Broadchurch Suspect Profile No. 7: Olly Stevens

The last of our individual suspect profiles is ambitious junior reporter Olly Stevens, played by Jonathan Bailey

Olly is the junior reporter on local paper The Broadchurch Echo but has ambitions to make it onto a national. He lives in the town with his mother Lucy, his dad having cleared off some time ago. We know that home life isn’t great and Lucy has some financial difficulties. Olly’s aunt is DS Ellie Miller. We know that Olly and his mum own a boat that they sometimes lend or rent out to other people. This is the boat that was found burning out at sea and that was used to transport Danny Latimer’s body to its resting place on the beach. Olly was part of the paintballing trip up the coast which also involved Nige, Mark, Danny and Tom.

We are aware of Olly’s ambition from the start. He has applied to and been rejected by all of the big national papers. He is frustrated because he knows that he needs a big story to report on but Broadchurch is the town where nothing ever happens. Olly’s employer, Maggie Radcliffe, was once nationally recognised but now, she says, they just report on the ordinary. So, did Olly kill Danny himself to get the eyes of the nation focused on the town and the eyes of the press reading his dispatches? It’s interesting that Olly broke the story through Twitter, as though inviting larger press agencies to contact him for more information.

His plan seems to be working at first with the arrival in town of Karen White from the Herald. He allies himself with Karen in the hope that her recommendation will give him the foothold he needs. He even sleeps with her, possibly a cynical act in order to cement that relationship. However, it all backfires when Karen persuades him to post a story for the Herald under her own by-line and takes all the glory for herself. Once she returns home, it’s Karen whose profile benefits from their research and Olly is left to pick over the debris and mull over the part that he played in Jack’s death.

Olly seemed very keen to report on Jack. First he saw another story of national interest, another, insider angle on the murder that could again get him noticed by the nationals. It might also have been that the focus on Jack distracted the investigators from his own role.

It turned out that Olly owned the boat that was found burning one night off the shore. The boat was used during the murder to transport Danny’s body. It was also a boat that was frequently used by many people around the town and that everyone knew its location and probably how to handle it. Olly would have been well aware of this. Also, it is suspicious that he took Karen down to have a look at it shortly after it was removed from its mooring – was this a show on his part? Did he already know that the boat had gone? And even when being questioned by Ellie, Olly was still prepared to bargain for another scoop.

It’s not known exactly what Olly’s mum Lucy is going through, but we do know that her situation frustrates and angers Olly and that it has something to do with money. Lucy claims to have seen something on the night of the murder and is offering Ellie her testimony in return for a loan. Did Lucy see something very close to home? Is she so desperate she’s prepared to sell out her own son?

Finally, we know that the hooded figure that ran from the hut the night of the break in was male (according to Ellie), probably young-ish and fit enough to scale the fence into the boatyard. Ellie also received a well-timed phone call as they searched for the fugitive that was enough to distract her and to let the suspect make their escape. Was that coincidence? We never did find out who made that call.

In his favour, Olly does seem to be eaten up with remorse over Jack’s death. But is this just a blip? Is his ambition sufficient for him to regard the death of a child as a necessary step on the road to fame and fortune.

Check out our other suspect profiles here:

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