Gracepoint Season 1 Episode 1 Review: Who Did It?

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Yes, I'm a fan of the original, Broadchurch, so there will be comparisons between the two versions.

That said, I enjoyed Gracepoint Season 1 Episode 1 every bit as much as the original. Any mentions of Broadchurch are simply meant to compare and contrast, not as a put down. I will never reveal spoilers from the original, only hint at which characters are suspicious in this version.

Sound cool? I hope you will theorize along with me and share your thoughts in the comments below.

It's been over a year since Broadchurch aired, yet watching the opening sequence of Gracepoint brought everything flooding back. It is a shot for shot recreation and the tone is eerily similar. That's ok though, if it ain't broke don't fix it right?

You've got to admit it's a bit odd when you watch (and love) a series, to revisit it with a new cast and location. It took me a minute to get used to all the new faces (well except for David Tennant) in these familiar roles.

The differences are subtle, for example Danny (last name now Solano) doesn't work a paper route. Instead he's involved with the local wildlife club. In both versions, that lunchbox close up warns us that something is wrong.

One of the scenes I recall vividly from the original is Danny's father, Mark, walking through town. It's one long uninterrupted shot and highly effective in introducing some of the townsfolk of the series. All of whom will be a suspect in the murder of his son.

During this stroll, Mark bumps into Ellie Miller and her family. Ellie is now played by the amazingly talented Anna Gunn. I thought I would have a tough time accepting anyone else in the role Olivia Coleman originated, but Gunn won me over right away. She's brilliant!

Watching Broadchurch, one of the first characters I found suspicious was Mark's apprentice from his plumbing company. It's no secret the killer in Gracepoint will be different. The creative team has said as much. So perhaps we should keep a close eye on Vince?

It's interesting that David Tennant's Detective Alec Hardy is now Emmett Carver in Gracepoint. Most of the last names have been changed to more American versions, but why rename the guy altogether? Perhaps it's to further distinguish Tennant's character from the original? Aside from the perfectly executed American accent of course.

Carver's introduction is familiar, but somehow the Detective feels different despite sharing the same face with Hardy. Tennant recently spoke about how the two roles feel different in his bones in a Q&A.

Carver and Miller seem like they're going to get along better here than their U.K. counterparts. Call it a hunch.

When we check back in with Danny's mother, she's told her son missed school and naturally panic sets in. Ellie's son, Tom, is questioned about his best friend's whereabouts but he has no clue.

That all too familiar traffic jam and slow-mo run down to the beach doesn't get any easier to watch. Beth's situation is heartbreaking no matter what version of this story you're experiencing.

Not to mention seeing Danny's body lying face down on the beach, devastating. Tennant's reaction sells the horror. Honestly, I think he could play this guy in seven versions and it would never get old.

Ellie approaches the scene of the crime...

Ellie: I know this boy, He lives here. He's my son's best friend.
Carver: Calm down.
Ellie: You don't understand. I know this boy.
Carver: Enough, shut it down.
Ellie: Shut it down?
Carver: You're working a case now. Carver...
Ellie: I know who you are. You took my job.
Carver: Wow you want to do that now?

After sharing all she knows about the victim with carver, Ellie assures him they're not at a suicide spot. By the way, how intimidating is that cliff? My reaction was the same as Carver's, no fence? Seriously?

Beth arrives at the scene, crosses under the police tape and runs down to the beach. Ellie and Carver quickly restrain her but not before she spots Danny's sneakers.

Personally, I can not even fathom what a mother or any family member in that situation would be feeling. I don't know that I'd be able to handle it. How about you?

I can tell you by this point (in both versions) I was absolutely hooked. The characters are just so well written and the emotions so raw, that in the pilot's first 10 to 12 minutes you're simply drawn into this world.

Since a crime this heinous is unheard of in Gracepoint, the press jump on the case. Ellie's nephew, Owen, ends up causing her plenty of grief by leaking the victim's name. I wonder why Twitter didn't jump at the product placement opportunity?

Quick observation... Kevin Zegers' portrayal of Owen was an easier sell for me than the original. Not that Jonathan Bailey was bad as Olly Stevens, but he came across more like a shy nephew than a cunning journalist.

Also loved how nastily Carver reacts toward the journalist. Much more American Ha!

The pacing of the pilot is spot on. There's no need to drag things along, we quickly learn the rock fall around the body was faked. The angle of the body way too arranged. Yep, we're dealing with a homicide people.

Blunt force trauma to the head was the cause of death and Danny was facing his attacker. This is probably going to be difficult for Ellie to process moving forward. Chances are the boy knew his killer.

At the Solano home, Carver and Ellie break the tragic news. Though everyone's a suspect, the family reacts as anyone would to this awful news. Personally, Mark and Beth are not on my list of suspects. Mark's scene with Danny's body was heartbreaking. What do you think?

Beth mentions Danny's wildlife group, instantly making Jack Reinhold a suspect. I feel Reinhold's way too obvious a suspect, so he's off my list for now as well.

The chief asks Carver to hand the case over to Ellie. Apparently he had some issues with a case in the past and moved to Gracepoint to lie low. The specifics of this from the original escapes me, which means it's not terribly relevant to the show. If anything, it's probably meant to paint Carver as slightly unstable.

Ultimately, Ellie discovers security camera footage of Danny skateboarding down the street. Where was he going? Where's the skateboard and his cell phone?

We know Ellie's son, Tom, had the phone. He erased all of Danny's text messages but why? He also wiped the entire contents of his hard drive. What was on there? It's clear Tom knows something critical.

Beth: Promise me, Ellie, because I don't know your boss. You and me we go back. The boys go back. I'm relying on you to catch them.
Ellie: I promise you Beth. I promise.

So of the folks we've met in the premiere who's your primary suspect? Danny's parents? Ellie's husband or son? Jack Reinhold? What about Mark's apprentice, Vince, or Chloe's boyfriend? Let's not forget the creepy dog lady or the priest that appeared in the final montage.

You're up dear readers, hit the comment section below with your thoughts on the Gracepoint premiere. Let me know who your suspects are and grade the installment below!

Want to check out the premiere again? Don't worry, you can watch Gracepoint online right here via TV Fanatic.

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Episode 1 Review

Editor Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
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Rating: 3.9 / 5.0 (16 Votes)
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Gracepoint Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

Ellie: I know this boy, He lives here. He's my son's best friend.
Carver: Calm down.
Ellie: You don't understand. I know this boy.
Carver: Enough, shut it down.
Ellie: Shut it down?
Carver: You're working a case now. Carver...
Ellie: I know who you are. You took my job.
Carver: Wow you want to do that now?

Beth: Promise me, Ellie, because I don't know your boss. You and me we go back. The boys go back. I'm relying on you to catch them.
Ellie: I promise you Beth. I promise.