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'Broadchurch' Sneak Peek: Tabloids Descend on Murder Case (Exclusive Video)

Executive producer Chris Chibnall talks to THR about the significance of episode five, airing Sept. 4 on BBC America.

Who killed Danny Lattimer?

British drama Broadchurch, halfway through its U.S. television run on BBC America, aims to solve the murder mystery of the 11-year-old boy that's shaken the sleepy seaside town.

Deep into the investigation, Detective Inspector Alec Hardy (David Tennant) and his partner, Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman), follow evidence and the town's suspicions -- locals have painted elderly shop owner Jack Marshall (David Bradley), whose past isn't exactly outstanding, as the next logical suspect.

The Hollywood Reporter exclusively debuts a scene from the fifth episode of the season, airing Sept. 4, which illustrates how intensely Broadchurch's hatred and disdain for Jack has grown, thereby causing a tabloid firestorm. When Jack asks Alec and Ellie for protection ("I'm under siege!" he pleads), they don't budge.

TV REVIEW: BBC America's 'Broadchurch'

For Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall, who is in the thick of planning season two, episode five delved into the role that the press plays in an ongoing murder case. "[The episode] investigated the role of the press, particularly the tabloid press in Britain, and their participation when a murder case becomes public property and part of the national conversation," Chibnall tells THR.

For research, Chibnall recalled speaking to "a number of journalists who had worked on crime cases that had become national obsessions, and they were uncomfortable with some of the ways that often developed.

"The papers feed the public interest but then the public interest demands more in the press and speculation can look like fact. We've had a number of cases in the U.K. where innocent people have had their names and faces on the front page of national newspapers as if they were killers," Chibnall says, adding that Jack's story "was very much a reflection of that."

It was important to Chibnall that time be afforded to Jack's past in order to flesh out a character who would otherwise be an easy scapegoat.

"There's nobody you can't love once you know their story," he says of a proverb that rests above his desk and from which he often finds inspiration. "I believe that to be, in the majority, true. The character of Jack is a great example of that. Everybody has a story and everybody has an emotional life and I wanted to explore that."

Who do you think killed Danny?

Broadchurch airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on BBC America.

E-mail: Philiana.Ng@THR.com
Twitter: @insidethetube