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Why David is top of the cops

By Jane Graham

Published 11/03/2013

We've got used to seeing the battered, bloody cadavers of young women being cut up in the autopsy room on crime dramas, and though it rankles a tad after the 50th corpse, some shows are so compelling I must admit, I keep watching anyway.

Intrigue, fear, grim-faced cops haunted by their failed marriages – crime and TV go together like Ant 'n' Dec. But this week we saw a different approach to the cop show – how touching and thought-provoking to view the beautifully written and supremely acted Broadchurch.

No stomach-churning close-ups of broken bodies, no flashbacks of brutal attacks – the first episode wasn't even about cops, but about pain and loss and parents' inability to cope with the slow-motion assault on their senses triggered by the news of a child's death. Created by the team behind the equally haunting Busby Babes drama United, this sets a new bar for grown-up TV thrillers. It even comes with a free, extra-grizzled David Tennant. Bravo.

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