Secrets and Lies
Channel Five first aired:23/09/14
“Ben Grundelach is an ordinary, everyday family man who finds the body of a murdered four year old boy. Now everyone on the street is a suspect and Ben is shocked that he is at the top of the list”.
Some notes and dialogue.
So the introduction is promising in that the scene is beautifully filmed, drenched in blue and greys and an onward travelling shot over a blue river.
Detective Sergeant Ian Corneille to Ben:
“I received your notes from the officers at the scene..”
“Quite a shock?”
He looks at Ben.
Ben: (making tea)
“You want milk?”
“How did you know he was dead?”
“Why do they have to take my clothes?”
“I am sure it is just procedure..”
So I am liking the impassivity of the Detective. He is scarily impressive and appears highly suspicious at the same time. Of Ben.
So there is an elderly couple, white haired, lively and curious as to the goings on. Then there is Ben, his wife and two children. Plus Ben’s friend who is living with Ben’s family in the pool house or cabin. The family of the victim as well of course. They are all suspects.
(music playing softly)
It is dark. It rains. The house is incredibly yet understatedly stylish. Plus Ben’s house is in a lovely tropical garden. With a tiled swimming pool in the back.
Another couple on the street appear. Looking a little bit shady. Fidgeting near the bins.
I like that people say things like: “shit head”.
Another suspect appears. Malcolm. Ben’s brother-in-law. ( i think)
Vanessa is the name of the neighbour.
Secrets and Lies is like Desperate Housewives in the suburban setting.
As Ben becomes the prime suspect, things start to go from bad to worse.
“Demand 5 has webisodes of Secret and Lies”
Secret and Lies looks quite promising. It is fresh and different in setting, style and atmosphere. I found myself remembering the series The Slap, also an Australian series and production. Like The Slap, Secrets and Lies features suburban family life. Deceptively day to day.
The Slap started off all sunny and bright and breezy and morphed into a multi-layered horror tragedy. Secrets and Lies takes us pretty much directly into the horror and tragedy up close and in full daylight.
In retrospect it is quite refreshing that the family who are the focus of the drama so far are not the parents that have lost a child. Likewise it is fresh in a drama for the couple to be already breaking up. Not later as a result of the death.
Although as it becomes clear: they are suffering repercussions as a family. Due to Ben, a man, having found the body.
Being the one to find the body seems to arise more suspicion with the enigmatic Leonardo DiCaprio look-alike Detective Corneille. More suspicion than I thought Detectives would have since they usually suspect the last person to see the deceased alive.
I went all Police procedural there. Clearly I have subsumed some jargon. There is a lot of Police on TV. Odd thought.
No, really: murder mysteries, Police. Police reality shows, Police. Other reality shows where Sheriffs come to reclaim money. It sounds romantic but they don’t look like Sheriffs. I am sensing a theme here. Still, I digress.
The thing is, the ever impassive Detective Ian Corneille is starting to bother me with his questions. Does he know more than he is letting on? Every question and pause, or casual point from Detective Corneille, seems designed to confabulate and convince both Ben and the viewer of his guilt.
I started off thinking Ben was innocent and now I am wondering too. However this feeling maybe due to the ease and skill by which Detective Corneille works. Overall, Ben’s story is so vague and ludicrous, I tend to think it is true. Of course conversely this could all equally convey guilt.
Why was Ben jogging in the dark? Why, indeed how would one resuscitate in the dark? Although Ben is of the age group that would not necessarily know (about) or have downloaded a phone Application for a torch/ flash-light. He might though have thought to shine his phone as a light, dim as it was.
However Ben, since we see him hot footing it in sweating terror in the beginning, burst into a house to use the phone. So he had no phone with him.
All this and more. Everybody, including the rest of Ben’s family, the neighbours and the single parent of Ben are suspects. Nosy neighbour Vanessa across the way may have been fishing for news or wracked with guilt or both.
It is looking like the story will focus on Ben and his family. It maybe that each suspect’s side of the story will be considered.
Mostly, as the excerpt for the next week’s episode shows: Ben is going to go on a quest. Either to prove his innocence and or delve into dark secrets held by one of his neighbours or his own family.
Plus Secrets and Lies is beautifully filmed in cinematographically accurate close-ups of suburban countryside and the interiors of people’s lives and houses.
All washed out river water blues, tropical rain damp greens. With a dull blue limpid sky.
The actor who plays Ben’s old friend,living in Ben’s Pool-house is the same actor who played:
“Druggy Doug” in Underbelly: The Tale of Two Cities (Series Two).
Nb. “Shit head” would never happen on the BBC. Murder most gruesome, yes. But not: