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  • Author's Saving Throw: The complete lack of Susan and any of the lawyers in Series 3, despite some big hints in Series 2 that there was more planned for them, is viewed by many fans as a tacit admission from the show's crew that they seriously screwed up whatever they were going for with the characters and it was best to just drop them completely.
  • Awesome Music: The main theme, which is incredibly beautiful and sad at the same time. It was even used in the teaser trailer for Fantastic Four (2015).
  • Awesome Moments:
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    • In Series 2, Hardy confronting Lee after getting his pacemaker. There is a noticeable change in his gait and demeanor which unnerves Lee. It hammers home how much his heart condition had been dragging him down.
    • Hardy figuring out Claire's true motive for turning herself in with the pendant.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • "I know men who'd rape you!" The line is completely over the top, and doesn't lead to anything later. It is brought back during the trial though.
    • Ellie's return home to collect her things in the first series finale is a very poignant scene until she detours into the living room to step on a slug. Was it meant to convey rage, tragedy, senselessness? The problem here is it's tough to combine a squashed slug with piano music and slo-mo. (@BroadchurchSlug has its own Twitter account. #slugjustice!)
  • Broken Base: People who watched for the characters tend to really like the reveal of the killer, and how it affects everyone. Those who watched for the mystery are irritated by the lack of clues and overdose of creepy characters to what ended up being no purpose.
  • Catharsis Factor:
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    • In the middle of endless doom and gloom, Ellie verbally tearing Tom a new one over his perjury to help his worthless pederast and murderer father beat the rap, and after he'd been such a jerk to her the whole series, is incredibly satisfying.
    • He gets it again in Series 3 when Ellie takes a hammer to his phone and laptop over his porn surfing.
    • In the Series 2 finale, someone finally telling Abby Thompson, point-blank, that she's a horrible person. After eight episodes of her and Bishop's crap, it's quite satisfying for someone to tell this Amoral Attorney what everyone really thinks of her.
  • Complete Monster: In a show where almost every villain is given some kind of humanizing quality to balance out their actions, Leo Humphries stands out as an exception. Two years prior to the events of the third season, he knocked out, tied up, and raped a young woman called Laura Benson while filming the rape. Feeing empowered by the rape, he developed an addiction and did the same to two other women over the years. Upon meeting a troubled young man called Michael Lucas, Leo began corrupting him with pornography, and he eventually forced him to rape Trish Winterman at a party. During the ensuing investigation, he tried to frame Trish's boss Ed Burnett for the rapes. Arrogant, remorseless, and taking absolute pride in his actions, Leo is easily the most despicable character the entire show has to offer.
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  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Series 1 toed the line, and Series 2 fully leaps over it, being largely just scene after scene of Ellie being completely miserable.
  • Evil Is Sexy:
    • In Season 2, many viewers found Lee and Claire to be scorchingly hot, both together and separately.
    • Leo Humphries appears to have several fangirls.
  • Funny Moments:
    • In the middle of an argument, Ellie abruptly invites DI Hardy to dinner, her house, pick a night. You ask the boss to work, she doesn't like it but it's what people do. Hardy looks like he's been hit in the head with a brick. His panic when told you don't talk about work is wonderful:
      Hardy: What will we talk about?
      Ellie: I don't know! Just say yes.
      Hardy: ...Yeah.
      Ellie: Thank you! Bloody hell!
      [Hardy walks away]
      Ellie: ...Knob.
    • The yes is less of a 'yeah' and more of a vague sound of consent.
    • ...And then later he shows up with a bottle of wine. And flowers. And chocolates.
      Hardy: Wasn't sure what I should choose, so I just got them all.
    • Hardy tries to comfort Ellie, who is hiding in the ladies' toilet. How does he get inside? By putting a cleaning in progress sign outside and chasing off anyone else looking to come in. Becomes a brick joke when Ellie stumbles over the sign as she storms off and Hardy cringes.
    • A fun fair opens right behind Hardy's house, which he didn't know would happen because the rental company forgot to mention it. His irritation does nothing to discourage Ellie's gleeful teasing.
  • Heartwarming Moments:
    • All of Hardy's interaction with his daughter counts, especially the way his face lights up when talking to her over the phone.
    • Before going to arrest the killer, Hardy compliments Ellie for doing a good job. Considering that he already suspected the identity of the killer, it is likely he was trying to be nice before the revelation.
    • When telling that Joe is the killer, Hardy does his best to soften the blow for Ellie. Then he wastes no time in arranging matters so the rest of her family could be safe, and makes sure that her co-workers at the station know she is innocent and will need every support they can give.
    • Hardy pushing Fred's trolley while walking with Ellie in Series 2. Also, Ellie apparently calls him 'Uncle Alec' while talking to Fred.
    • Tess acknowledging that Alec is a good man for taking the heat for her.
    • After the Sandbrook case is solved, Ellie tells Hardy that he was wrong about everyone being alone in the end. This mirrors the conversation they had at the beginning of Series 2. Hardy was the one to tell Ellie she isn't alone and Ellie retorted that she was.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Idiot Plot: The entire courtroom plotline of Series 2 relies entirely on judge, jury and prosecution all suffering from severe, writer-inflicted brain damage. Even if Hollywood Law were not in effect, vital evidence (such as Hardy's illness, which would have prevented him from physically assaulting the defendant) goes unmentioned, timelines are ignored (Q: are we sure that the defendant's injuries did not occur before rather than after the confession? A: yes, because both events are on police camera), and the net result is a trial that takes up the whole series.
