I like being suckered in by the hype with Broadchurch. I eagerly await each new episode and post "BROADCHURCH" (and nothing else) to social media just as the show begins, for reasons that aren't entirely clear to me.
It's a good show, even a great show at times, but it's hard denying its success is born mostly out of a lack of many other top quality British TV series. In its first series Broadchurch provided a modern murder mystery, which when compared to boring formulaic twaddle like Midsomer Murders and Lewis felt like a breath of fresh air.
That first series was great and now series two has arrived with the intention of subverting expectations. It was generally believed when the words "Broadchurch will return" appeared at the end of series one that series two would concern a new murder, but it has instead continued to tell the same story and follow the same group of characters.
This was a sensible path to take as it prevents the show from falling into a holding pattern it would find hard to break free of. Last night however cracks started to appear in an episode that may go down as Broadchurch's first truly bad hour of television.
There were numerous flaws - not least the ending which defied all logic, had a whiff of cliché about it (her water broke? Shocker!) and made the assertion from the show's press that DI Hardy (David Tennant) is "Britain's worst police officer" seem pretty damn accurate.
It was the Sandbrook case that drove Hardy to take up a position in Broadchurch and its that same case that is coming back to haunt him as the trial of Daniel Latimer's alleged killer Joe Miller (Matthew Gravelle) begins.
Sandbrook was a disaster for Hardy, ruining his reputation, but it continues to be an omnishambles for him and the blame can only be laid at his feet.
Hardy's plan to have his suspected Sandbrook killer Lee Ashworth (James D'Arcy) and his estranged wife Claire Ripley (Eve Myles) meet was an act of understandable desperation, but his handling of it was ridiculous and just plain stupid.
Why wait out of sight in the kitchen, why did Hardy not sit outside the room and keep an eye on the door directly, and why did he hide the cameras filming the room so poorly?
Then there's the small matter of how Ashworth got away with Ripley so quickly and easily without Ripley struggling or making a sound – assuming that is, she was taken against her will, which may well not be the case.
The well-timed arrival of pregnant Beth Latimer (Jodie Whitaker) was just cliché enough to get a pass, but then her water-breaking ruined that as a distraction was provided for Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman) to miss Ashworth and Ripley leaving.
It then ends with Hardy running past Latimer and Miller in search of the missing pair, despite there being no way they would have gone that way, or could have without being noticed.
The ending wasn't the only weak point, the court scenes were underwhelming as well.
Meera Syal's casting as a judge just seems odd, and Marianne Jean-Baptiste's performance as defence lawyer Sharon Bishop was lacking to say the least. Then there are the logical inconsistencies, like how prosecuting lawyer Jocelyn Knight (Charlotte Rampling) – yes the duelling lawyers are called Bishop and Knight (BECAUSE CHESS YOU SEE) – completely failed to prepare Beth Latimer for the questioning that would come her way.
Finally there's the small matter of whether a judge would really throw out a solid confession on the evidence provided. It seemed a stretch and convenient only for the plot, as did most of the episode.
Perhaps Broadchurch's first huge misstep was just a means to set up the remaining episodes – we can only hope – but it may also be the first signs that Chris Chibnall's show should have remained a one-off.