Secrets and Lies: Season 2 Finale – Surprise (Review)

JULIETTE LEWIS

 

The second season of Secrets and Lies pulled out all the stops with its two-hour finale. Surprise after surprise was trotted out before the end credits rolled and Kate’s killer was finally unmasked.

Every rattling bone of each closet skeleton was dusted off and pulled front and center for the audience’s consideration. The Warner family managed to have a lot of secrets and enough lies to fill all the presidential elect’s campaign speeches.

The patriarchal head of the family turned out to not only be a bigamist but his “other” son blackmailed Eric in order to save his failing business. This was not, however, the biggest shock of the evening.

That moment went to Cornell who revealed that Amanda Warner, the family’s legal beagle, pushed her sister-in-law over the edge of the building to her death. There was an awful lot of dirt to be dished up in the last two episodes of Secrets and Lies though.

Detective Cornell did not uncover all the juicy facts for the viewer; everyone got into the act before the episode ended. Patrick could not wait to tell us that his brother Michael knocked their drunken brute of a mother down the stairs. This act, which turned out to be an accident, left Mommy Dearest in a vegetative state.

Amanda turned out to be pregnant with Nick’s baby and the one-time best bud of Michael’s lacked the intestinal fortitude to stand by his murderous baby momma.

The fact that Big Daddy Warner turned out to have two families stretched things a bit. John was running S.E.G. until recently and while his one wife was in a coma it must have been terribly difficult to run the business and juggle two houses at the same time.

Warner handing things over to Michael must have seemed to be the ideal solution until Mandy shoved Kate over the railings.

Danny finally finds his naughty daughter, this time in Mint Hill 2.0.  Things are still dodgy between the aggressive New York cop and his prostitute offspring. After a few rocky moments, where Rachel declares she finds jail preferable to staying with dad, things are worked out.

Patrick and Michael making up pushed the lines of credibility a touch. The idea that if one sibling murders your wife and your unborn child, the other one who lied and stole from you is preferred could work. Presumably the Warner’s are so colossally screwed up that this is not unusual.

The very tail end of the second episode makes it seem that a third season may not be in the running for this American revamp of a one season Aussie detective series. Cornell arrives home, after the Major celebrates her victorious solving of the case with her new partner and a glass of whiskey, to find her drug addict daughter riffling through her bedroom drawers.

Drawing her gun, Cornell demands that the unknown armed assailant who just entered the room put down the gun. She faces the camera, weapon pointed at the ready, and everything goes black as the sounds of gunshots end the scene.

This could be seen as a “hedging its bets” type scenario where the viewer can believe that Cornell bit the bullet, so to speak, thus giving the show an “easy out.”

MEKIA COX
Amanda Warner – guilty

Admittedly, the reveal that Amanda killed Kate was a surprise, but only inasmuch that the lawyer was never considered by anyone, including Cornell, to be a suspect. Everyone else in the series was seriously trotted out as a potential murderer, including, to an extent, Danny the NYPD detective searching for his daughter.

It was quite admirable that the writer managed to tie up every little dangling end, except, of course, that final shootout between Cornell and the unknown entity in her bedroom.

Secrets and Lies was, overall, pretty entertaining. If there could be any one complaint, it would be that Lewis’ overly competent cop was too dour. With an expression that resembled a smacked arse, Juliette felt far too grim by half.

This was eventually explained by the reveal of a drug addict daughter and an ex husband who was seriously letting the side down. It is quite possible that those who watched the first season of Secrets and Lies knew why Cornell was so grumpy.

It remains to be seen as to whether this rehash of a one season wonder from the land down under will come back for a third time at bat.  The series is complex enough as a murder mystery that ABC could well greenlight another season.

The final verdict on this crime series is a ‘A’ for effort and capital ‘M’ for mystery.  Check the show out if you have not already done so.

Cast:

Secrets and Lies: The Racket – Thrown Under the Bus (Recap/Review)

 ANNALYNNE MCCORD, CHARLIE BARNETT

Secrets and Lies “The Racket” does indeed throw someone under the bus, a few someone’s actually.  Apart from learning who is actually running the Mint Hill brothel this episode allows Detective Cornell to actually focus on the case. Her new partner Detective Ralston is a lot more hands on this week and Danny helps Eric with his passcode problem.

