Broadchurch series two: the theories

Is Lisa still alive? Is Jocelyn going blind? Is Lee Ashworth innocent? What do the bluebells mean? Here's what we reckon could happen as the David Tennant and Olivia Colman drama unfolds...

Welcome to the Broadchurch theories page. Three episodes in and the ITV drama already has us hooked. Chris Chibnall’s weaving together of Joe Miller’s murder trial and the unsolved mystery of Sandbrook has left us conjuring up countless theories – so we decided it was high time we put some speculations down on the page.


As an aside, we’ve seen as many episodes as you. So, while we may – may – have inadvertently hit the nail on the head, we’re no more “in the know” than you. 

Of course, if you disagree with any of our theories – or would like to share any of your own – go ahead and post in the comments box below.

And, finally, a warning: do not – we repeat, DO NOT – keep reading if you haven’t seen the second episode of series two… 

Last week we gave you some Broadchurch theories and got you to vote them up or down. These are the results after episode two…

1. Claire is hiding something – 96% up, 4% down (523 votes)
2. Bluebells are a reference to the Sandbrook crime scene – 96% up, 4% down (505 votes)
3. Lee is innocent – 79% up, 21% down (478 votes)
4. Paul Coates isn’t as angelic as he seems – 76% up, 24% down (484 votes)
5. Suspicions will fall on Mark Latimer – 76% up, 24% down (463 votes)
6. Lisa is still alive – 75% up, 25% down (468 votes)

And now, here are this week’s theories to peruse – new at the top, old below – and don’t forget to scroll down to the bottom of the page to vote… 


Think about it… There have been hints of the barrister’s failing sight since the very first episode when we saw her in a darkened room, listening to an audio book. The following week saw her ask newspaper editor Maggie Radcliffe to read to her, and tonight’s instalment brought us the strongest clues yet as she was seen on the phone to her junior, asking for “audio summaries of personnel records”. Her vision then blurred while she was at the wheel and, seconds later, she missed the turning for Broadchurch and crashed her car into a tree. 

Add to that the fact that we know Jocelyn retired for reasons unknown and – thanks to her visit to the care home – we’ve seen her finances are in bad shape. Did she give up practising law when she found out she was losing her vision? It’s looking increasingly likely… 


Did anyone else spy the glance Mr Ashworth gave his two young neighbours during episode three? Lee had a charming grin on his face as he looked up to their window before returning to his work putting up a fence, and it was Lisa who returned his look with a coquettish giggle before Pippa’s mother appeared at the window, frowning. 

We found out long ago that Alec Hardy located Pippa’s pendant in Lee’s car – his excuse was he used to give the girls lifts – but, in fact, he became a confidant, with Lisa telling him local man Ricky Gillespie had “made a move on her” when driving her home after babysitting. She and Lee were clearly close, but did the older man have other intentions and did their relationship go a step further? Was it the catalyst that sparked his murdering spree? Or did the discovery of their affair prompt Claire to take her revenge? 


Of the two Sandbrook victims, only one body was ever found: that of 12-year-old Pippa. The fate of her 19-year-old cousin Lisa remains a mystery – and it’s certainly within the realms of possibility that the teen is still alive. How? Well, we’ve got a few theories.

Could Lisa have escaped Lee’s attack, fleeing the house before he had a chance to murder her too? Or was she having an affair with her brooding neighbour, an illicit liaison which Claire – his self-admittedly passionate wife – discovers, attacking the girls next door in revenge. Pippa ends up dead but Lee helps Lisa flee the country? Far-fetched, yes, but certainly possible. 

Or perhaps more plausible is an accident that took place while Lisa was babysitting Pippa – a disaster that the older girl flees, with the aid of Lee who helped her cover it all up.


As the central motif to this second series, the violet flowers clearly carry some significance. During episode one we saw Ellie find a dried bluebell sent to Claire, a detail that clearly troubled Alec when she mentioned it to him. It wasn’t long before he was rifling through Claire’s cupboards himself and inspecting the hidden foliage. His attempt to question her only prompted defensive denials – a sure-fire sign of guilt. But why is it in her possession? And, more importantly, who sent it to her? 

Our hunch: if the bluebell means something to Alec, it’s likely it harks back to the Sandbrook crime scene. Bearing in mind Alec doesn’t know if or where Lisa’s body is hidden, does his recognition of the flower suggest it’s the site where the police found Pippa? And given that Claire was sent the flower in question, is there someone out there trying to intimidate her with their knowledge of her involvement in the killings? 


The first rule of crime drama: if all clues point to one person at the start he almost certainly didn’t do it, which leads us to the conclusion that Lee is innocent. Firstly, the man himself, telling Hardy “for the last time, I had nothing to do with that. You got it wrong, it’s over.” And he isn’t the only one questioning Broadchurch’s erstwhile detective. “What if you’re wrong?” queries Miller. 

Let’s examine the evidence: the proof that all but clinched Lee’s conviction was the discovery of a pendant in a car he’d just sold. But that vehicle presumably also belonged to Claire, his wife now under protection from Hardy and Miller who could also have binned off the car.

There’s clearly so much more to Claire than meets the eye: the anxiety not to see Lee but the conviction he would never hurt her; she and Lee’s uncomfortable sexual frisson – “it’s like I was addicted to him, he was my drug”; the heated moment he unbuttons her shirt to check for recording devices.   

It would be far too easy for Lee to be the killer, but did he take the fall for Claire? That would certainly explain how easy it was for the pair to make their escape from Ellie’s house at the end of episode two. 


Broadchurch’s vicar has given us the heebie-jeebies ever since series one. Frankly, we were a little surprised he had nothing to do with Danny’s disappearance, given his lack of alibi, shifty nature and flirtations with Becca, Mark’s former fling. The series’ return has seen confirmation of their relationship and Paul is acting shadier than ever, visiting Joe in prison and begging him to revert to his guilty plea. Is he making his entreaties out of godly goodness or is he keen to keep a lid on his own dark secrets? “Nobody’s innocent, Paul, everyone’s hiding things,” Joe informs him when the pair meet – as subsequently proven by the Rev himself as he fibs to Beth about his whereabouts. Is Paul simply trying to be everyone’s best friend, or is he sitting on important information? 


Episode two saw defence QC Sharon Bishop make a beeline for Danny’s dad Mark Latimer while his wife Beth was on the witness stand. Had Mark ever had an affair? Had he ever hit Danny? It was a brutal strategy but effective as suspicious glances were cast at the town’s plumber before Sharon briskly got Joe’s confession removed from evidence thanks to Miller’s rough treatment of her incarcerated husband.  

But something tells us the defence won’t stop there, and when – it’s a “when”, not an “if” – it emerges Mark’s been hanging out with Tom, will Joe get let off and Mark find himself accused? Given enough evidence, Becca’s alibi could be picked apart in court… 

Now, it’s time to vote. Click through the options below and have your say on whether or not you reckon our theories will become a reality… 


And if you’ve any more theories of your own to add, we’d love to hear from you. Post your thoughts in the comments box below…