Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Gracepoint and Broadchurch

Kerry Hammond is here today to talk about a new ten part mystery series called, GracePoint, based on the BBC show called, Broadchurch. 

I recently discovered the British mystery series Broadchurch. It was released in 2013, so I admit I am slightly behind. But in my defense, I don’t know that my local PBS station played it on Masterpiece Mystery. I binge watched all 8 episodes in only 2 days (I unfortunately have a job) and was stunned by the conclusion and in awe of the show.

Broadchurch is a British “whodunit drama” that was filmed in Dorset (I stole that description of the show from the official tourism website for Dorset), a county located in Southwest England, along the English Channel coastline. In the show, the small seaside town is ripped apart when the dead body of a young boy is found on the beach. You watch the entire event play out over the 8 episodes, from the parents’ notification that their son is dead, to the police investigation that follows. If I had to put a tagline after the title, it would be: everyone in town has secrets.

Broadchurch cast

I won’t tell you much more about the plot because it’s best to just watch it for yourself. I will tell you that it was written by Dr. Who writer Chris Chibnall and stars David Tennant as DI Alec Hardy. The acting is absolutely wonderful, the scenery is breathtaking, and the plot twists had me guessing until the very end. 

I watched the show on DVD (from my local library) and I am a fan of the extras that you get on DVD versions of shows. I found out, through these extras, that the actors did not know whodunit until the very end. The writers did not disclose the guilty party because they didn’t want anyone to act differently with the knowledge. So it was fun to watch the character interviews from episode 5, where you hear the police detective wondering whodunit, and the other cast members wondering if perhaps they themselves were the killer. 

Gracepoint, same actor, same plot, different countries

Now for yet another twist: on October 2nd, Fox will premier a 10 part series called Gracepoint. When I saw the trailer for this mystery drama set in Northern California, it was a surreal experience. The location bears a strong resemblance to Dorset, the scenes from the first few episodes were almost exactly the same as the ones in Broadchurch, yet the actors were different. That is, all actors except for David Tennant, who will be playing the police officer in charge. His character has no relation to DI Hardy, and he is even speaking with an American accent. I read up on how the two shows will diverge and it seems that the first two episodes will be quite similar, but that the show begins to differ in big ways after that. It’s not clear whether or not the killer will be different, but I think it’s worth watching to find out.

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