The first episode of the second series of Broadchurch aired on Monday night and it became clear that a large part of this series' storyline is going to centre on DI Alec Hardy's previous case in Sandbrook. So what do we know so far about Sandbrook and the case that left Hardy branded 'the worst cop in Britain' by the press?
In the first series of Broadchurch we discovered that Hardy had moved to the seaside town after working on a case of two missing young girls in his previous location Sandbrook. The investigation, and Hardy, had attracted negative publicity from the press, after the case had collapsed due to police negligence.
In Sandbrook Hardy's DS was his then wife. A vital piece of evidence, a pendant worn by one of the young victims, was stolen from her car whilst she was meeting a man she was having an affair with and, rather than let her take the flack for the case crumbling, Hardy gallantly decided to take the blame for her.
Whilst investigating the murder of 11 year old Danny Latimer in Broadchurch Hardy continued to be haunted by his former case with flashbacks and we were under the impression that he had moved to Broadchurch to escape the trauma of Sandbrook only to be faced with yet another horrific child murder case on his first day on the job.
The second series opener revealed even more about the Sandbrook case when we learnt that Hardy had actually taken the job in Broadchurch to help hide and protect Claire Ashworth, a key witness in the Sandbrook trial. He has moved Claire to a house in Broadchurch seven months previously, in what he called an unofficial witness protection scheme, after he had persuaded her to give evidence against her husband Lee Ashworth who Hardy believes murdered 12 year old Pippa and 19 year old Lisa.
Explaining the history to Ellie Miller he said:
"There were two girls,cousins,Lisa Newberry, 19, was babysitting for her 12-year-old cousin Pippa. Pippa’s parents were away for the night at their friend's wedding. They came back the next day and both girls were gone. The 12-year-old, Pippa, her body was found three days later. The 19-year-old, Lisa, officially she’s still missing. Our main suspect was a man called Lee Ashworth. But he had a solid alibi."
The alibi was Claire, his wife who had told police that she was with Lee all night. However she wasn't she was with a friend and Hardy had guessed that she was lying. He managed to persuade Claire to tell the truth and give evidence against her husband, but the trial folded and he walked free and now he's tracked Hardy and Claire down to Broadchurch.
Hardy is still convinced that Lee Ashworth, the next door neighbour of the girls, is their killer and what's more he has a plan to finally bring him to justice. He just can't do it alone. He needs Ellie's help.
"I’ve got a plan. I can solve Sandbrook. And I can still get justice for those families. Claire's the key. She needs someone like you. And you’re not exactly overloaded with friends right now. Please. Please Miller. I need to know that I got Sandbrook right in the end. I can’t do it on my own."
Broadchurch continues on Monday 12th January at 9pm on ITV and 10pm on TV3.