  • Narm:
    • Lee Ashworth's love of standing on distant hills to threateningly stare at people. It works pretty well the first time, but then he just keeps doing it until it's impossible to take seriously. Especially when he appears to sprint like his life depended on it to get in position a few seconds after ringing Claire's doorbell to drop her favorite dish off.
    • The show doesn't explain that in the British court system the attorneys don't wear their wigs while talking to children to make them less intimidating, so to anyone unfamiliar with it, Tom's turn on the witness stand comes off like the crew just forgot to bring the wigs that day and they went ahead anyway.
    • Mark being saved from his suicide in Series 3. Many fans said that it could have worked if the whole thing had been contained in a single episode, but the way the show let them stew over it for a week before saying "Nope, just kidding!" feels like a gimmick that should be far beneath it.
  • Sophomore Slump: Series 2 is considered to be far inferior to the first, with the less compelling mystery and multiple legal faults tending to be the largest points of contention; the first series won a hat-trick at the BAFTAs, including Best Drama Series, but Series 2 was overlooked completely. Series 3 is widely seen to be an improvement on Series 2 - with the plot being more even and less contrived, as well as the central mystery not being a rehash of the original.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • The opening theme is incredibly beautiful and sad.
    • When Beth Latimer asks Tom Miller for a hug.
      "I miss his hugs."
    • Jack's breakdown and tragic suicide.
    • The town lights a bonfire on the beach in memory of Danny and as we watch, more fires start up the distance, until the whole coast is spotted with pinpricks of light.
    • Alec asking Tess that they could be a family again despite still being bitter about the affair. It shows how, for all his talk about how everyone is alone and no one can be trusted, he does get lonely and crave companionship underneath.
    • After putting Pippa's photo that he had been carrying around in the Sandbrook case file, signifying that the case was solved, Alec breaks down sobbing alone in the interrogation room.
    • Trish Winterman in the immediate aftermath of her rape, going through the whole process of evidence collection while she's so shocked from what happened that she can barely speak. Ellie's kindness toward her throughout the ordeal somehow only makes it sadder.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Some fans have said that Ellie's theory that Lisa accidentally killed Pippa and ran away would have been a better solution to the Sandbrook case than the real one, especially since what actually happens makes Lisa being a case of Never Found the Body completely pointless.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: With Jocelyn Knight, the writers created a compelling, realistically textured character, cast a highly respected actress to play her, and then made her the center of a storyline that required her to pick up the Idiot Ball so many times that her legal skills became purely an Informed Ability. As a result, her storyline was very poorly received, and she spent the entirety of Season 3 on a bus.
  • Tough Act to Follow: Dissatisfaction with Season 2 could only have been amplified by how critically acclaimed Season 1 was.
  • Trapped by Mountain Lions: Mark, Paul and Maggie all exist in minor subplots in Series 3 with no connection to the case of rape that drives this final series, clearly just to keep the actors in the cast. Mark tracks down Joe and tries to kill himself, Paul is in a rut because church attendance has gone down after it increased in the wake of Danny's murder, and Maggie struggles with the new owner of her magazine's tasteless approach to journalism. Beth only avoids this by having become an ISVA and coincidentally being assigned to Trish Winterman, the same person whose rape Hardy and Ellie are investigating.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Sharon Bishop was clearly meant to be a somewhat sympathetic Anti-Villain. However, she spends most of her time onscreen being relentlessly cruel toward characters who have already been through hell and deploying Insane Troll Logic to defend someone the audience knows is guilty, so it's hard to care much about her personal problems.
  • Values Dissonance: The age of consent in Britain is 16, which can cause certain scenes to seem strange to people who live in areas where it is 18:
    • Jack makes a point to note that had he waited a few weeks for his 15-year-old lover's birthday, their romance would have been perfectly legal. In many places, however, the girl was more than two years too young to be having sex with any adult, even ignoring the fact that he was 40.
    • The Latimers make a big deal about the fact that their 15-year-old daughter is dating a 17-year-old. This seems weird to them because the boy is an adult. In many places, both are still seen as minors, so it doesn't seem like such a big deal.
    • The same happens in reverse in countries where the age is 15 or lower (for example, most of mainland Europe).
    • The dissonance is intensified by the fact that some places, like Canada, have a "close-in age exemption" so that, for example, a 15 year old (below the age of consent) can have consensual sex with an 18 year old (above the age of consent).
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: Alec Hardy began suffering from a heart illness right after his wife cheated on him and ruined his career by losing some highly important evidence while meeting with her lover. An almost literal case of broken heart. The metaphor extends into series 2. Hardy's heart heals.
  • Win Back the Crowd: Series 3 got a lot of people back on board after the highly controversial Series 2, returning to a bigger focus on the Ellie/Hardy partnership and banter and with a case that's largely divorced from the previous two, avoiding any of their baggage.
  • The Woobie:
    • Jack. He got jailed and his reputation tarnished for a consensual relationship. He married his lover only for their son to die at a young age. He moves to Broadchurch to start anew only for his conviction to resurface and get twisted, culminating in the town turning on him and forming a lynch mob when some former members of his club provide some maligned "evidence" to him being a pedophile. And even after he reveals the truth, his house is vandalized and he gets a picture of his dead son and ex-wife thrown into his face. He's Driven to Suicide, and to rub salt in the wound we get to hear Chloe complain about how she doesn't care about his funeral since she never liked him anyway, and nobody pays for basically hounding him to his death.
    • Ellie. In season 2 she has been demoted to a traffic cop, her oldest son will not talk to her and almost the whole town has given her the cold shoulder.

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