Gracepoint: Did Fox's Murder Mystery Arrest You? Plus: Exclusive Video!

gracepoint-premiere-recap-fox

It may be the setting for the murder of a 12-year-old boy, but Fox’s Gracepoint — both the show, and the fictional Oregon town where it’s set — is positively postcard picturesque.

The tail of a whale rises serenely above a dark Pacific wave. Wet leaves blow across a deserted main street dotted with quaint shops. If you close your eyes, you can almost smell the salty air, hear a gull crying overhead.

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You’d almost want to book a week at the local B&B, if it weren’t for the fact that pretty much every person you meet — from the old man who rents kayaks to the adorable moppet with a dinosaur poster on his wall — might be a vicious killer.

Here’s the setup of the series (based on the British hit Broadchurch): The body of a young boy named Danny Solano is found on a beach at the foot of a cliff (a cliff where we’d seen him standing in the dead of the prior night — blood dripping from his fingertip). On the case? Det. Ellie Miller (the absolutely stellar Anna Gunn), who’s just come back from vacation and learned she didn’t get a promised promotion, and the newcomer who scored job during her absence, Emmett Carver (David Tennant). Ellie barely has time to mourn her professional setback: The victim turns out to be her son’s best friend — and since this is the first murder she’s ever worked, she reluctantly takes her cues from the gruff, unlikable Carver, who left his last job under a cloud of scandal from which he was apparently exonerated.

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Most of what unfolds over the hour is, on its surface, crushingly sad: Danny’s mom stumbles across the crime scene in a stroke of horrific coincidence; Danny’s father weeps over his son’s corpse in the morgue and begs his forgiveness for not being there to protect him; Ellie breaks the news to her pale son Tom; Danny’s sister brings his stuffed monkey to the crime scene where it becomes the start of a makeshift shrine.

Delectably, Carver tells Ellie when they arrive at the Solano house for the first time that she can’t be the one to break the news to the family — that instead, she must silently observe the people she knows so well, and keep an eye out for any behavior that’s in any way out-of-the-ordinary. Carver’s words serve as a template for the audience, too, putting us on edge to peculiarities and inconsistencies.

The three most suspicious acts of from Episode 1?

* Little Tom, processing news of his closest friend’s death, asking his mother if he can be alone, and then promptly deleting his text history (all of ’em from the deceased) and then wiping out his computer hard drive.

* When Danny’s mom asks her plumber husband where he was the night of Danny’s death, his lack of specificity — “I told you, I was working” — is the opposite of comforting. My guess is the dude is having an affair. Also, how cool was that long tracking shot of Michael Peña walking through downtown Gracepoint and introducing us to so many suspects? If we’re going down the rabbit hole for a sec, I’ll take a bet that one of the folks introduced in said shot will turn out to be the guilty party. Yes, I wrote this sentence before Fox provided TVLine with exclusive video of the exact same scene (embedded below) — viewed through the very paranoid hashtag #SuspectEveryone.

* A weathered older woman with a dog (Jacki Weaver) always seems to be skulking around the crime scene.

There are dozens of other red herrings and oddities swimming around in Gracepoint‘s murky sea — but they’re all presented with a quietude that borders on the mundane, and that only serves to make them all the more suspicious.

But what did you think of the Gracepoint premiere? Any early theories about who killed Danny? What did you think of Gunn and Tennant in the lead roles? And will you tune in for Episode 2? Grade the premiere in our poll below, then sound off in the comments!


Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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60 Comments
  1. Tran says:

    I give Gracepoint a C but I don’t know if it’s going to lived up to the hype of Broadchurch on BBC. Anna Gunn was so great as Skylar White on Breaking Bad.

  2. Cobra says:

    Never saw Broadchurch, so this was fresh to me. I loved it.

  3. BrightLight says:

    For a remake that’s supposed to have a different killer in the end, congrats on showing me the same exact scenes I saw in Broadchurch’s pilot except in American English. Even the dad’s walk through town was almost step for step the same as the original.

    That being said, I’ll keep watching just to see where they decide to take their version.

    • Joey says:

      That’s what people said about the pilot of Shameless, too, and look at how different that is going into season 5.

      • M3rc Nate says:

        lol you’re aware Gracepoint is a one season series right? It wont have that many seasons to start finding its own way and changing things up…this first episode being basically shot for shot is very indicative of what we are gonna see all season long until the end, assuming (i believe they said they are) they reveal the killer and its not who was the killer on Broadchurch (which sucks, though it would suck to watch a show with the same killer as the original show, the original shows killer being who he/she was had SO much impact on the main character(s) that just cant happen if someone else is the killer, so to change it will mean theres less impact…that will suck.)

        • Eddie G says:

          actually, BBC is planning a sequel to Broadchurch, with Tennant back as that version of the character

        • will says:

          They said earlier on when releasing that the first 3 episodes would be similar if not exact. Then after that it would go in a different direction. So perhaps with that it will ease your ill thoughts on how they approach it.

          • Newo says:

            People who have seen the first 7 episodes of this (which is all fox sent out right now) say that the first 6 are nearly identical before they start to go in different directions. So anyone having seen Broadchurch who wants to watch Gracepoint should be prepared for that.

        • Charissa29 says:

          Broadchurch was so well done, and while I think Anna Gunn is a fine actress, Olivia Colman was amazing. You are right that the killer was remarkably impactfull. Broadchurch was great, but I don’t want to re-watch the show with lesser actors. I mean come on, the same shots? Just watch Broadchurch.

          • LJT says:

            I agree 100% with you. Olivia Colman was fantastic in Broadchuch. I loved Broadchurch but I found that there were storylines and characters that they really never developed The reporter/nephew Ollie in BC him and the reporter from the other newspaper really didn’t have a point, the psychic didn’t have a point nor did the whole thing with D.I, Hardy and his heart problem. Hopefully in GP they expand or eliminate those storylines. I’ll probably stick with GP b/c I want to see just who the killer is.

    • Faythe says:

      the first episode is written by Chris Chibnall who is the brains behind Broadchurch

  4. I think there is a corporation behind the murder – did you see the oil spill on the whale’s tail?

  5. jmcg says:

    I know its a remake of Broadchurch, but the similarities to The Killing and the tag line “who killed Rosie Larsen” make this a probably won’t watch for me. Its just too soon.

  6. Drew says:

    Never saw the original, but this was really good. Solid writing and good cast.

  7. Tahonia says:

    I’m thinking the priest did it this time, especially if they keep the motive the same. But, the police chief wanted the inexperienced Miller to take lead rather than the experienced Carver. So maybe the police chief did it! I love guessing! It just better not be Miller’s husband. Chibnall isn’t Moffat. Surely he won’t lie!

  8. CapaldiForDemigod says:

    For me, it’s “well done, but why bother?” Broadchurch did it just fine. To remake it all Americanized feels pointless. Chris Chibnall should have learned his lesson when the last season of Torchwood got all Americanized and dreadful. Maybe Jack Harkness will help find the killer, and we can call the show Torchgracechurchpointbroadwood. (Oh, and the town is not in Oregon, Michael Slezak. It’s in California.)

    • M3rc Nate says:

      Yeah, its really sad to me there is some issue (center of the country?) that prevents Americans from just watching a British show straight up. I mean…its not like Broadchurch was made in 1995 and so a remake/American refresh is in good taste…..why couldnt they just air Broadchurch on Fox as is? Besides the accents there were basically no cultural differences…

      Im also not really a fan of “the ending is different on Gracepoint”, not because I want to see the same ending over again, but because the ending was perfection, the person that did it? How can you have that huge of an impact by changing the killer to someone else? You cant.

      • Alex says:

        The original show already aired on BBC America and flopped. Why would Fox pay to air a repeat? The real money is if they make their own version and it’s a success. If it flops again, oh, well, most new series fail.

        • M3rc Nate says:

          But if Gracepoint is a hit….why couldnt Fox have bought to air Broadchurch and it be a hit on Fox? Why do they have to “remake” it basically identically but with American accents? Are we really so weird that a show wont be accepted cause its a show filled with British accents?

          Yes…it was a flop…cause it was on BBC-A. Like i said, if Gracepoint ends up being a hit on Fox, then Broadchurch should be able to be a hit on Fox as well. Why remake instead of just buy the show from the BBC and air it on Fox?

          Lol there will not be that much money in a one season series. Its not like it will get 20 mil viewership numbers or something.

