Broadchurch Character Catch Up - A Look At The Characters At the Halfway Point

The second half of the second series of Broadchurch airs in just a couple of hours. With both the Broadchurch and Sandbrook cases still tied up in knots, with new suspects emerging and new theories arising with every episode it can be tricky to try to keep abreast of who's doing what.

Here's a rundown of some of the key characters and what they've been up too so far.

Please be aware of spoilers if you have not caught up with the story so far.

Alec Hardy (David Tennant)
After Joe Miller's confession was thrown out, Alec Hardy's evidence against him was picked apart. Hardy was forced to admit that both Ellie and Tom could have had access to the family laptop and the mobile phone too, and for a while it looked like he and Ellie might be implicated as possible suspects in Danny’s murder. As the trial progresses there’s no more that Hardy can do to influence its outcome and he focuses increasingly on Sandbrook.

Fortunately the clearly laughable suggestion of an affair between Hardy and Ellie has been shelved for now, though not before they have to go through the excruciatingly embarrassing experience of sharing a hotel bed. Despite his worsening health problems, Hardy continues his off-the-record pursuit of the Sandbrook killer, persuading Ellie to accompany him on a trip to the town to try to get the case reopened, including the mishandled hotel stay. In Sandbrook he receives some new evidence that puts another suspect in the frame. On the journey he opens up to Ellie. It’s been clear for a long time that making up for this case is Hardy’s main drive in his work. Now he tells why, how he found Pippa’s body himself and how she was the same age as his own daughter. Hardy’s private life is all tied up with this case, of course. He and his wife worked it together, it was during this investigation that her affair with a fellow officer cost them their evidence and as the trial collapsed so did his marriage. 

As Hardy spends time with his family, he’s approached by Pippa’s father, Ricky Gillespie, now in Hardy’s mind a suspect. Ricky doesn’t want the trial reopened and he wants Hardy gone. He also notes Hardy’s daughter Daisy (Hannah Rae). Does Hardy have reason to be worried?

It turns out that Hardy is not entirely innocent of those affair rumours either, it’s just that the person he has fallen into bed with is apparently Claire. Lee makes no secret of this to Ellie. Not only is it another reason for Lee to resent him, but there may be further implications for the outcome of the Sandbrook investigation.

Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman)
Although she is assigned to another force, Ellie continues to help Hardy with his unofficial investigation in Sandbrook. 

Ellie is trying to brush of rumours and accusations that she and Hardy were having an affair and used Danny Latimer’s murder as the means to get Joe out of the way. The defence were determined to paint her as someone who had the means and the motivation, if not to kill Danny herself, then certainly to use the crime to her own advantage and plant evidence to frame her husband. Ellie is dependent on her sister Lucy to play her part and give evidence. What she can do without at this stage is for Lucy to change her story and positively identify Joe...which is exactly what Lucy (Tanya Franks) does.

In spite of Lucy’s mirth and teasing, Ellie maintains that there is absolutely no attraction between her and Hardy. Hardy still relies on her closeness to Claire for information, and Ellie has made a discovery about numbers that Claire has been phoning from her mobile. At the moment the detectives are unaware of who the second phone number belongs to.

Joe Miller (Matthew Gravelle)
Joe and his defence team are still hopeful of his release. Sharon had the prosecutors on the back foot for a while, but the tables are turned on them with a couple of strong witnesses. First Lucy Stevens positively identifies Joe dumping a bundle of clothing late at night. Then a character witness from Joe’s past paints him as an unpredictably violent individual. It’s a side to his character that is news to Ellie, for certain. Even his own legal team don’t have the confidence to put him in the dock and Abbie (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) is sure that he is guilty. Fortunately for Joe, salvation seems to arrive in the unlikely form of creepy loner Susan Wright. Back in town, she has a point to prove to her estranged son Nigel, but her vendetta might play straight into a murderer’s hands.

Claire Ripley (Eve Myles)
Claire continues to be the most opaque, ambiguous character of all. She was introduced as the terrified wife as a man accused of murder, under the protection of Hardy. After bonding with Ellie over their shared experiences as the wives of men accused of terrible crimes, she fed Ellie another piece of evidence that contradicted the statement that she had given Hardy and implied that Lee had drugged her and she woke to find him cleaning the house. However, Claire is far from scared of Lee, once absconding with him and, when left without protection, inviting him in for sex.

Plenty of people are telling Claire that Lee is no good for her, but has anyone considered it might be the other way round? With Hardy and now Ricky Gillespie also allegedly involved with her, perhaps Claire is the femme fatale manipulating the men around her to cover for a terrible crime that she herself committed. After all, she has now given three different accounts of what happened on the night that the two girls disappeared. So what really did happen and who was she with?

