4 March 2013
As the Dorset resort of Broadchurch prepares for the summer season 11-year old Danny Latimer goes missing. Local detective sergeant Ellie Miller returns from holiday with her husband and son to find her desired promotion to inspector has gone to outsider Alec Hardy, anxious to prove himself after gaining a poor reputation. When Danny's corpse is found on a beach the two police officers must tell his parents, Beth and Mark, sister Chloe and grandmother Liz. For Ellie it is especially hard as they are family friends. She is also irked by Hardy's brusque manner with suspects and tendency to call her by her surname. Ellie's nephew, Olly Stevens, cub reporter for the Broadchurch Echo, throws a spanner in the works when he latches onto the investigation and mentions the victim's name on Twitter. This attracts the attention of Karen White from the national Daily Herald, seeking a human interest story, and she arrives at the press conference where Hardy, convinced that Danny was abducted from home before being strangled, swears that the murderer will be brought to justice.
11 March 2013
When Echo editor Maggie Radcliffe refuses to let Karen in on local coverage of the murder Karen taps Olly, using the bait that she can advance his career. Ellie finds cocaine and money hidden in Chloe's room and whilst Chloe will not divulge her supplier she admits she got it on behalf of hotelier Becca Fisher for a guest. She is protecting the source, boyfriend Dean Thomas, and she too is approached by Karen in the guise of friendship. Beth, reeling under the twin pressures of grief and excessive community sympathy, confesses to vicar Paul that she is pregnant and accepts his offer to be a confidant. Hardy's investigation leads him to caravan dweller Susan Wright, living near the murder scene, though he does not see the skateboard in her cupboard. He and Ellie are still at odds over dealing with the case though both are suspicious when telephone engineer and alleged psychic Steve Connelly tells them Danny died in a boat in water. Newsagent Jack Marshall, for whom Danny did a paper round, tells the police he saw the boy argue with postman Kevin but Kevin has an alibi. On the other hand Mark's alibi is shown to be false and his finger-prints are found at the scene of the murder.
18 March 2013
Hardy continues to irritate Ellie, especially when he gets her to sit in on Mark's interview. Mark explains his finger-prints were at the murder scene because he did some work there but key-holder Susan Wright denies letting him in and work-mate Nige destroys his alibi. However hotelier Becca Fisher comes forward to admit to an affair with Mark, thus giving him a new alibi. Following Steve's theory the police find that Mark does have a boat, stained with Danny's blood though Mark explains he cut himself on a fishing trip. Beth is approached by Steve, who tells her Danny was killed by somebody close to him, increasing her doubts about her husband. Meanwhile Karen, unable to get any locals to speak to her, tells Maggie and Olly she is gunning for Hardy after he failed to solve a similar case and Hardy tells his doctor he has taken on this investigation as a 'penance'. He does nonetheless accepts a dinner invitation with Ellie and her family.
25 March 2013
The charred remains of a boat washing up on shore persuades Steve to ask Hardy to take him seriously, but since Steve has a previous record for fraud, he is ignored though Hardy believes DNA on the boat will lead to Danny's killer. Olly finds evidence that newsagent Jack was tried for sex with a minor and Maggie finds a photo of Jack with his scout troop, assisted by one Elaine Jones, now calling herself Susan Wright, but Susan threatens Maggie to back off and seems to have a hold on Nige. Hardy goes for dinner with the Millers and the atmosphere softens but on returning to his hotel he collapses and Becca takes him to hospital though he is anxious nobody knows he is ill. Both he and Ellie are shocked to find that Karen has persuaded Beth to give an emotive story to her paper, as a result of which the national press flocks to Paul's memorial service for Danny. Ellie tells Hardy that evidence on the boat links to a child killing in the area where Jack once lived - as Jack burns all his incriminating photographs of juveniles.
1 April 2013
More clues come to light - cigarette butts found near the body and the fact that the burnt-out boat belonged to Ellie's ex- brother-in-law who left his wife Lucy, Olly's mother in debt when he left town. At the same time Tom, Ellie's son, meets Susan Wright, who offers to let him walk her dog. Beth threatens Becca over her affair with Mark and is restrained by Paul. She tells Mark she does not want his baby but later they reconcile over family photos. Jack Marshall comes under increasing suspicion as Karen tutors Olly - with whom she has sex - into writing a piece on the newsagent for her paper. Chloe is convinced of Jack's guilt after boyfriend Dean says Jack was always touching the sea scout boys but Jack later admits to the police and to Mark that his previous conviction was for having sex with a young girl, whom he later married. They had a son who died in a car crash aged six and the boys he hugged are substitutes for his dead son. Not everybody is convinced and a hate campaign against Jack develops.
8 April 2013
Following Jack's suicide Hardy is dubbed the worst cop in England by tabloids. The town turns out to the funeral, Karen's presence, since she has returned to London being unwelcome in view of her piece on Jack. Paul's sermon lambastes Jack's persecutors but Hardy, seeing him close to sea scouts, is suspicious and discovers that the young vicar is a reformed alcoholic who hit a boy when he was still drinking. As summer turns to autumn Beth bonds with Cate Gillespie, the mother of another murdered child, who hates Hardy for his ineptitude in handling her case. Maggie and Olly discover damning evidence regarding Susan's ex-husband and after she has given Tom Danny's skateboard, saying she was looking after it, she is brought in by the police, Nige stealing her dog. Ellie and Hardy are called out when an intruder is sighted at the murder scene but he evades them and Hardy collapses again.
15 April 2013
Hardy wakes in hospital and confesses to Ellie that he has heart arrhythmia but feels he must see the case through and quickly returns to work. He later tells Maggie and Olly that it was his ex- wife, also a police officer, who ruined the Gillespie case and he took the blame for her. Ellie questions Susan, who mistrusts the police after her husband killed their daughter and hanged himself in prison. She is certain that, whilst out walking her dog at night and smoking cigarettes, she saw Nige bring Danny's body ashore in a boat. She also informs the police that she believes Nige is the son she gave up for adoption and that he has inherited his father's murderous ways. Paul advises Beth not to reject her unborn baby and she and Mark feel happier after seeing the results of her scan. Paul also gives Hardy Tom's lap-top, which the boy was trying to destroy and informs him that Tom latterly said he hated Danny. Working late and alone Hardy receives an important email.
22 April 2013
Hardy finds Tom's computer, which reveals that he fell out with Danny after the latter found a new friend. At the same time, following an email Hardy traces Danny's phone to the person Ellie's sister Lucy saw dispose of a bundle on the night of the killing. This is the new friend, who makes a confession tying in with what Susan thought she saw and with Steve's psychic vision, a person whose repressed love for Danny led to a terrible conclusion after Danny threatened to expose the relationship. Shock, rather than relief, takes hold of Broadchurch as a result before the town comes together to light beacons in Danny's memory.
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