Need to scratch that Gone Girl itch from years past? The Secrets She Keeps is the new Australian thriller that asks how far you should go to get the perfect life.
Pre-lockdown, influencers were king and there was no better way to feel stink about your own life than to step into theirs. This is the premise that drives The Secrets She Keeps, the new six-part psychological thriller that promises to have you tipping your sourdough starter onto the floor in shock. Adapted from the bestselling novel by Michael Robotham, The Secrets She Keeps follows two women in search of the perfect existence. “When the life you want isn’t yours, how far would you go to get it?” the show asks. The answer? A long and twisted way.
Meghan is an Instagram star who appears to be the epitome of the perfect housewife. From the outside, everything in Meghan’s life looks ideal. She’s married to a successful sports reporter, mother to two gorgeous children and lives in a beautiful home. Every moment of her glamorous life is captured on social media, but this carefully curated world hides the truth about her increasingly rocky marriage and her unplanned “oops” pregnancy.
In contrast, Agatha (Downton Abbey’s Laura Carmichael) is a loner who earns a pittance stacking shelves in her local supermarket. She hopes a baby will give her the life she dreams of, but Agatha’s on-again, off-again boyfriend refuses to be involved with the pregnancy. Lost and alone, Agatha follows Meghan’s every move on social media, and when she bumps into Meghan in the supermarket aisle, Agatha is quick to spark up a conversation about their shared due date. Agatha wants everything Meghan has, but how can she get her own hands on her own perfect life?
This chance encounter sets the drama spinning, as Meghan and Agatha build an unlikely friendship that sees their lives collide in unexpected ways. The Secrets She Keeps is a dark thriller about obsession and jealousy, and plays on the fact you can never really know what’s really going on in someone’s life. We can’t trust social media to tell the truth, and a thousand failed sourdough starters during the last four weeks will speak to that.
These types of psychological thrillers have been around for yonks, but we’ve been treated to some crackers in recent years, from films like Gone Girl and Girl on a Train to TV series like Big Little Lies, Sharp Objects and Dead to Me. These dramas all centre around women with seemingly ordinary lives, but beneath the surface lies a more complex and layered world.
Here are a few more tense TV gems that depict women’s lives as complicated, messy and full of surprises.
This intense and unpredictable Scottish thriller follows Anna, a grieving mother who tries to come to terms with her son’s death by revealing his murderer’s new identity. But has Anna got the identity of the killer wrong? Who’s keeping the biggest secret here, and who’s the real victim of this crime?
This tense drama was billed as the British version of Big Little Lies, as three mothers who meet at the school gates every day find themselves tangled up in a messy web of murder and lies. Set in the gorgeous Lake District, Deep Water proves that small-town life is never boring.
Miri Matteson (the fabulous Daisy Haggard) just served 18 years in prison and returns home to rebuild her life. More a dark comedy-drama than psychological thriller, Back to Life follows Miri as she tries to make friends and leave her past behind in a town that refuses to forgive and forget.
The first season of this British thriller series sees Jodie Whittaker (Dr Who, Broadchurch) play Ally, a talented nurse who gets the sack for whistleblowing. Desperate to provide for her daughter and keen to start a new life, Ally steals the doctor identity of her best friend. It’s great fun until Ally actually has to save some lives, and needs to take increasingly drastic measures to keep up the lie.
Marc Cherry’s (Desperate Housewives) latest series is an anthology comedy-drama about three wives who live in the same house during different decades, but who all deal with lies and trickery within their marriages. Fabulous costumes, lively storytelling and dark humour make Why Women Kill a deliciously fun watch.
The Secrets She Keeps is available to stream on TVNZ on Demand right now, as are the rest of these thrilling shows.
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