A generic domestic thriller only a rung or so up from your average soap, there’s nothing new to see here, even if it’s perversely watchable in a comfort-food kind of way.
This recap of The Secrets She Keeps episode 1 contains spoilers.
You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, or a TV show by its title, but I bet if you made some assumptions about the new thriller The Secrets She Keeps you wouldn’t be far off the mark. Imported from Australia and airing two nights a week for the next three in a primetime slot on BBC One, the selling point of this soapy affair, adapted from the same-titled novel by Michael Robotham, is Downton Abbey’s Laura Carmichael, here playing a mousy nutter whose ideal life of domestic bliss and motherhood belongs to somebody else.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. This is the kind of story in which a middle-class couple gets their seemingly idyllic lives uprooted by an interloper, reminiscent of The Nest in that sense, though obviously nowhere near as good, and so it’s important to set the scene. Meet Meghan (Jessica De Gouw), a social media influencer who’s shacked up with a nice husband and two children with another on the way – an “oops” baby whose parentage isn’t 100% certain, but never mind that for now. I’m personally already at the stage where I question whether or not we need another story about a social media influencer ever again, but we never really see Meghan do any blogging, so I suppose I can live with it.
Anyway, Carmichael’s Agatha stacks shelves, and is also pregnant, and happens to be due at the same time as Meghan – none of which is true, obviously, since Agatha is a creepy stalker desperate for a partner and a baby who has become obsessed with Meghan’s very visible online life. Now, I think, is the time when you start making various clichéd predictions, almost all of which are likely to come true.
I have nothing at all against this kind of mind-numbing genre stuff, by the way, I just wish we didn’t have to endure quite so much of it. Nothing about The Secrets She Keeps is offensive or anything, just familiar, and it’ll definitely pass an hour of trope bingo if you’re that way inclined. But whether it’ll offer any actual insight or value doesn’t seem particularly likely to me – most people will probably already have a sense of what happens next. We’ll see how it goes, either way. It isn’t like there’s much else to do.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.