Are Broadchurch and Gracepoint the same story?

Broadchurch and Gracepoint did have a similar story as Gracepoint was an American adaptation of the English crime drama series, but the end was different.

The practice of American television shows being adapted from popular English titles is an age-old practice that not many blink at anymore.

But in the case of this particular American adaptation, Gracepoint, which was inspired by the English original titled, Broadchurch, it was a different matter.

The American adaptation not only had the same premise, but the first episode of the series had the same writer, director, and lead in the American version.

This led to confusion and arguably to the low rating of the adaptation, which has made its chances of a second season slim, while Broadchurch enjoyed three seasons.

Broadchurch vs Gracepoint: Who was the lead?

Seeing the same lead in both versions of a show is a rare occurrence in adaptations, especially those from across the pond. Broadchurch and Gracepoint is one such phenomenon.

This is as English actor, David Tennant, played the lead in both series. In Broadchurch, he played DI Alec Hardy and his partner was Olivia Colman’s DS Ellie Miller.

On Gracepoint, he played American detective Emmett Carver, while American actress, Anna Gunn, played his partner who shared the same name as the original Detective Ellie Miller.

Considering the amount of parallels between the two, it is interesting that they did not just keep Alec Hardy as Tennant’s name on both versions of the series.

Are Broadchurch and Gracepoint the same story?

Broadchurch first premiered in the UK on ITV and in the US on BBC America in 2013. Gracepoint was then introduced in 2014, which was a comparatively short turnaround in terms of making an adaptation of a series.

However, this can be attributed to the fact that the two stories were almost identical. First, in the premise of both series, our two detectives are investigating the puzzling murder of a young boy.

The difference being that the English version is set in a little town in Dorset, Broadchurch, and the American version is in a small town in California called Gracepoint.

As a result, from the first episode of Gracepoint, one of the biggest questions was the reason for the adaptation, since the first two episodes of the two shows were identical as it seemed that Gracepoint was shot beat-for-beat to emulate Broadchurch.

This was made worse by the fact that the first episode had the same writer, director, and lead actor. While the writer left after the first episode, the director remained for a few more episodes of the American spin-off.

The sentiments behind creating an almost identical series was suggested as an attempt to introduce a new American audience to the story.

Broadchurch vs Gracepoint: David Tennant defends similarities

Possibly, the person who is receiving the most attention and questions about the similarities between Broadchurch and Gracepoint was its lead actor, David Tennant, who played DI Alec Hardy/ Detective Emmett Carver.

Tennant expressed his belief in the practice by suggesting that it was to create crossover appeal for the series, stating, “I think there’s a sense, with the whole show, that if it’s not broke, you’re not really out to fix it… There’s a huge populist audience who haven’t seen it yet, and they are, I think, who we’re principally aiming at.”

Broadchurch vs Gracepoint: Endings differ

Where Broadchurch and Gracepoint differ are in the endings of the two series. Like the original, Gracepoint’s beginning is quite similar as we find out that Joe was in possession of Danny’s missing cell phone, meaning that he was the killer.

Carver brought him into the station, Joe confessed, and the back and forth resulted in Danny running, tripping, hitting his head on a rock and dying.

The story took a turn as Ellie’s son, Tom, eventually confessed to killing his friend, Ellie tried to protect him by asking Joe to take the fall. Carver eventually found out the truth but failed to get a hold of Ellie as she ignored his calls, and this is where it ended.

Broadchurch vs Gracepoint: Broadchurch wins

If the intention of Gracepoint was to introduce an American populace audience to Broadchurch, then it is safe to say that the series managed to do so successfully.

However, if Gracepoint was created to compete with the English version, then it failed dismally, as the American version was a ratings flop, so much so that it did not even get a second season.

Broadchurch, on the other hand, went on to have three seasons that aired between 2014 and 2017.