          • Leah says:

            I imagine that TV airing rights are not as simple as “just buying it” from BBCA. And what would be the point? It’s not about being “so weird,” it’s that Fox would never rerun a show that has already aired on another channel (and barely a year ago, to boot), even if that channel was a niche cable network, because that would be stupider than remaking the show. And even if it hadn’t already aired on BBCA, commercial networks still wouldn’t air it. If they did, Sherlock and Downton wouldn’t have landed on PBS. Even if the only difference is that they’ve replaced the word Broadchurch with Gracepoint, the point is that they can still call it new. If Gracepoint’s a hit, it’ll be Fox’s hit, not ITV’s. Did they have to remake it at all? No. Did they have to remake it in order to air as a fall show on Fox? Yes.

      • Deena says:

        Your second paragraph is exactly how I feel. My mom didn’t watch BC and liked the GP premier. I feel like I just want her to watch BC.

        I’m guessing that not every cable system carries BBC America which is a shame.

    • Alex says:

      *rolls eyes* You don’t understand WHY an American version was made.

  9. JeffDJ says:

    Having watched the excellent UK version, this felt very déjà vu to me. Production values are great, but I just felt like I’d already seen it. I know this version will have a different ending, so maybe I’ll just tune in to the final episode to see how it all wraps up.

  10. Zenobia Jackson says:

    The actors playing the boy’s family (especially the father and sister) were so good…they were just heartbreaking. I really enjoyed the first episode.

  11. tahina45 says:

    I saw Broadchurch on Amazon, money well spent. And about Gracepoint, well, David Tennant and Anna Gunn together on my screen, I want to say: Gahhhhh!

  12. Rick Katze says:

    Gracepoint clearly resembled Broadchurch in the first episode. That they have said that the killer will be different means that things should start changing probably in the second episode.

    The cameras panned on least 8-12 (I didn’t take notes to count them) potential suspects.

    Well done first episode. Hopefully the quality will continue to meet the standard set by Broadchurch.

    Tennant was very strong in his role. Not surprising the American female detective was more attractive than her counterpart but she did a very nice job. Hadn’t seen her before which Is why I don’t remember the names.

  13. Dekage says:

    Had seen Broadchurch and tried to watch Gracepoint but perhaps it was too soon to move on because I found it jarring. Male Lead played by the same Actor, fine, but the “pretty-ing up” of the Female Lead, was insulting. Have heard the ending is different in this version but I really hope that is only a rumor because the Broadchurch ending was crushingly perfect.

    • Kay L says:

      I feel the same way. I’d love to watch it, but it feels way too soon. One of the reasons I love British tv shows (other than the fact that they focus on quality over quantity) is that the actors are generally normal people. Look at the one show that has been a smashing success in the US- Downton. Filled with gorgeous people. But shows like Broadchurch, Miranda, or Gavin and Stacey aren’t given a chance.

    • kate'shomesick says:

      I think it’s a little insulting to suggest 1. that Olivia Coleman is in any way unattractive (which she is NOT)….and 2. that Anna Gunn was cast because she’s pretty (which she is) and not because she’s a great actress (which she definitely is…). SO there are different views on what is insulting- right.

  14. JAO says:

    Like Broadchurch better.

  15. Gaia says:

    Stating the obvious, which is that nothing can be better than Broadchurch, I was a little worried about this remake. But I really loved it. It’s really faithful to the British series, yet it has its own originality. And David Tennant is great (as usual).
    Looking forward to seeing who did it.

  16. Foshi says:

    This show was copied shot by shot in line by line every scene was the same as broad church. Even with all of that it was still lesser in every way. The acting wasn’t as good the score was unimpressive. Was missing the beauty in the majesty of broad church. Watch the original people much more worth your time

  17. Angus says:

    American TV ripping off another brit series. Typical.

  18. Todd says:

    I gave the show an F. Having seen Broadchurch, this was just disappointing. I see no point in continuing.

  19. Michelle says:

    The fictional town Gracepoint is supposed to be in California, not Oregon. There were a couple of shots with flag poles with the California state flag. Also, they mentioned that it’s supposed to be half way up the coast from San Francisco to the state border with Oregon when the reporter from the San Francisco Globe was asking to be assigned to the story.

  20. jack says:

    For the love of God. So What! It’s a remake, every Country does it, if you don’t like, don’t watch it

  21. Jerri says:

    The first episode seemed like an Americanised version of Broadchurch. Dialogue and everything copies scene by scene. Could’ve just flushed the money that went into production for this one down the toilet.

  22. Given how much of this episode was a shot for shot remake of Broadchurch its hard for me to gauge. While they did the shot for shot stuff pretty damn well and the leads are pretty solid something about the dialogue felt a bit weaker. Dunno if its just I’m used to hearing the lines with British tones or if they actually changed the wording but some of it felt off. Still, gonna stick with it, just hope they zag a bit instead of zigging the whole way.

  23. Tracey says:

    I think FOX is handing us a line of bulls**t. I see this ending exactly how the British version (which was awesome btw) ended. I don’t know what all the fuss is about Anna Gunn, I thought she was awful in the premiere. David Tennant was stellar as always and Jackie freakin Weaver!!! She’s amazing I can’t wait for her scenes. I think the network is telling us it will have different ending so people who have seen the British version will still tune in. I just don’t see that happening. For it to have a different ending, it will have to have a different killer and therefore takes away the suspense and the brilliance of this particular story. Another killer makes no sense. I still think people should watch, it was wonderfully done. The actress playing Danny’s mom was great! Honestly people keep watching if you haven’t seen the British version it’s really really good. If you have seen the original, I say stay tuned and see what happens in the American version. It’s kind of funny though that we call it the American version when it’s filmed entirely in Canada and is fill with Canadian actors!

  24. M says:

    I just didn’t feel the intensity of Broadchurch. But then again, I’d watch David Tennant reading the classifieds.

  25. Delante says:

    I saw Broadchurch and I loved it…I can’t bear to put myself thru almost a plot point by plot point American version. I shall pass

  26. Joey Padron says:

    Like it. It was good. Will keep watching until White Collar’s final season starts then DVR rest of episodes.

  27. Tahonia says:

    Chibnall had written that he was totally torn as to who to make the killer be when he did Broadchurch, and had considered several ways to go. He was probably thrilled when asked to do a remake with an alternate ending….

  28. Tammy says:

    What got me into Broadchurch was the ability to marathon the first 4 or 5 episodes. I think I will just keep this on the DVR and try that with Gracepoint. Might make it easier than waiting week to week and then comparing it to the original

  29. Pat says:

    This reminded me of a wannabe “THE KILLING”. The most annoying character in this start up episode for me, was Carver. The man acted like a jerk. Anyway, I am not watching this live I had it on my DVR, so I will give it another episode before I pull the plug on it.

  30. Sara says:

    I’m not really feeling Anna Gunn in the role of Ellie. Olivia Coleman was much more nuanced with the character’s neuroses. Anna Gunn is coming off as all-over-the-place crazy, incompetent, and borderline insubordinate.

  31. Hannah JF says:

    Well that was awful. Take a good show with compelling performances and a nuanced script and then make it drab, dreary and get actors to over emote on demand. Anna Gunn is the only one to come out of this in any good way. I like her character fine and she is trying to not be Olivia Colman. David Tennant’s American accent is painfully bad but if this was the worst thing about his performance, he could be forgiven. His delivery if flat, he looks bored with the whole thing and has no subtlety – just yelling and hair tossing. Afraid to say that the Doctor Who gloss has really worn off – simply terrible acting by him. This is on track to be the biggest bomb of the Fall season. Only Gunn and Tennant completists will be watching the rest of the series. Anybody else would have switched off halfway through this tedious and unnecessary remake. Just go get the Broadchurch DVD folks, don’t bother with this. F for complete fail for me.

  32. Marilyn Painter says:

    Saw Broadchurch and watched Gracepoint, liked them both. Just wish David Tennant would have used his accent and everybody else just gone with their own voices. He could have moved here and have been brought in or something. But, good, good acting.

  33. RS says:

    I thought it was really slow and dull. I love Tennant, but not his American accent or blunt character, and none of the other actors/characters interested me at all. Not feeling compelled to watch any further.

  34. nola says:

    I really love this show , I love a show with a who done it story line and you all are doing it well. Reminds me of the killing.which I loved . So thanks alot for a good story line.