Secrets and Lies Recap and Review 3/1/15 Series Premiere
There’s something wrong about ‘Secrets and Lies’ and it’s not the murder that permeates and works as a trigger for the 10-episode-season. It’s the fact that it’s not engaging enough. The two hour season premiere promises more than it actually delivers and that’s the main problem with a show that needs to attract viewers from the very beginning.
As the episode of Secrets and Lies begins, Tom Murphy, a five-year-old boy, is found dead by his neighbor Ben Garner (Ryan Phillipe), a contractor loved by his family and friends. His wife, Christy, and their two daughters, Natalie and Abby, are by Ben’s side even though the neighbors grow more and more suspicious about him. Little by little, we understand Ben and Christy don’t have the perfect marriage and something that happened in the past is still an open wound.
Ben soon becomes a person of interest in the case thanks to the investigation of Detective Andrea Cornell (Juliette Lewis) , who makes it clear from the very beginning that she doesn’t believe Ben’s innocence claims. Actually, he doesn’t know himself if he’s innocent since he doesn’t remember where he was when the crime happened. Cornell’s suspicions are enhanced by the fact that, in the past, Ben and Jess (Natalie Martinez), Tom’s mother, had an affair and the boy was actually Ben’s son.
What doesn’t work in this show is something very annoying: In the attempt to make the whole story happens at once, writer Barbie Kligman creates a plot that puts Ben as a person of interest since he first finds Tom’s body and the neighborhood goes for it immediately. No subtleties at all. Detective Cornell is determined to prove Ben’s guilt at all costs and no other suspects are on her list.
You can even accept Ben as a suspect for the crime, but the idea of him as the only suspect is not believable. In a murder investigation anyone can be a suspect but there’s something really weird when only one person is the police’s target, even with no evidence against him. We know that there are secrets involving the Garner family and there’s more to come, but the show fails in creating an interesting hook at the end of the episodes. There’s nothing there to arouse viewers’ interest and invite them back. It lacks originality. It lacks a good script. It lacks a good cast.
Ryan Phillipe is the only exception in a very irregular cast. He plays Ben with true emotion, with feelings and and a sense of reality. It’s such a pity his colleagues are unable to do the same. Juliette Lewis is a fantastic actress, who proved her talent in movies like ‘Cape Fear’ and ‘Kalifornia’, but her portray of Detective Cornell is less than mediocre. At least for these two episodes she had the same fixed emotionless stare that gives no humanity or whatsoever to the head of a murder investigation.
A few words about the show: The main secret is the engaging plot (so secret it wasn’t even revealed to the audience) and the main lie is that you’re going to be in love with it at a first sight.