Broadchurch: If Joe Miller Isn't Danny's Killer Then Who Is?
It was the stand out scene of the opening episode of the new series, a shock that left the characters and viewers of Broadchurch reeling. The two little words uttered by Joe Miller as he stood in the dock surrounded by his old friends, his wife and the family of 12 year old murder victim Danny..Not Guilty. So if we are to believe that Joe really isn't the killer then we are left with a number of questions most importantly why did he confess to the murder to DI Alec Hardy? And if Joe's not Danny Latimer's killer then who is?!
We take a look at some of the suspects below:
The evidence against Joe is pretty damning, after all he confessed to DI Alec Hardy that he had murdered Danny at the end of the first series, saying that he had inappropriate feelings for the child. So is he just trying to escape justice with his Not Guilty plea? Is he frightened of facing life in prison as a child killer and so wants a chance to literally get away with murder? Or is he covering for someone? And if that's the case then who?
Joe has been receiving secret visits from the town's vicar, Rev Paul Coates. "Nobody’s innocent, everyone’s hiding things." he tells Paul during one of their meetings. This certainly seems to suggest that others are involved in the murder.
When we first met Joe he was seen as a devoted husband to Ellie, he was a stay at home dad, keen to support Ellie as much as possible in her police career. He doted on their children Tom and Fred and was a popular member of the Broadchurch community. So does Joe the devoted family man suspect someone close to him is the real killer and so confessed to save them from facing the consequences? Or are there further secrets about him that we've yet to discover?
Tom is the most likely person that dad Joe would want to cover up for. Tom was best friend's with Danny until shortly before his death when the two boys fell out, suspicious in itself, but add to that the fact that he deleted emails and texts to and from Danny soon after the body was discovered and tried to destroy his laptop to stop Hardy examining it and you have some seriously strange behaviour.
Since his father's arrest Tom has become estranged from mum Ellie and refuses to see her, but is secretly meeting up with Danny's dad Mark to play computer games and chat. Are they merely helping each other cope with dark times or is there a more sinister aspect to their relationship?
Dad to two children, Chloe and Danny, and married to his teenage sweetheart Beth, Mark Latimer seemed to have the perfect family life. But following the death of his young son Mark went on to lie to the police even persuading his best friend and work colleague Nige to provide a false alibi. We and the police discovered he was covering up for the fact that he had been spending the night Danny died with hotelier Becca Fisher with whom he was enjoying an affair.
Mark also has a quick temper we've seen him lash out at Rev Paul Coates and the press and Tom Miller told Hardy that Danny had told him that Mark had hit him. Did Danny discover his dad's affair with Becca and did Mark lash out?
His marriage to Beth is finally back on track and they are expecting a new baby, but he's still hiding secrets from his wife with her being kept in the dark about his meetings to with Tom.
Chloe is Danny's elder teenage sister and she seems genuinely distraught by the death of her little brother. She's been a bit of a tearaway in the past dating an older boyfriend, Dean, and being in possession of cocaine, but surely killing her little brother to keep him from telling tales to their parents would prove too extreme?
Danny's mum Beth is the least likely to have harmed the child. She's devastated by the loss of her young son and torn up by the fact that her husband Mark was cheating on her on the night of the murder. She's looking forward to the arrival of her new baby but knows that it won't ever replace Danny.
Rev. Paul Coates
Local vicar Paul has been a rock to Danny's mum Beth in the aftermath of her child's death. He has provided spiritual guidance to the residents of Broadchurch through a traumatic period and is always on hand to help out the police when they need any assistance.
But he's not as devout as he first seems. He admitted to Hardy and Miller that he is a recovering alcoholic and still attends AA meetings.
And his unsavoury past doesn't stop with a drink problem, Hardy discovered he had assaulted a child during an incident that the vicar passed off as a practical joke gone wrong. In the aftermath of Danny's murder Paul has also started a romantic relationship with the town's scarlet woman Becca. Now his covert prison visits to see Joe Miller are adding to his suspicious behaviour and lest we forget he is still without an alibi for the night that Danny was killed, he claimed to be out walking alone due to a bout of insomnia.
Nige's fierce loyalty to Mark and the rest of the Latimer clan is to be applauded. He was at their side throughout the investigation in to Danny's death and again at the court when they saw Joe Miller plead not guilty. But as lovable and loyal as Nige seems let's not forget the fact that this is a man who thinks nothing of wielding a crossbow, and that Nige has a seriously nasty side. It was he who set up a hate campaign against newsagent Jack Marshall, accusing the elderly man of being Danny's killer, the result of which led to Jack's suicide, an act that Nige has never shown any sadness or regret over.
His relationship with Susan Wright also gave cause for concern he was especially aggressive towards her and was so keen to get rid of her from the town that he offered her cash to leave and then resorted to threatening her with the crossbow. He even kidnapped her beloved pet dog, but backed out of killing him. It eventually transpired that Susan was Nige's real mother and that she had put him up for adoption. Her husband, Nige's father was a convicted murderer who had killed their daughter and Susan was concerned that Nige was Danny's killer in some sort of like father like son scenario.
Nige's alibi for the night of Danny's death remains rather shaky. Susan was adamant that she had witnessed Nige at the scene of the killing. Upon searching his home, police came across a startling collection of weaponry forcing Nige to reveal that he was out poaching late at night to earn extra cash. He also had to admit that young Danny had accompanied him on several of his illegal trips.
Susan has left Broadchurch, well for now, but was she the real killer of Danny? Although she acted pretty suspiciously and viciously at times whilst she was there, she clearly believed that estranged son Nige was the killer. She's also lost a child to murder after her husband killed their daughter so the chances of her going on to murder a child herself are surely pretty slim?
Hotel owner Becca has certainly enjoyed the attentions of several of the Broadchurch residents having had an affair with Mark Latimer, been propositioned by DI Alec Hardy and now in a romance with the town's vicar Paul Coates. But the pretty Australian is also not as sweet as she first appears. She instructed Chloe Latimer to source some cocaine for her - supposedly to keep some unknown guests of the hotel happy. She also appeared concerned that Danny's death would effect trade in her hotel, not really the reaction that someone would necessarily have to the news that their lover's child had been murdered. She also seems to be unbothered that her continued presence upsets and hurts Mark's wife Beth, turning up at the court with new love Paul to see Joe Miller make his plea.
Young reporter Olly won't let anything get in the way of a good story. The nephew of Ellie Miller, we first met Olly when he was depressed at the lack of action in Broadchurch. He wanted to move away from local newspaper reporting, but had been rejected by the national press. He needed a big story to help his career. But surely he wouldn't go as far as turning killer in order to provide himself with his big break? He was the first to break the news of Danny's murder, on Twitter of all places, and he reveled in the attention he received from the nationals as a result. However his ambitions backfired on him after he teamed up with journalist Karen White to write a shock piece on Broadchurch resident Jack. The article caused devastation and following Karen's return back to the city, Olly was left alone to reflect on his part in Jack's death.
But why was Olly so keen to run the story on Jack in the first place, was it purely because he wanted to see his name recognised in the national press or was he trying to divert attentions away from himself? And don't forget that Olly was the owner of the boat that was used to move Danny's body.
Editor of the Broadchurch Echo, Maggie tried to keep Olly in line and attempted to report on the murder in a sympathetic manner. She wanted to keep the police on side but was that for professional reasons rather than to try to evade their suspicions?
She faced the wrath of Susan Wright for uncovering her real identity and discovering the death of her daughter and learned the truth about Hardy and the Sandbrook case. Maggie appears to be rather genuine and has pleaded with her old friend, the former QC Jocelyn Knight, to act as prosecution in the trial against Joe.