Sandbrook. It’s the unresolved case that loomed over DI Alec Hardy (David Tennant) throughout his investigation into the murder of Danny Latimer. In the first series of Broadchurch, we learned that it had involved the disappearance of two young girls and that Hardy’s wife, the DS on the case, had had a key piece of evidence – a pendant – stolen from her car while she was meeting a man with whom she was having an affair.
The case attracted national press coverage so in order to protect his daughter from the truth about their troubled relationship, Hardy covered for his wife and took the blame.
But the opening episode of Broadchurch series two revealed a lot more – including the fact that the fallout from Sandbrook had been precisely the reason Hardy had taken the job with Wessex Police which led him to investigate Danny’s murder.
Hardy had moved to Broadchurch to protect key witness Claire, who has been hiding out in a house there for the last seven months after agreeing to testify against her husband Lee Ashworth in the Sandbrook case. Hardy is convinced Ashworth murdered 12-year-old Pippa and19-year-old Lisa, who is still missing.
“There were two girls; cousins. Lisa Newberry, 19, was babysitting for her 12-year-old cousin Pippa. Pippa’s parents were away for the night at their friends’ wedding. They came back the next day and both girls were gone. The 12-year-old, Pippa, her body was found three days later. The 19-year-old, Lisa, officially she’s still missing. Our main suspect was a man called Lee Ashworth. But he had a solid alibi.”
That alibi was Claire, who lied that she’d been with him the night of the murder – until Hardy persuaded her to tell the truth. But despite her admission, Ashworth walked free and now he has tracked her to Broadchurch.
Hardy remains desperate to prove Ashworth’s guilt, telling his former colleague DS Ellie Miller, “I’ve got a plan” and aiming to enlist her help – although Miller is still unimpressed that he took the job she says was “earmarked” for her.
“I’ve got a plan. I can solve Sandbrook. And I can still get justice for those families. Claire’s the key… She needs someone like you. And you’re not exactly opverloaded with friends right now… Please. Please Miller. I need to know that I got Sandbrook right in the end. I can’t do it on my own.”