“What’s bothering me about this case is that it’s making me ashamed to be a man,” sniffed David Tennant’s DI Alec Hardy.
The list of suspects in the case of the rape of Trish Winterman is mounting and Hardy has had enough. What is also clearly motivating him to get a result (even if it means applying undue pressure on Trish) are his fears for his teenage daughter Daisy who has moved back with him to the south coast (for reasons which are not yet clear). All those teenage boys who keep coming to his door and asking after her haven’t helped his anxiety levels much either.
Miller seems impressed by his decision to return to Broadchurch – coming back to a place he hates (but where would he be happy?) for the sake of his child. “Not many Dads would have done that,” says Miller, whose own experience of fathers hasn’t exactly been rosy. Her ex-husband Joe Miller was, of course, the man who killed Danny Latimer in series one and got away with it.
But Hardy hasn’t lost his essential Hardyness, stomping his way around the place in such a huff (snapping Katie Harford’s head off in the morning meeting) that Ellie suggested he should eat more. “No wonder you’re so thin and grouchy,” she says before later munching on a scotch egg in front of him.
But the theme of male shame and sexual aggression seems to permeate this Broadchurch, a point that was thrown into particularly sharp relief during a moving scene between Beth Latimer (Jodie Whittaker) and Julie Hesmondhalgh’s Trish.
Beth is helping Trish in her work for the rape crisis centre but Trish of course recognised her as the mother of Danny Latimer. It led to a poignant scene with the two women talking hesitantly and with deep feeling about the different ways male aggression has wreaked devastation to their lives.
Another demonstration of the impact of male destructiveness came when Ellie, walking home late at night, suspiciously watched a man coming towards her through the darkness. She was OK – he was innocently walking his dog – but it added to the feeling that this is a quiet seaside town with a number of unpleasant males inhabiting it.
Even Ellie’s son Tom has come under the spotlight for downloading pornography. He’s been suspended and was forced to do a clear up of Rev Coates’ churchyard but the teenager doesn’t exactly seem contrite. He retrieved his confiscated phone from his mum’s bedroom and gleefully showed his friend, Deon Williams’ Michael Lucas, what he had on it.
The dynamic of watching two adolescents up to no good harked back to Broadchurch series one; Tom was a friend of Danny Latimer and there seems more to this story of two porn-obsessed youngsters than meets the eye.
Michael hates his step dad – Sebastian Armesto’s shifty taxi driver, Clive Lucas – who has come to the attention of the police.
Clive lied about his activities on the night of the rape and was reported to have left his cab parked at the party venue late in the evening. He is also far from a model husband, we learned, his wife Lindsay telling Hardy and Miller that he is serially unfaithful.
Of course, Clive is one of those Broadchurch characters whose possible guilt has been signalled a little too early into the run for us to consider him a viable suspect, but I wouldn’t bet on him not having something to do with the attack.
Also suspected is Charlie Higson’s Ian Winterman, Trish’s estranged husband, who gave a fabricated version of his evening to the police, later admitting to mechanic Jim Atwood (Mark Bazeley) that he had blanked out the night of the party and can’t recall a thing.
The cloud of guilt also hovered over Ed Burnett, the grumpy farm shop owner played by Lenny Henry who claimed he’d headed straight home; the party’s musician begged to differ, saying he’d seen Ed disappearing into the garden on the night of the rape.
But with the caterer – who bears a passing resemblance to Ed – on a cigarette break in the gardens at the same time, could this be another case of mistaken identity? (Remember all the stuff about Nige Carter on the beach in series one and two?)
Again, the mysteries mount and time will tell. But at the moment there are a lot of men dong a lot of bad things in this neck of the woods. If Alec Hardy stops scowling for a minute – and has a bite to eat – he might get to the bottom of another Broadchurch mystery.