Lee Ashworth (James D’Arcy)
Hardy’s conviction that Lee was the man responsible for the Sandbrook crime seems to be dented by the emergence of new evidence that could potentially place another suspect at the scene. Moreover, Lee has been gathering evidence to try to prove his own innocence and Hardy seems to be taking note. There is no love lost between Lee and Hardy; even were Hardy to clear his name, Lee maintains that Hardy victimised him and then slept with his wife and turned her against him. Hardy believed that he was protecting Claire from Lee and that he was hunting her down, but Lee has never tried to harm her. In fact he has behaved like a husband trying to win his wife back because he still loves her. But despite his claims of innocence, Lee cannot explain the pendant being found in his car, and flashback sequences show that the two girls were interested in him.

Meanwhile, Olly Stevens (Jonathan Bailey) has found out who Lee is and is writing a feature on him.

Sharon Bishop (Marianne Jean-Baptiste)
Sharon is less certain of her case this week as some new witnesses speak out against Joe. She can’t even rely on Joe to defend himself in court so chooses not to put him in the dock. She also has little time for some of the immature statements that her junior Abbie is coming out with and puts her firmly in her place. Joe deserves his defence, she says, perhaps thinking of her own incarcerated son. However, Sharon falls on her feet when Susan Wright’s witness statement is dramatically turned to her advantage.

Jocelyn Knight (Charlotte Rampling)
Jocelyn sees herself as a skilled prizefighter in the court and her latest round of witness statements certainly have the defence on the ropes. It can only be hoped that the about face by Susan Wright can be dismissed; otherwise another Broadchurch resident is right in the frame and Joe is likely to walk free. However, will Jocelyn’s eyesight fail her before the case comes to an end?

Mark Latimer (Andrew Buchan)
Mark has had a turn around and now has something worth living for in baby Lizzie. Unfortunately for Tom Miller this means he has called off any more of his secret meetings in Susan’s caravan and urges the boy to contact his mother.

Mark is horrified to hear his best friend being accused of Danny’s murder in court.

Beth Latimer (Jodie Whittaker)
Beth is ready to give something back to the community that supported her after the murder. She wants to set up some sort of charity or fund, but will she go with Paul Coates’ idea to support a local charity that help men with paedophiliac tendencies. Like Mark, Beth is devastated by Susan Wright’s accusations.

Tom Miller (Adam Wilson)
Tom is still refusing to have anything to do with Ellie, blaming her fro framing his dad. However, now that his meetings with Mark have come to and end and Mark has urged him to contact Ellie, will he get in touch? Tom still spends time in the caravan but the return of Susan Wright means that she needs her home back. She also stresses the importance of family.

Despite his hatred of Ellie, Tom is following the trial online via Ollie’s Twitter account.

Paul Coates (Arthur Darvill)
The local vicar is still making secret visits to Joe Miller in prison though the reason for this is unclear. Paul is understandably keen to keep these visits quiet. He would also like Joe to change his plea back to guilty. Paul is keen for Beth to support a local charity set up to help paedophiles. He says that it will make her the stronger person.

Susan Wright (Pauline Quirke)
The dark presence of Susan has returned to Broadchurch. She is there mainly to give evidence in the trial but she also wants to se her son Nige. She tells him that she’s dying of cancer. He doesn’t care and still wants nothing to do with her. Wounded by this she changes her statement in the dock and says that she saw Nige place Danny’s body on the beach.

Nigel Carter (Joe Sims)
Hot-tempered but with a heart of gold, Nige has always been another ambiguous character. He’s the best friend of the Latimers but unknown to them he was taking Danny out on Midnight poaching trips. He’s everyone’s mate, but he led the pack that hounded Jack Marshall to his death. Susan revealed that Nige is her son and his father was a paedophile and murderer, and she fears that history could repeat itself. Originally she was sure that she saw Nige on the beach. Then she conceded that it could have been another tall bald man. Now she has accused him again. As the best and most trusted friend of the Latimers, the consequences of this could blow their fragile new-found harmony apart.

Ricky Gillespie (Shaun Dooley)
The father of murdered Pippa and uncle to the missing Lisa, Ricky had until recently, an alibi for the time of the Sandbrook crime. Now ex-wife Cate says that he wasn’t actually with her as he was allegedly off with one of the bridemaids at the wedding they attended. Is this the bitter attempt of a fragile, alcoholic and grieving mother to get back at the cocksure husband who made a fool of her again and again? Or is there some truth in it. Ricky doesn’t want the case re-opened, which Hardy finds unbelievable, and his own ex-wife Tess (Lucy Cohu) seems to be backing Ricky up.

Later it emerges that Ricky is the person that Claire has been phoning? Is he the unseen male in her flashback? Could he be the one who sent her the bluebell? From the artwork in his room the answer would appear to be yes.

And, in a sinister turn, Ricky has seen Hardy with his daughter and noted that she is the same age as Pippa. Could he do her harm too?