As Cornell and Ralston look over the whore house that Eric’s wife runs, they discover hidden cameras and the hard drives. The drives have been wiped clean but vice have a sleeper camera outside the premises.

The cops have no warrant but they do have probable cause and later, when Ralston takes  Cornell to his old Vice stomping grounds, a colleague reluctantly agrees to hand over the pictures taken from outside the residence.  Cornell agrees to reciprocate by returning the favor.

Eric throws Patrick under the bus by giving his illegal activities and the proof of same to Cornell.  The detective arrests Eric’s brother and he then throws his “trashy” wife under the same vehicle.  She, in turn, promises to give up Kate’s murderer to Cornell.

This was an interesting episode. The finger of suspicion pointed to Patrick last week. The evidence found at the Mint Hill bordello sealed his fate in this episode and  prompted his removal from S.E.G. as well as his arrest.

Melanie was also taken in, Eric’s wife was picked up from her yoga class mid-stretch. Ralston, somewhat amusingly, says “Namaste,” to the instructor as they lead the handcuffed woman from the room.

Danny is still desperate to find his daughter Rachel. He comes within a gnat’s whisker of kidnapping Melanie Warner. Just as he posies himself to take her, Danny spots two Vice cops watching Patrick’s wife.

The New York detective was spotted by Ralston’s former colleagues on the sleeper camera footage and the detective who helps Andrea smiles at the obsessed father.  Patrick learns that Melanie has been sleeping with his lawyer and when the man enters the interrogation room, Warner attacks him.

Eric believes his brother and Melanie were blackmailing him and after Danny breaks the passcode on Kate’s iPad, they find that the tracker on the money moving.  Eric knows that both Eric and his wife are in custody so it cannot be either of them.

He and Danny follow the signal and Eric sees his father driving down the road where the tracker was pinged by the software. Once again, we are privy to the sadness and pain behind the carefully maintained facade that the Warner’s previously projected to the public.

Eric raised both his siblings since their alcoholic mother was unable and their father was away so often.  Patrick has always been desperate to be as able and clever as his big brother and father.  Melanie, is indeed, “trashy” as she worked in a brothel before she met Patrick.

Secrets and Lies has done a pretty good job of peeling back the layers of deceit and it looks like the Eric’s company and many of its main players  will end up doing jail time. Between the money syphoned off by Eric and the house of prostitution, S.E.G. will definitely be going down.

Juliette Lewis was spot on in this episode. Her character’s taunting of Patrick was crucial in forcing the man to turn over his wife. The writing this week was taut and followed a lot of trails that seemingly all ended up with the prime suspect(s) being a member of the Warner family.

Michael Ealy is splendid as the widower who is doggedly searching for clues while watching the company he inherited from his father crash and burn.

There are two episodes left in this season and it will be interesting to see who will actually wear the mantle of murderer.

Secrets and Lies airs Sundays on ABC. Tune in and see who actually killed Kate Warner.

Cast:

Secrets and Lies: The Statement – Serious Jail Time (Review)

FRENCH STEWART, JULIETTE LEWIS

Right up until the last few moments of Secrets and Lies “The Statement” we had John Warner, the patriarchal head of the Warner clan and current owner of the family business as the top suspect for Kate’s murder. His little talk with Amanda and Eric and his sad confession that he only wanted to protect his family shoved John Warner into first place.

That statement, added to the fact that he lied about the flip phone, made is seem all too obvious that he was the one who tossed Kate Warner off the office building roof.  He also apparently knew a lot more about Eric’s wife than he let on previously.

There are, however, more suspects than you can shake a stick at.  The Warner family do, as the title suggests, have more secrets and lies than your average family run business.

Patrick, who proved that he can commit major fraud when he puts his mind to it, still looks good as a suspect.  Even Danny the cop could be seen as a viable challenger for the crown. There is, however, one more major  suspect on the list.

Melanie Warner, the woman that no-one in the Warner clan would put out if she was on fire.  Ms. Unpopular has more than a few things against her.

Consider if you will, the whorehouse adjacent to the non-PGA certified golf course.   One of the many bought by Patrick with SEG funds and now serving discriminating golfer’s in town a varied menu of young hookers.

Eric talks Danny into searching the place after Patrick told him about it. Warner tells the cop that his missing daughter was seen there. There is one thing, however, that brother dear forgot to pass on to Eric.

Melanie, the blond bit of stuff that Patrick is married to, is running the bordello with all those golf carts in front.  Neil Oliver drops that bombshell  at the end of the episode when he mistakenly believes that Eric knew already.

This new bit of info could mean that Patrick, Melanie or even Danny can not be added to the list of suspects.  But Melanie as “Madam” seems to indicate that she was the one who “offed” Kate.

There is one bit of good news for Detective Cornell, other than her kid re-checkng herself into rehab, the M.E. found blood in the planter dirt. All Andrea  needs to do now is find out who it belongs to and Andrea will have the killer.

Meanwhile, back at the precinct, the Major questions Melanie and proves to doubting Thomas Detective Ralston that the big boss knows what he is doing.

Eric learns that Patrick’s actions as a thief are endangering not only his family, but the company as well. That $12 million fraudulent investment may destroy them all. It could also cost Eric and his brother some serious jail time.

While Patrick, or more accurately his wife Melanie, now looks like the best pick for murdering Kate, there is still Danny to consider.  The big cop has a hair trigger temper and if he and Kate argued on that rooftop, he could very well have tossed Mrs. Warner off the roof.

Stepping away from the case, we got a look at Detective Anderea Cornell as concerned mother.  It was a nice touch that. Seeing the harsh and unforgiving homicide cop showing her maternal side was a bonus.  There are feelings under that grim exterior after all.

Secrets and Lies airs Sundays on ABC. Tune in and see if your favorite suspect turns out to be the killer.

Cast:

Guest starring Jake Weber as Ethan Barrett, Al Coronel as Detective Oscar Reyna and Cole Bernstein as Jennifer Barrett.

Secrets and Lies: The Parent – I Speak for the Dead (Recap/Review)

 JULIETTE LEWIS, JAKE WEBER

Secrets and Lies this week may just be the best episode of this season. “The Parent” focuses not on just one parent but several. We also learn a lot more about what makes Cornell run. Other revelations include the recently departed Neil having sex with Melanie.

The amount of lies and deception in the Warner family is staggering. While Eric keeps searching for answers he learns that no one in the family has been upfront with him.

Amanda lies to him about why her husband left and Patrick has followed Neil’s lead and quit the company as well. Kate’s secrets continue to unfold and Cornell has problems of her own.

It is the anniversary of her partner’s death. He was shot while they were out canvassing a neighborhood for witnesses. Cornell feels responsible and she is not allowed to investigate.

On top of her frustration about her partner’s unsolved murder, she is estranged from her addict daughter who lives with her ex husband. Cornell’s life, away from the job, is a mess. It is no wonder her countenance is sour and grim.

Eric learns that the woman on the security feed, in front of the building on the day of the party, is the adoptive mother to Kate’s child; Belinda.  He tracks her down after her husband Mike comes in to see Kate.

He learns that Kate wanted to meet with Charlie, her son, but Belinda was against it. Mike came in to smooth out the problem and had no idea that Kate was dead.

As he talks to the Peterson’s, Charlie comes and introduces himself. The young man saw Eric and Kate together, he says.

Detective Cornell has “adopted” a new partner; Detective Ralston. Her new partner has mixed feelings about working with Andrea. Major Bryant orders her to arrest the New York detective, Danny or face disciplinary actions.

Cornell takes Ralston to pick Danny up.  When they arrive the cop looking for his daughter is gone. Ralston accuses Andrea of warning Danny and leaves the scene angrily after checking her mobile phone.

Later Cornell meets with Danny and urges him to testify in the drugs case and leave the area. Andrea explains that her boss has left her no choice. Danny, however, refuses to stop searching for Rachel.Cornell tells the distraught father that she will arrest him if he shows up again.

Melanie aggressively confronts Eric about Patrick. She makes veiled threats and leaves angrily when they do not have the desired effect. It is interesting to note that no one in the Warner family likes or accepts Patrick’s wife.

Eric learns from his secretary that Neil and Kate had a major argument before she died. Apparently Kate caught Neil having sex with Melanie in his office.

