Out-of-town DI Alec Hardy investigates the mysterious death of an 11-year-old boy in an idyllic seaside community, aided by local girl DS Ellie Miller, who has her work cut out dealing with her unyielding new boss. Meanwhile, the sadness of losing their child consumes Beth and Mark Latimer as they and the other residents of Broadchurch try to cope with the media frenzy surrounding the case.
The detectives have their work cut out identifying key suspects, especially as the location of Danny's murder is still a mystery, but Miller discovers some suspicious items taped under the victim's bed and in his sister Chloe's room, which could help them get closer to the truth. Meanwhile, Hardy finds an isolated clifftop hut that arouses his curiosity, the Latimers struggle to cope with their grief and the Rev Paul Coates decides to address the local media.
Fingerprints at the crime scene lead DI Hardy and DS Miller to a shocking suspect in Danny's murder - his father. When questioned, Mark explains he had been there recently to repair a boiler, but his alibi for the night of the murder quickly falls apart. Meanwhile, Steve Connelly approaches Beth claiming to have a message - from her dead son.
Local journalist Olly investigates Jack, the newsagent for whom Danny did a paper round - and discovers a suspicious previous conviction. Meanwhile, Beth and Mark try to get more national press coverage of their son's death in an attempt to find his killer, and Hardy goes for dinner with Miller and her husband, but blacks out in his hotel room later that evening.
Miller realises the evidence Jack handed over does not tally with her knowledge of Danny's possessions, while Olly and Karen work together on an article about the newsagent's past. However, the next morning when they read the paper, they discover the piece has been rewritten to make Jack look like a sex offender - and the police can offer little protection.
Files are piling up at the police station but, with no fresh leads or witnesses, the case is stalling and morale is low. Hardy is stunned when he's told to scale back resources and feels his hope of catching Danny's killer is slipping away. However, at the Broadchurch Echo, Maggie grows determined to solve a mystery that has taken a very personal turn for her. How will her efforts affect the official investigation?
Following recent events, Miller is more isolated than ever before as she tries to find out what happened at the clifftop hut. Meanwhile, the police are circling Susan as Nige grows increasingly desperate for her to leave Broadchurch. What is she hiding? And which members of the local community hold the key to Danny's death?
After weeks of speculation, the Broadchurch community struggles to come to terms with the truth about the events surrounding Danny Latimer's death, and the revelations threaten to prevent the dead boy from being allowed to rest in peace.