TV Review: The Undoing | A Skillful Telling of the Obvious

This American psychological mystery thriller miniseries is written and produced by David E. Kelley (Big Little Lies, Mr Mercedes), it’s based on the novel You Should Have Knownby Jean Hanff Korelitz. The six episodes are directed by Susanne Bier (Birdbox, The Night Manager), and stars Nicole Kidman (Paddington, Railway, Sleep) as Grace Fraser, Hugh Grant (Paddington 2, Bridget Jones) as Jonathan Fraser, Edgar Ramirez (The Last Days of American Crime) as Detective Joe Mandoza, Noah Jupe (Honey Boy, A Quiet Place), Lily Rabe (AHS, The Whispers) as Sylvia Steinetz, Matilda De Angelis (Rose Island) as Elena ALves, Edan Alexander (Two and a Half Men) as Miguel Alves, Ismael Cruz Cordova (Berlin Station, Mary Queen of Scots) as Fernando Alves, and Donald Sutherland (Mockingjay) as Franklin Reinhardt.

Premise: Grace Fraser, who is living the only life she ever wanted for herself. She’s a successful therapist, has a devoted husband and young son who attends an elite private school in New York City. But a chasm opens in her life: a violent death, a missing husband, and a chain of terrible revelations. In the wake of a spreading and very public disaster, and horrified by the ways in which she has failed to heed her own advice, Grace must dismantle one life and create another.

Review: This show pretty much presents itself as a grown up Gossip Girl to me. The main characters are successful and have a seemingly nice family life before tragedy struck. As a whole the show is not breaking new ground, the story is pretty average and could have been an episode of your run of the mill procedural cop drama. But where it shines is in the experience. Watching the show I wasn’t particularly captivated, however I enjoyed the cinematography, the esthetic of the show, and the symbolisms peppered throughout.

Grace lives in an idealism bubble, she has a routine, it’s a well oiled machine. No one in her circle is really honest, everything is surface level and she doesn’t seem to mind until that day. The murder, and the subsequent chain of terrible revelations, is essentially the needle that will burst that bubble and prick Grace to act.

Susanne Bier – and David E. Kelley – did a great job with the show, they took this OK story and made it more intriguing and exciting than it had any right to be, that’s skill. They were tiny clues that inferred to the duality of the every characters, from the first episode the duality is there, there’s two sides to everything and the subsequent episodes further highlight that. The creative team pulled the viewers in, getting them to speculate and constantly shift they their theories on who did it, while giving them everything about the killer’s identity. It’s the reason why there are such strong reactions to the finale, you either love it or hate. Eliciting such strong reactions is a skill, I doubt that it’s a fluke. I like the finale because the killer really turned on acting wise. The casting was also brilliant because a lot of the actors who ended up in the most viewers suspect list are capable of playing off that Jekyll and Hide persona.

The Undoing is a who dunnit for those who love speculating more than guessing right, a gripping glossy thinker’s mystery for some, or a boring pretentious and cliché Law and Order episode for others.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

If you’re interested by the source material, it’ll help if you get it from the links bellow: