The third series of award winning drama Broadchurch will draw to a close next Monday evening (17/4) and we will all no doubt ooh and ahh with surprise as the identity of the serial rapist is finally revealed.
This corker of a drama has focused on the shocking sexual assault of Trish Winterman (Julie Hesmondhalgh) and the ensuing police investigation. With the rape scenes and immediate aftermath portrayed with enormous sensitivity by the cast, writer Chris Chibnall has amassed considerable praise for the way the drama has been written.
Trish’s rape is revealed via flashbacks as she is coaxed into recalling as much detail as she can so that Miller and Hardy (Olivia Colman and David Tennant) can uncover the perpetrator. Blue fishing twine used to tie her wrists; a condom wrapper and a football sock that was stuffed into her mouth become central components of the investigation.
Over the course of several episodes suspects are identified and include a significant proportion of the male residents of the village. So who are they?
Ed Burnett. Ed is Trish’s boss at the local shop and her greatest admirer. He sent flowers anonymously after the attack and was discovered with hundreds of photos of Trish on his phone. His daughter DC Katie finds the bag of twine outside the shop at the end of episode 7. Initially he’s the most likely candidate but seems so obsessed with Trish he’s unlikely to be a serial rapist with multiple victims.
Ian Winterman. Trish’s estranged, meek, polite but slightly weasely spy of a husband who has nothing good to say about her at the start of the series but towards the end declares his continued love for her. Is the character too weak to be the culprit though?
Clive Lucas. Lucas is the rather shifty taxi driver who is never where he is meant to be and appears to have keys to Trish’s house (again episode 7). He is well known to her and went for a drink with her. He has a downtrodden, sad wife whom he treats badly and a penchant for porn.
Aaron Mayford. Mackerel catching, creepy IT guy and ex con. Possibly involved with the distribution of porn which is a continuing theme throughout but whether he’s central enough to the plot to be the perpetrator remains to be seen.
Jim Attwood. Jim is the garage-owning husband of Trish’s ‘best friend’ Cath. He’s an all round baddy with a mean streak and a nonchalant attitude to the investigation. Likes porn (don’t they all?) and puts it about a bit. OK a lot. The evidence all too clearly points to him at the moment, which means it probably isn’t him.
Leo Humphries. Leo started off as an annoying, arrogant little pipsqueak but has shown himself to be manipulative and devious. Runs his father’s fishing supply firm (blue twine). A friend gave him a fake alibi and he is guilty of setting up the spyware on Trish’s laptop. He coaches football (remember the sock) and he’s another one in what is potentially an actual porn ring (that’s porn not prawn) and I for one, think it’s him. Unless I dreamed it he was watching Trish the morning after the rape and he’s a character that has been in the background all the way through but seems to be involved in pretty much everything. IT’S HIM, IT’S HIM! (possibly)
Finally there are less likely ‘possibles’ that I suspect will be mere red herrings or possibly only in the frame in my mind because ‘someone must have done it and quite frankly at this point it could be anyone’. There’s Tom Miller (son of Ellie and yes you guessed it, into porn), Michael Lucas (son of taxi driver Clive, also into porn) and maybe, just maybe (because this is Broadchurch and anything could happen) even the grief stricken, driven to the brink of suicide, Mark Latimer.
The crazy good acting performances have been the highlight with Julie Hesmondalgh leading the field with her poignant portrayal of a woman in crisis. This show’s big strengths are that the crime is believable and the characters are real. Writers will say that actors bring the characters alive and actors will often credit superb writing. When you have both great actors and great writers the magic happens. So I will be tuning in to the last ever Broadchurch to find out who the sock DNA belongs to next Monday evening at 9pm …. will you?