Cornell meets with her ex, Ethan. The two talk in an interrogation room and the therapist brings up the anniversary of her partner’s death. Andrea is actually moved to tears although they are most likely tears of anger and frustration at not being allowed to work on her partner’s case.

Later, the detective meets with Eric. She admonishes him for speaking with the Peterson family. He asks what her stake is in the investigation and her answer is revealing.

“I speak for the dead.”

Beneath that cold and harsh exterior, Cornell does care deeply about the victim. Unfortunately she is not very good at showing the victim’s family that she cares.

Secrets and Lies is picking up momentum. Each episode peels back another layer revealing that no one is innocent of distorting the truth. Everyone has a reason for hiding things perhaps even Eric.

The series airs Sundays on ABC.

Cast:

Guest starring Jake Weber as Ethan Barrett, Romy Rosemont as Belinda Peterson, Cody Longo as Charlie Peterson and Larry Poindexter as Mike Peterson.

Secrets and Lies: The Detective – People Person (Review)

 JULIETTE LEWIS

It comes as no surprise that Detective Cornell is not the belle of the ball at work either. The dour homicide cop is one move away from getting a time out on the naughty step because of the Crawford case (season one). Secrets and Lies  begins with Cornell almost being read the riot act for her attitude. She tells her boss not to worry, “I’m a people person.”

Clearly Major Bryant knows that Cornell is anything but and another “non-people person is Danny. Who, we find out later, is not just a mysterious guy looking for his sister, he is a detective also. Not only that but he and Cornell know one another.

The episode  centers around Liam Connors, not his real name, who is the chief suspect in Eric’s mind. Danny wants to talk to Kate’s former assistant as he was the last person to see Rachel, Danny’s sister, before she disappeared.

Danny and Eric team up after Warner lets Liam’s girlfriend go. Danny is furious but his new partner tells him that Connors will be at a rock concert. They go to grab Liam but Cornell beats them to the draw. As the uniforms grab Connors, the detective tells Eric that they need to stop meeting like this.

(Perhaps Cornell is more of a people person than she lets on. That was a very obvious attempt at humor. It may well be that she really has taken Eric off her most wanted list.)

She questions Liam and his bail is posted by Eric, at Danny’s suggestion.  After a slight run-in with his brother-in-law, Warner is joined by Danny, who has Liam in the trunk of his car.

The two men take Connors to a hotel room and question him. The young assistant did not kill Kate, he has an alibi, but he was hacking the company’s accounts. Liam tells Danny that the person Rachel was with on the night she went missing was Neil.

Eric tricks Neil into coming to the loft and Danny strikes the moment the two men enter the room. Danny beats on Neil until he confesses who he was with that night.

According to Neil, Rachel was just “there,” he was with Carly, a professional escort. Danny rings the woman’s number and they get an “out of order” message.

Things look pretty tense and Danny looks ready to pound on Neil some more when there is a knock on the door. It is Cornell. She looks at Danny, who answers the knock.

He says, by way of greeting, “Hello detective.” She greets Danny in typical Cornell fashion, nodding ever so slightly she says.”Detective.”

So Danny is a cop, presumably from the same precinct as Cornell. It would not be too surprising that learn that they are somehow related. Both have negative people skills. Danny may be like a bull in the China shop but his expression mirrors that of Cornell; dour with a capital “d.”

Viewers who have not watched season one of Secrets and Lies learn that Cornell is actually the best homicide detective that Bryant has. While she will not be winning any popularity contests, Cornell is on the top rung of the homicide ladder.

More is learned about the Warner family. Greg points out to his brother-in-law that for all the family’s apparent closeness no one really talks about anything.

Patrick turns out to be the weakest link in terms of the family business. Taking too long on a bit of recreational fun with Melanie he misses a crucial meeting.

Eric is furious but manages to save the situation by talking straight with the potential partner company owner.

Kate’s secrets appear to have dried up at the moment.  This episode was all about learning who Liam really was and if he were Kate’s son. Along the way Eric develops some cojones and Danny reveals his true colors, albeit inadvertently.

For the record, Cornell shows up twice while Warner is questioning his “suspect.” The detective must be good as she seems to know what Eric is going to do  before he does.

Secrets and Lies airs Sundays on ABC.

Cast: