Gracepoint, like its British successor Broadchurch, is named after the remote town where a young boy is murdered and several of its inhabitants become suspects. Unlike Broadchurch, though, the American reincarnation does not feel like a show defined by its setting. With the exception of a few establishing shots that show the majesty of the sea, one of the main issues with Gracepoint is how little of a personality or even an atmosphere the town creates within this drama.
This lack of personality is not a large hindrance on Gracepoint, but it shows how much feeling and tone the show lacks, especially in comparison to Broadchurch or any other murder-mystery with a small town setting. There are a few moments on the pier, yet the rest of this third episode stays indoors, in the police station where Ellie and Carver’s power struggle plays out and in the homes of people who may be connected with the deepening mystery. On the other hand, the list of suspects is growing and there are a lot of potential suspects by the hour’s end.
Among the most wanted list is Vince Novik (Stephen Louis Grush), Mark’s plumbing apprentice. He is a man who could know the right way to fix up a crime scene to make it look spotless. He is annoyed by the presence of a reporter, while he also tells Ellie that he was out on the night of Danny’s disappearance getting his mother her medicine. Vince’s mother has dementia, though, and so she is an unreliable witness. Another seemingly good possibility is Susan Wright, the stubborn older lady who gave Mark the keys so he can have a private soirée with hotel owner Gemma. Susan’s bitter tone to Ellie and Carver and her refusal to let them inside – the dog doesn’t like company – was so fierce, that it is a tad surprising that neither of the detectives thought of grabbing a search warrant back at the station.
Furthermore, a few mysterious clues pop up this week. There are a few drops of blood on Mark’s boat. Tom Miller (Ellie’s boy) tells Carver that Mark hit Danny, perhaps on more than one occasion. Forensics experts find a phone number on a piece of paper in Danny’s sweatshirt. Surprisingly, though, for a show with such a vast listing of potential suspects and clues, the most compelling drama comes from the work battles between Ellie and Carver. Ellie is still letting her past relationships with the Gracepoint residents block her objectivity. She is numb by how much Carver wants to dig into the Solano family – both Mark, who initially keeps his alibi on the night of his son’s disappearance close to his chest, and sister Chloe, who had access to cocaine that could be tied up with the case.