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Gracepoint, aka Broadchurch American style continues its frame by frame replication of the original ITV drama with David Tennant as the lead detective with issues in both. Some things are different, despite the fact that overall the show is the same. Tennant’s “problem” in the British version is handled by pills, in the U.S. show he has a hypodermic needle which he shakily stabs into his thigh. While this may look more dramatic, or more realistic from an American point of view, it also makes it seem that Emmett Carver could suffer from diabetes rather than a mental issue, which the other show hints at with a bit more finesse.
There are other things that just do not translate well. The coffee scene in Gracepoint, for example. In the original show, Tennant’s character makes himself a cup of tea and does not offer to make Detective Miller one, something that is considered the height of rudeness in the U.K. (it should also be pointed out that the same does apply to coffee, but that beverage is usually instant and “made” in a similar way to tea). This makes the scene between Detective’s Carver and Miller not work as well just because of this cultural attitude which does not exist both sides of the pond.
More differences cannot be put down to cultural changes but seem to be there for mysterious reasons. Regardless of whether potato chips are called crisps or not, the resulting supermarket scene is different although it continues in the same direction and does end the same way, with the village/family priest comforting Danny’s mother. However, in the United Kingdom version the clergy member is just a local figure trying to help a member of his congregation, in the American production of Gracepoint, aka Broadchurch, the good father knows the murdered boys mother and has done for some time. In this instance, the style of Danny’s father’s attack on the priest later is virtually the same which really makes no sense.
The issue of David Tennant’s difference in character behavior is also annoying. In the British television show, DI (Detective Inspector) Hardy is a bit abrupt and out-of-sorts, his American counterpart in Gracepoint is downright rude and nasty with it. It is highly doubtful that if his colleagues, or Detective Miller, learn why he acts this way whether they will empathize with the man’s prior “trauma.” It is difficult to “feel” for someone who verbally kicks his fellow workers in the teeth on a daily basis.
Both shows, Gracepoint and Broadchurch have taken the seaside murder mystery on a similar path, but FOX have decided to turn the show into a sort of participatory online game where viewers can guess who Danny’s killer is. This must be the most ill advised idea ever, because unless the series suddenly changes direction and does not follow the English series it is based on, anyone who has a few dollars in their pocket and access to Amazon Prime, can watch the ITV version and see who the killer is. Just saying…
Looking at the FOX site the audience have been voting for whom they think the boy’s killer is and thus far, no one seems to have seen Broadchurch, and they are opting to only watch the American style version of the show, Gracepoint which continues to follow the same storyline. Perhaps the accents are too difficult for U.S. ears to understand, although DI Hardy, aka Emmett Carver is fairly easy to follow in either accent, although on a personal note, it is a shame that he does not get to give the Scottish pronunciation of the word “murdered.” So far, the police are chasing down clues, the journos are following the police department’s progress and an incriminating fingerprint has just been found. One final point on the two shows, it is disappointing that the lovely, and talented, Pauline Quirke is not in the U.S. version, the Birds of a Feather actress really rocked as dog lady Susan Wright in the original.
By Michael Smith