Broadchurch: who’s the killer?

The identity of the murderer in the ITV detective drama is still a mystery, so there's time for a few theories...

Who killed Danny Latimer? There are plenty of suspects, so let’s go through the list.


Apologies in advance if it turns out we’ve got it spot-on at some point (NB We have no better idea than you of what will happen! But don’t read on unless you want to.) If you’re game, what’s your theory?

With spoiler alerts everywhere if you’re not up to speed with episode 7, here are the suspects…

Episode 7’s massive bombshell: Susan Wright says she saw Nige landing on the beach in the middle of the night, laying Danny’s body on the sand, then motoring off again – oh, and she’s his mother. She told the cops Nigel’s father was a child abuser who killed her daughter, then killed himself in prison – and Nigel, their newborn son, was taken into care. He might have some of his dad’s evil-doing tendencies. He’s successfully driven her out of town, but he’s very much in the frame – especially in the light of Dean’s revelation that he and Danny went with Dean on secret trips out “animal-catching”. Yikes. Of course, viewers of a certain Danish drama to which Broadchurch has been compared will have suspected Nige from the get-go.

Lovely, caring, gentle Joe must be a contender: he won our vote after episode 6 by a mile, and he fits the bill. He and Ellie are friends of the family, he’s generally just too nice to be true, Ellie’s police work takes her out of the house a lot late at night which would give him a chance to be up to no good, and the realisation that her husband is the killer would give Olivia Colman the big finish her casting surely demands. He wasn’t keen on her searching for Tom’s missing laptop… did we see a glimpse of his real, less gentle and caring character there? Plus, seasoned whodunit-watchers will have reacted to Beth’s pregnancy by immediately asking: who’s really the father? And if Susan was wrong about seeing Nige on the beach – he’s not admitted it – who in the town might be mistaken for Nige, from a distance..?

Initially we thought: come off it, he’s 11 years old. But he unsubtly asked questions about what will happen to the killer, and he was deleting all his texts and emails from Danny just after his friend died. He tried and failed to make absolutely sure they’d gone, it seems he and Danny weren’t close after all – and it seems the recovered emails between him and Danny are extremely interesting. But… really? He’s 11 years old! Come off it. 

The nervous local vicar has had problems integrating himself with, and engaging, the local community. He said he’d “tried everything” to get people to come to church – could frightening them into religion by carrying out a horrifying murder be his insane last resort? He was very quick to lap up attention on TV and to become Beth’s confidant when she told him she was pregnant. He had a direct connection to Danny and Tom, running IT classes at the school. Can his personal issues be filed under “townsfolk’s general secrets” rather than “mindset of a murderer”? If he is the killer, he is incredibly good at hiding it. Mind you, that could apply to nearly everyone – and his confession to DI Hardy that young Tom has accused him of abusing Danny, together with his volunteering of Tom’s potentially incriminating laptop. could be his latest diabolical bluff.

Dean Thomas (Jacob Anderson)
The boyfriend of Danny’s sister Chloe, who was alarmed at the prospect of the police linking him to the cocaine found in Chloe’s room and who then tried to drop Jack Marshall further in it. He he has a direct link to the family, and he’s consistently present in the show without attracting too much attention. There also don’t seem to be any publicity photos of Dean. Highly suspicious.

What? It would be a nice big twist after all this build-up, it would mean the big star gets to be the murderer, and when you think about it, it all makes sense. Rather than a troubled man with a chequered record and a heart problem, Hardy could turn out to be a Mr Hyde-style killer whose collapses are exacerbated by the strain of keeping his murderous tendencies in check. The child he has a photo of in his wallet is dead (that’s why she doesn’t return his calls), his story about taking the blame for the collapse of the previous case to protect her was what the good half of his brain wants to believe, and the last episode will see him attempt to kill Ellie (Olivia Colman) when she finds him out. No? Alright, it’s a long shot. But he’s “been here before”…

Of course it isn’t rubbish local reporter Olly (Jonathan Bailey) – or is it? – but his editor Maggie ticks a few boxes. She’s very nice, she’s appeared in every episode, and perhaps it’ll turn out to be her because she’s about the only character who isn’t loaded with terrible secrets or questionable behaviour – everyone else’s dark sides could be red herrings. She’s a classic “last person you suspect”. She just handed the cops Susan Wright on a plate, which would be a good move for a secret murderer. And did you see the way she stopped Karen from the Daily Herald borrowing a desk in her office? Ruthless.

Wanton sexiness is often conflated with outright evil in TV drama, and this suspiciously attractive interloper has confessed to sourcing drugs for guests. Was there more to her affair with Danny’s dad Mark than just sex? Coming to the aid of DI Hardy, and then perhaps accidentally-on-purpose leading him on, could have been the risky diversionary strategy of a cold-blooded, gorgeous psychopath. But she was hardly in episode 6 and wasn’t in 7 at all, so… no.

The caravan-dwelling battleaxe was heavily signposted as a wrong ‘un from the off: she had Danny’s skateboard in her caravan, her real name isn’t even Susan, and she threatened DI Hardy and, in spectacular fashion, Maggie Radcliffe. But her explanation about her own deeply troubled past – and her fiery relationship with crossbow-packing lunk Nige, her secret son – surely puts her out of the picture now. Plus she seems to have gone for good.

Back in the running as an outside bet after his brief appearance in episode 7 – including the portentous final montage! Is he really psychic? Is he a deluded moron? Or is he a serial killer who likes to turn up at the scene of the crime later, tormenting the victim’s family and the investigating officers just for kicks?

Just because you’d forgotten about Danny’s gran, hadn’t you? We can’t build a convincing case against her at all, but you never know…

Here are the results of our weekly whodunnit votes…

After episode 3:
Joe Miller 23%
Nige Carter 15%
Steve Connelly 9%
None of the above 9%
Paul Coates 8%

After episode 4:
Nige Carter 27%
Joe Miller 25%
Paul Coates 10%
Tom Miller 6%
None of the above 5%

After episode 5:
Nige Carter 23%
Joe Miller 21%
Tom Miller 18%
Susan Wright 8%
Paul Coates 8%

After episode 6:
Joe Miller 42%
Nige Carter 15%
Tom Miller 15%
Alec Hardy 5%
Paul Coates 5%


After episode 7:
Joe Miller 55%
Tom Miller 14%
Nige Carter 4%
Paul Coates 4%
None of the above 3%