by Hardy and accuses him of haranguing her because she’s not running out to arrest Mark Latimer. When he drops in the fact that Miler’s son Tom needs to be interviewed, she flips. However, Hardy’s actions never appear vindictive. Ok, he’s an ass at times, but it seems as if he is trying to toughen Ellie up because things are only just getting started. He needs her to be objective, not emotionally attached. So, in a way his actions are rather endearing albeit unconventional.
Ellie is devastated when she learns the truth about Mark’s whereabouts. Many fans of the show suspected that Mark was having an affair or just expressed that they believed he simply didn’t do it. It’s too obvious. He was indeed having an affair. He was on the car park at the top of Briars Cliff waiting for Becca Fisher. Why it took a whole episode to find out this information is rather odd and the programme’s first weak point. Mark’s explanation for his behaviour, ‘it’s cuz I was ashamed innit.’ This is noticeably similar to The Killing and the interrogation of Troels Hartmann, only Troooooels would never be caught saying ‘innit’. What about Danny’s blood in the hut you say? Well, it turns out Danny got a nasty gash on his foot from stepping on the end of a fishing line. I guess Mark’s off the hook – no pun intended – for now. Only, how can a hut at the top of a cliff be the closest place to go after an accident? Also, how did he get in if he didn’t have the keys? More importantly, who are the mysterious owners of the hut? I may be clutching at crime fighting straws, but if someone’s property is involved in a murder case surely the owners would be an initial point of contact, even if they are out of town.
Elsewhere, Karen White is fishing for information from the local newsagent Jack Marshall. She knows Danny did a paper round for Jack, but Jack’s not daft. He doesn’t want to wind up on the front page of the newspaper; his comments misconstrued, ‘I sell ‘em. I don’t wanna be in ‘em.’ Lurking in the background is Susan. She’s waiting for Karen to leave so as not to draw attention to herself, and she’s obviously feeling stressed ordering a pack of 20 cigarettes. Later in the episode we learn that Karen has gone AWOL from The Daily Herald. She used to run crime back in the day and was covering the Sandbrook murders. Furthermore, she reveals that Hardy failed the family in Sandbrook and she’s in Broadchurch to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Broadchurch’s very own psychic Steven Connelly is back and he’s following Beth Latimer around – or rather stalking her. He says he has a message from Danny, but Beth’s not very forthcoming. After some strange revelation and a suspicious note through her letterbox, Beth decides to entertain the Steven’s theories in the hope of find some peace in all the madness. Steven tells Beth that he has a spirit guide who tells him about people passing over. The message from Danny is ‘Danny wants you to know he is ok. Don’t look for the person who killed him because it won’t help.’ It will only upset Beth because she knows this person really well. Cue dramatic musical interlude…BUUM BUUM BUUM!
As always, the performances on Broadchurch are excellent. However, this episode felt like the weakest so far. There’s still great mystery, intrigue and wonderful dialogue – particularly between Miller and Hardy – but Mark Latimer’s interrogation was drawn out for far too long considering many viewers had reached the conclusion before the detectives. Moreover, the signature slow motion camera work is getting rather tedious. It’s overused at times. Let’s hope it’s used more sparingly in future episodes.
There’s still five episodes to go and we’ve yet to find out what Nigel is hiding in his van; how Beth will handle Mark’s affair; Tom’s involvement and who really killed Danny Latimer. If the murderer was doing their best to go unnoticed, burning a boat at sea probably wasn’t the best idea. Nevertheless, the final image of the boat burning out at sea was a gripping cliff hanger. I’ll definitely be watching next week. Will you?
Catch up with Broadchurch on ITV Player
Episode four airs Monday 25th March