Small wonder Hardy conceded last week that this case made him “ashamed to be a man”. I know how he feels. Whether or not any of the suspects below turns out to be guilty, none can demonstrate clean hands or clear consciences.
Trish’s flashback, perhaps inevitably, raised more questions than answers, and there’s no smoking gun as yet, but Chris Chibnall’s grasp of the narrative remains sure. Next week, expect one or two names to be struck off the list as the net tightens.
Here's a rundown of all the Broadchurch suspects...
Ian Winterman (Charlie Higson)
Is it weird to ask your daughter how your estranged wife is doing in the aftermath of a sex attack, or weirder not to? That seems to be the crux of Ian’s difficulties at the moment. That, and the laptop. While Ian’s new partner Sarah (Charlotte Lucas) admitted to sending the incriminating text to Trish (before, she says, she knew about the rape), there’s no evidence that Ian knew she had done it. So why was he so desperate to reclaim the computer? And what does he want Leo Humphries to erase?
His superficial affability clearly disguises a darker side, especially after a few drinks – different people have recalled him having blazing rows with both Trish and Sarah at the party. And the blackout remains unresolved, as does the identity of the person who called Trish’s name from near the place she was attacked. Still the prime suspect.
Jim Attwood (Mark Bazeley)
Cath confirmed what we all suspected – that her marriage to Jim was “loveless”. She went further, however: his business was struggling and his whereabouts were unclear between, yes, 11.30pm and 1.30am on the night in question.
The latter claim could be a stitch-up from an understandably furious wife, but his confession, forced by DNA evidence, that he had slept with Trish on the morning of the party, rounded off a bad week for Broadchurch’s mechanic. Even this disclosure probed problematic. “If I wanted to have sex with her [Trish], I would – and I did,” Jim protested, but rape is about control, not sex. Still very much in the frame.
Clive Lucas (Sebastian Armesto)
A quiet week for Lucas Creep (as Adrian Mole used to call his mum’s lover), although relations with his stepson Michael clearly haven’t improved, judging from their frosty coming together at the beach football.
Ed Burnett (Lenny Henry)
“Ed would spend all night with Trish if he could,” reckoned Cath. He certainly seemed genuinely worried about her, pursuing/hassling Beth Latimer for information which she, with great professionalism, refused to provide. But is his interest out of friendship or prurience, concern or self-preservation? Their relationship seems innocent enough – the silent gestures at the party and the beach football felt genuine and touching – but his face darkened when Cath whisked Trish away at the party, and his beef with Jim remained unresolved.
Leo Humphries (Chris Mason)
One to watch: this former pupil of Ian Winterman has a superior attitude and a nasty manner – remember how creepy he was with Miller about the fishing twine? Other than that, little to report.
Aaron Mayford (Jim Howick)
A brand new suspect courtesy of Horrible Histories’ horribly convincing Howick – yet another predominantly comic actor given a prominent role. Married-with-kids IT consultant Mayford served 16 months for rape but remains unrepentant (he still claims the sex was rough, but consensual); he was fishing alone for the whole night of Trish’s assault, has posters of scantily clad women on his garage walls, and makes grimly off-colour gags about sex, women, voyeurism…
Throw in an odd little encounter with Katie Harford (did they know each other?) and you have a very nasty piece of work. In fact, he’s such a cliché that he simply has to be innocent. Of Trish’s rape, that is – I’d wager he’ll be nailed for the rape of Laura Benson, the woman who came forward at the end of the episode. Such a slimeball will surely face a comeuppance.
Hard to identify much in the way of incriminating evidence against most of these. There was a brief cameo for ‘Chas the chef’, who snapped at Trish for coming into his kitchen at the party, while the owner of the venue continued to give good Bewildered Old Duffer, failing to keep track of cricket bats that could have used to knock Trish out.
Being stressed at work or vague and absent-minded doesn’t make you a criminal, though. Mark Latimer is also dropping down to this list: his obsessive focus on justice for Danny (apart from hiring a PI to track down Joe Miller, so expect a showdown there), probably clears him of involvement in the other major story of the series.
The one exception to these sketchy rap sheets, however, was Michael Lucas. Having kept his suspension from school a secret from his mother (she reckons he’s “drifting away”), it’s hard not to feel that he’s seen something. Miller speculated that the bright light Trish recalled during the rape could have been a phone. His phone? His video?