Just finished the third series tonight, and I have to say this was one of the most depressing things I've ever watched. Especially how S3 ended. Season 1 was one of the best I've ever seen. S2 wasn't nearly as good, but damnit, S3 just made me feel like I was getting curb-stomped over and over. And in the end, every bit of the fabric of the town was torn apart; the vicar resigns, the honest newspaper closes, to be replaced by a vlog and a shitty tabloid, and the Lattimers marriage is shattered, with Mark basically a zombie moving away.
Sure, I get that this might really happen, but do we, the audience, want that much depression as entertainment? And a murder mystery where a child killer gets off scot-free and never faces any kind of justice, except for feeling bad about starting over again. Boo effin' hoo for him.
And the rape story in S3 was just agonizing to watch from beginning to end.
Now for a show that wants to accurately portray the aftermath of tragedy (and I guess they did succeed at that), they lost any sense of realism in the law, and in investigations. What Joe did, as horrible as it was, was not premeditated in the slightest, the relationship wasn't sexual and it basically just happened in a horrible moment. There's no conceivable way that would not be charged or brought to trial as manslaughter. Any solicitor or barrister worth more than £1.99 would have gotten him a reduced charge. Facing murder, yeah, of course he'd plead not guilty, so why the crown wouldn't offer 10 years for a lesser charge (with half sentence in custody, typically) is ludicrous.
Likewise the investigational procedures were the usual bit of television detective horseshit. Of course every suspect speaks to investigators, every time, and the lawyers (i.e. extras) they have with them in the interrogation room never ever say a single word as they admit X and Y and Z. Riiiiiiight. "On advice of council I respectfully refuse to answer any questions at this time." Live it, love it, and learn it.
Once they had a narrow set of suspects, at least in the US (not sure about BritLaw here), they'd have had probable cause to pull phone records, and check GPS coordinates. For that matter, just pull the tower data down for a list of which subscribers pinged off it during the estimated time of the attack, then narrow the subscriber data with GPS data (realizing that in real life, GPS data is accurate to within about a metre). Many a criminal is serving a life sentence thanks to that, thankfully.