Secrets and Lies – Review

Secrets and Lies, ABC
Starring: Ryan Phillipe, Juliette Lewis
Grade: B-

Based on the commercials and trailers I was really looking forward to seeing this new ABC murder mystery series.


Ben Crawford (Ryan Philipe) a family man in a small town goes for an early morning run and discovers his neighbor’s son in the woods, dead. He runs home in a panic and calls the police. But rather than being lauded as a hero and a good Samaritan, the lead detective Andrea Cornell (Juliette Lewis) sees him as the prime suspect in the murder of the young boy.

Good, solid premise – an unassuming family man is yanked from his ordinary world into a nightmare scenario that would horrify any normal human being.

Back story

Ben is married to Christie and they married young. He is a house painter and his wife is a real estate agent who makes most of the money. They have two daughters – Natalie 17, and Abby 12. The youngest daughter is close to her father and stands by him. There is trouble in the marriage but despite this they seem to love each other. Ben’s slacker friend Dave lives in their guest house – drinks too much and is a womanizer. Tom, the murder victim is the son of Jess an attractive woman who live across the street. She has an ex special forces husband from whom she is estranged and who is recently showing violent tendencies.

I want to avoid giving any spoilers to those who haven’t seen the show yet so I won’t do a play-by-play on the story itself. It is well-written for the most part and worth watching. However, I had some problems suspending my disbelief in certain areas:

1. Ben is immediately regarded as a suspect and crucified in the press, shunned by the neighbors and even his house is vandalized. But the writer fails to show us why. There are several interactions between Ben and Detective Cornell that are tense and accusative but we don’t know why. There is no explanation why people immediately jump to the conclusion that Ben would kill a five-year-old boy. No criminal background, no unsavory interaction with children, no apparent motive. Yet within 24 hours people are convinced Ben did it and are distancing themselves from him. Why? I just couldn’t buy that it would happen that quickly without some substantial reason.

2. Detective Cornell is a very unlikable character. She is sour-faced from moment she appears on the scene. Granted, murder investigators lead grim lives and their work must weigh on them but they aren’t necessarily grump, sourpusses who cock their eyebrow and smirk at everything that moves. Also, I don’t think that detectives are that obvious, even they suspect someone of a crime, especially if they haven’t got any solid evidence, they aren’t going to come at a suspect like that. Instead, I’d expect them to be a little more friendly, and try to get their suspect to trust them a little, hopefully so they might slip and give themselves away.


Overall I think the story is good and the characters will be flushed out as the story is told. The production values are good. And Phillipe is quite good as the confused and isolated man accused of a terrible crime. There are lots of twists and turns and surprise reveals that create doubt for the viewer and should keep people watching. So, if you like a good solid mystery I think this will be a good addition to your Sunday night viewing and it’s positioned between Once Upon a Time and Revenge, so it should get decent traction.

Personally, I’d like to know more about Detective Cornell and why she is such a tight ass and more about Jess, the victim’s mother. I am suspicious of her already and believe we’ll find her caught in some pretty big lies in the not too distant future.

Did you see the show? What did you think? Any theories on who did it yet?
Let me know in the comments.

Writer Chick
Copyright 2015






2 thoughts on “Secrets and Lies – Review

  1. Haven’t watched this, but I like Ryan Phillippe, so I will The story sounds pretty solid, despite the sour-faced detective whose sourness isn’t really explained… Those sort of holes in a character can be really annoying, I know. Very informative review and a nice post altogether 🙂


    1. Hey Ramona,
      I think you will like it – and both Lewis and Phillippe are skilled actors so I suspect the characters will flush out as the series continues.

      I’d be interested in your take on the rapid transition at the beginning though. 🙂



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