Broadchurch Suspect Profile No. 6: Tom Miller

We're profiling a selection of the main suspects and suspicious characters as we approach the final episode of Broadchurch and the big reveal. Today it's the turn of Tom Miller, played by Adam Wilson. Could an eleven year old boy really have been responsible for the death of his school friend?

Tom Miller is the eleven year old son of DS Ellie Miller and husband Joe. He also has a baby brother called Fred. Murder victim Danny was his best friend and the boys slept over at each other’s houses. They also went on outings together with dads Joe and Mark, and Tom was part of the boat trip in Olly’s boat when a gang went out paintballing. Tom and Danny together attended Paul Coates’ computer class at their primary school.

From the time when Ellie told him of Danny’s death, Tom has been acting suspiciously. His immediate reaction was to delete phone messages and folders from his computer. Since then he has been worrying about the computer files and whether whatever they contained could still be recovered. He even went so far as to approach Paul for advice and ended up smashing up his laptop. Paul caught him and has passed on the laptop to DI Hardy who has had the hard drive checked. Tom has been constantly asking his father about what his mother knows and what the consequences would be for the murderer. Tom is acting as though he himself is guilty or he is protecting the real murderer.

Tom’s actions around Susan were curious. As the son of a police detective and a paramedic it would be expected that he would be well aware of the risks posed by strangers and would be unlikely to be tempted so easily to visit them. However, he still chose to go with Susan. Surely the dog in itself was not that much of an attraction. Tom apparently did not know Susan previously and Susan implied that she did not know Tom either. However, when he told her who his mother was, she was quick to pass on Danny’s skateboard, even though she knew what the consequences were for her. Was this part of her plan to implicate Nige?

Tom had an outburst at Jack Marshall’s wake where he declared that he and Danny weren't best friends and that he hated him. Was this genuine or was he just sick of being ‘The Dead Boy’s Best Friend’ in the same way that Chloe was of being ‘The Dead Boy’s Sister’. However, further evidence came from Paul Coates who said he witnessed Danny and Tom fighting in the computer class and that he feared that Tom might genuinely harm Danny.

Tom has a nastier side too - he threatened to report Paul as a child molester if the smashed laptop was passed to the police. As Hardy had already seen Paul holding Tom’s hand at the wake, this was already a credible claim, even though Paul denied any wrongdoing and said that his role was merely to comfort the boy. Tom had quite happily approached Paul for advice earlier, specifically about advice on recovering data from a hard drive, which it’s thought that he wouldn't have done if he had suspicions about Paul. We still don’t know what Paul’s cryptic comment of ‘I won’t charge you this time’ meant. It was Tom that revealed, too, that Mark used to hit Danny. Will we ever know if that was true or not?

We are only assuming that the phone that we saw Tom using was his own. Could Ellie or Tom have temporarily misplaced their own? It would be an easy enough thing for Tom, protecting them, to have deleted incriminating texts and replaced the phone somewhere in the house later on. It might even have been someone else's. It does seem unusual that Tom would have it hidden under his pillow.

It’s possible that Tom and Danny were involved in some sort of bullying campaign, perhaps one against the other, and that, when Danny died, he believed that the trail of emails and texts would implicate him and make it look like he had a motive. Perhaps he threatened to kill Danny. It would be enough to have him worrying about the implications and to want to destroy all evidence.

There is also the evidence from the pathologist. This states that Danny died by being strangled. This would take considerable strength and the pathologist clearly stated that the murderer was someone with large hands, probably a man. There was no evidence that Danny died through injury, certainly not from falling – or being pushed – from the cliff, even though the murder scene was arranged to look as though this was the case.

However, DI Hardy now has the recovered information from Danny’s laptop. And whatever he saw was clearly enough to make the pieces of the puzzle fall into place. And if it implies that Tom has been hiding evidence to protect someone, then it must be someone that he loves and respects enough to want to protect. Or someone that he fears might harm him too if he opens his mouth.

Check out our other suspect profiles here:

Watich the final episode of Broadchurch on Monday 22nd April at 9pm on ITV


  1. Also when Tom was on the stairs (in the picture above), DI Hardy approached to talk to him but Joe (Tom's father) was quick to approach them and interrupt what they were saying and to move Tom away from Hardy. Suspicious?

  2. Didn't Paul say to Tom 'I won't charge you this time' because they wre out of computer class and Tom was asking for computer advice? I think it was more of a joke.


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