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Secrets and Lies - The Trail/The Father (Two-Hour Series Premiere) - Advance Preview

The new ABC drama Secrets and Lies premieres Sunday at 9/8c with a two-hour series premiere. The series is based on the Australian series of the same name and will consist of 10 episodes. The first two episodes, "The Trail" and "The Father" will air back-to-back this Sunday.

The pilot starts with a jogger named Ben Crawford (Ryan Phillippe), who comes running down the streets screaming for help. It turns out he found the body of the young boy Tom Murphy in the woods. The discovery rocks the Crawford family and the entire village. Tom and his mother Jess (Natalie Martinez) lived across the street, and Ben's oldest daughter Natalie (Indiana Evans) regularly babysat Tom. Needless to say, they are all very upset because of what happened.

Detective Andrea Cornell (Juliette Lewis) is the lead detective investigating Tom's murder. She takes an immediate interest in Ben as she has questions about the story he told. For example, since it was dark when Ben was jogging, she wonders how he could see it was Tom. It also turns out Ben was drunk the night before, so he can't exactly remember what happened that night. Then there's the murder weapon, which could possibly match something from Ben. All of this leads to a lot of questioning from Detective Cornell. However, there is a lot of media frenzy surrounding the murder and they pick up on Ben going up and down the station. As a result, Ben quickly becomes the prime suspect in the case. From that moment on, Ben's life starts falling apart and the entire village is looking at him like he is a child killer.

The titular secrets and lies also very present. It becomes clear that Ben and his wife Christy (KaDee Strickland) are having marital problems, but because of Tom's death, they want to be there for their daughters Natalie and Abby (Belle Shouse). There is also Ben's friend Dave Carlyle (Dan Fogler), who was with Ben the night before he found the body. The pilot ends with a pretty big reveal that may or may not further incriminate Ben's case. Ben spends much of the second hour trying to hide this secret and as such, lies to various people around him. Whether or not the secret will be revealed, remains to be seen.

In the process of trying to clear his name, Ben makes his own efforts to find Tom's killer. In the second hour, Jess points the finger at a new suspect: her ex-husband Scott. We also learn that Scott has made contact with one of Ben's family members. Episode 2 features the funeral of Tom as well, and it's an emotional one for sure! Other characters that are introduced in the two-hour premiere are Ben's lawyer-like father, Jess' younger sister and a couple that live next to Ben. There are endless possibilities of who Tom's killer might be. The identity of the killer is sure to lead to some speculation and wild theories.

In my opinion, the pilot succeeded in portraying how the life of a murder suspect changes after becoming the suspect. We really get to see how Ben struggles with everybody looking at him like a child killer. We also see the impact it has on his family and his already unstable marriage. The suspect's side of the story is not something I tend to think about when I watch my regular procedural shows. So in that way, the pilot has a unique aspect. Sadly, some things also fall short. I believe the grief of the characters seemed a bit unreal. Sure, Tom's mother Jess sheds a few tears here and there, but that's about it. We get to see flashbacks of Ben's family with Tom, but besides some shocking looks and a few tears, the family doesn't seem to care too much about his death. They do, of course, but it is not until the funeral in episode 2 that we get to see the grieving town. Also, we don't really get to know the characters yet, so it's a bit hard to connect with them.

Since I have not seen the original Australian version, I have no idea how similar the two shows are going to be. I have also not seen any interviews addressing this issue, so I'm curious how this will all turn out. The recent Fox limited series 'Gracepoint', a remake of the Britisch series 'Broadchurch', received a lot of criticism for exactly copying the source material and only changing the last few scenes. Whether the American version of 'Secrets and Lies' is different than the Australian one remains to be seen. The American version does have 10 episodes of 43 minutes while the original had 6 48-minute episodes so perhaps they will be different.

Be sure to catch the two-hour series premiere of Secrets and Lies this Sunday at 9/8c on ABC. Tell me in the comments if you'll be watching.

About the Author - Daniel van der Veer
Daniel van der Veer is a Dutch university student studying Psychology. On SpoilerTV he is a reviewer of NCIS, The 100, Stalker, Madam Secretary and the upcoming shows Battle Creek and Odyssey. He also enjoys LOST, Arrow, NCIS: Los Angeles, NCIS: New Orleans, Nikita, The Blacklist, Scorpion and How To Get Away With Murder.
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