Secrets and Lies: The Liar – Searching for Liam (Recap/Review)


Eric Warner is continuing his own investigations into his dead wife’s secrets and he is discovering more lies and unexplainable events. In “The Liar” he learns that Liam Connors, his wife’s favorite assistant, does not really exist.

As Warner puts the pieces together, he learns that Connors’ credentials were fake as were his references.  Eric also finds out that Kate meet Shane Campbell at a hotel. Warner also believes that Kate figured out Connors was a fake as well.

More is learned about the ex-girlfriend witness that Cornell dug up; Tina Sawyer. It turns out that Sawyer was a “bunny boiler” lover who tried to blackmail Eric into staying with her. Tina gave herself cuts and bruises and threatened to tell police that Eric beat her.

Amanda takes out a temporary restraining order against Eric’s former girlfriend and,  amazingly, Cornell pushes it through a judge and extends the time period of the court order.  It seems that the detective has taken Eric out of the main suspect spot for the time being.

Warner keeps bumping into Danny, the mysterious man who was searching Liam’s apartment and who beat up Neil.  The gun carrying stranger is searching for Connors as well.

Eric goes through the company’s CCTV footage and sees Liam leaving the building with a box. He can see the plate of the car Connors gets into. He asks Amanda to run the plate and goes to the address.

After banging on the door a young girl answers, seconds later Danny steps out from behind the door. Both men are looking for answers but it looks like Danny may be prepared to do whatever it takes to get them.

This episode of Secrets and Lies steps back from Kate’s pregnancy and centers on Eric’s search to reveal what was really going on in his dead wife’s life.  There is some focus on the family business and it seems that his father will not hesitate to get “rough” if he needs to.

We finally learn what happened to John Warner’s wife, she drunkenly fell down some stairs when Eric, Amanda and Patrick were children. She is in hospital and apparently in a coma. John visits her every Monday.

Eric initially believes that Kate was having an affair with Shane.  He learns that this was not the case at all when Campbell comes to see him.  (Eric came dangerously close to assaulting Shane the night before. Only the memories of the boy he killed in high school and, oddly, the death of Kate, stops him.)

Campbell reveals that Kate was investigating a hack of the company’s records. Someone was creating fictitious credit accounts and bilking the company.  Eric continues the investigation and shuts down a number of fake accounts.

He also figures out that the hotel where Kate met Shane was right across the street from the blackmailer’s drop off location. He believes that there is a connection between the two.

Secrets and Lies has managed to keep things interesting thus far. It seems that every rock Eric turns over deepens the mystery of who his wife really was and what she was up to.  At this point it feels like Warner is doing Cornell’s job for her.

The detective was a tad more “human” this week. She is still that stone faced and dour cop from earlier episodes but she has toned down the aggression factor a notch or two.

Amanda’s belief that Cornell’s gaze has shifted away from her brother may be very optimistic.  One gets the feeling that the detective is like a dog with a bone. Cornell  will worry her suspect until she gets what she wants.

Secrets and Lies airs Sundays on ABC.


Secrets and Lies: The Husband – Repeat Offender (Recap/Review)


Secrets and Lies  this week reveals more about the murdered woman. In “The Husband” Cornell questions whether Eric is a repeat offender when it comes to murder. His sister Amanda “Mandy” actually points out that the detective put one innocent man in jail, Ben Crawford, and that she should not be a repeat offender in terms of her brother.

Eric learns more about Kate. She withdrew $100 thousand from his savings account. Also, the baby she had before meeting him was put up for adoption when she was 16.

All this gets to the grieving widower and he searches their apartment looking for evidence of even more secrets. Later in the episode his sister tells him to look in the bathroom.

They find a blackmail letter and a DNA report.

The company is struggling as clients demand to know what is going on. John Warner has been answering their questions and Eric takes over. He calls everyone on the list and explains what is going on.

On the way into work, he finds his best friend and co-worker Neil being worked over by a stocky blond man. Eric intervenes and the man runs off. Eric gives chase but is stopped by reporters in front of the building.

Later, Cornell talks to the men about the attack and Neil swears he has no idea who the man was. In fact, Oliver is not helpful at all as the detective tries to learn more. She produces a photofit of the assailant and Neil says nothing. It is Eric who confirms that this was the man who beat up his friend.

Eric is angry with Neil for lying and he tells him to leave.

John Warner gives his son the baby’s birth certificate. The one that Kate gave up for adoption. It is intended to give Eric some piece of mind.

After Mandy drops by and they discover the secrets in the bathroom, Eric wants to take the note and the DNA report to Cornell. It explains the 100K that Kate withdrew and he believes the report will lead to her murderer.


Amanda advises against it. She tells Eric that Cornell is convinced that he killed his wife. She firmly believes that the biased detective will take it as an attempt to distract Cornell from his own guilt.

Eric ignores her pleas and heads off to see Cornell. His father, already at the police station, stops him. John explains that Cornell sees Eric as the only suspect. As the two men stand talking the detective comes out of an elevator with an old girlfriend of Eric’s.

He changes his mind,  keeps the letter and report and asks Cornell about the secret post office box of Kate’s.

Kate’s assistant, Liam Connors, has not returned to work. His phone goes to voicemail and as he was a friend of Kate’s Eric gets his address and goes to check on him personally.

Outside the man’s apartment Eric discovers the door has been forced open and  there are sounds coming from inside the flat.  As he starts to call the police, the man who attacked Neil opens the apartment door.

So far Secrets and Lies is piling on the pressure. Eric Warner is being torn apart with all the things he has learned about his dead wife.  On top of losing her and their unborn child, there are Cornell’s allegations and her bringing up his juvenile murder conviction.  All this is driving him to distraction.

Incidentally, what Cornell is doing with the juvenile records is actually illegal and this may cause her problems later on.

Mandy bringing up Ben Crawford’s conviction, from last season, and his subsequent death in prison is disturbing. Eric may well suffer the same fate if Cornell has her way.

The news about Crawford reveals a lot about Cornell. She has a definite attitude, aka a chip on her shoulder and it shows.

Eric may be the innocent party here, after all Kate was meeting with her old boyfriend prior to her death.  Was he her baby’s father? Or, was he the blackmailer?

The former boyfriend has obviously been questioned as Cornell knew all about the visit. The mystery is deepening and it will be interesting to see who the blond man is and why he was in Liam Connors’ apartment.

Secrets and Lies airs Sundays on ABC. Tune in and see what poor Eric learns next.


‘Secrets and Lies’ Season Two Premiere: The Fall (Review)


Unlike the one-off Australian series it is based on, Secrets and Lies has returned for a second season and a new murder. Juliette Lewis is back as  Andrea Cornell and the dour detective is investigating the death of Kate Warner (Brewster) who fell off a very tall building.

As the Warner’s celebrated the passing over of the family business to Kate’s husband Eric, Mrs. Warner plunged to her death.  Eric is seen running down the stairs to find his wife’s dead body on the sidewalk.

Cornell arrives  to find Eric cradling his dead wife and she tells off the uniformed police officers for allowing him to contaminate her crime scene. The detective refuses to call the dead woman anything other than “my victim.”

Throughout the first episode, Eric has flashbacks relating to Kate and their time together. These run the gamut of meeting cute to learning of her pregnancy.  The memories are contrasted to the presence of Cornell. Like an annoying mosquito, the detective is everywhere and speaking to everyone, expect Eric.

Eric and Kate’s wedding day

As the investigation  continues Eric discovers that his late wife had secrets. Kate had another iPad, post office box and “another man’s baby” – as Cornell so indelicately puts it.  Warner is shaken by this hidden side of his wife.

The Warners are a business dynasty, the three kids are all part of the company and John has just decided to step down as the head of the company. Eric now has it all and there seems to be no animosity from his siblings because of this.

Rather interestingly, their mother and John’s wife appears to be dead, however later, this is proven to be wrong. The family just do not acknowledge her presence.

Cornell continues to question everyone but Eric and finally, at the memorial service for Kate, Eric snaps. His father has already angrily approached Cornell for attending the service to question guests. His son then confronts the detective and she unveils secrets from the grieving widower’s past.

It seems that Eric spent time in a Juvenile Correction Facility for murder.  Warner admits that he killed Steven Porter but says again that he did not murder his wife.

Thus far the second season of Secrets and Lies is pretty interesting.  The Warner family are a curious entity and one wonders what the mother did to be so thoroughly exorcised from the group.

Not having seen the first season it is  difficult to get a real handle on Cornell and her way of investigating a murder. Clearly she believes that Eric is the number one suspect and acts accordingly.

The detective has all the finesse and tact of a sledgehammer or a blunt meat cleaver.  Still, there is something under that harsh exterior. When the family return to work in time to see the dummy fall from the roof (replicating Kate’s fall) she looks aggrieved.

Her apparent upset is shortly lived, however, as she reminds the family that she did tell them to avoid work that morning.  (Another point in the detective’s favor is that she did radio the other participants in the re-creation and tells them to stop the moment she sees the Warners arrive.)

Detective Cornell is no Columbo. This grumpy and ever so aggressive homicide cop is focussed on catching the killer. What Cornell does not do, and this is to the detriment of the show, is show any sympathy or awareness of the victim.

There is also a complete lack of understanding for the victim’s family.

Eric and Kate

Secrets and Lies has established in the first episode that Eric and Kate loved each other but there seems to be something else there. No doubt Cornell, with her bulldozer approach, will force the truth to the fore.

Secrets and Lies airs Sundays on ABC.



Secrets and Lies: Season Two Juliette Lewis is Back

ABC has kindly put up the season two premiere of Secrets and Lies and while Ryan Phillippe has not returned Juliette Lewis is back as the dour and focussed Detective Andrea Cornell


One of the bonuses of writing about television and the entertainment industry, is getting to screen upcoming new shows and “new seasons” of existing ones.  ABC has kindly put  up the season two premiere of Secrets and Lies and while Ryan Phillippe has not returned Juliette Lewis is back as the dour and focussed Detective Andrea Cornell. Having not seen season one of this clever crime drama, Phillippe was not particularly missed and his character would seem very out of place in this story of murder, “secrets and lies,” with its new victim and storyline.

Michael Ealy, a firm favorite who played the “cyborg” Dorian on the very short-lived Fox science fiction cop show  Almost Human,  stars alongside  Lost star Terry O’Quinn and the eternally youthful and talented Jordana Brewster.  This season appears to be all about the family Warner and the murder of Kate (Brewster). 

Michael Ealy

Ealy is son Eric, who has just taken over his father John’s (O’Quinn) business and whose wife Kate (Brewster) takes a high dive off the company building’s roof on the day. Mekia Cox  and Charlie Barnett round out the Warner clan as siblings Amanda and Patrick respectively.

At the start of the episode Kate is propelled off  the twelve story building’s roof and when Det. Cornell arrives, Eric is cradling his dead wife’s body and contaminating the crime scene. The no-nonsense detective is not happy and makes no secret of the fact.  She immediately gets the grieving husband away from his dead wife and starts the investigation.

As the episode progresses, more secrets are laid bare. Things are revealed about the victim and not all of the surprises come from the police investigations.  Eric learns that his wife had a number of things that she kept hidden. As the Detective begins the groundwork to find Kate Warner’s murderer, her widower has flashbacks and memories that are very painful.

Terry O’Quinn

In terms of popularity contests, Lewis’ homicide detective may actually be more unpleasant than David Tennant‘s American version of the homicide investigator “Emmett Carver” in the Yankee remake of the superior ITV crime drama Broadchurch, titled Gracepoint. (It should be pointed out that the Scottish version of Tennant’s character, Alec Hardy, was dour, but for some reason this cop was nowhere near as “nasty” as his American counterpart…perhaps it was the accent?)

Lewis comes across as an investigator who has a tendency to leave compassion at home as she zeroes in on asking questions and looking for clues. Her questioning borders on aggressive rather than inquisitive or assertive and the detective’s demeanor is just “this side” of unpleasant.  The power of the actress’s performance is such that one senses immediately that this how the cop handles homicides. It is not personal, but harshly impersonal.

Not having watched the first season, it is not clear whether this is Detective Cornell’s Modus Operandi, but is would seem to be as there is no indication that the investigator is anything other than a focussed professional.  Earlier in the episode, Cornell  tells a uniform cop that if he has issues controlling a crime scene that he should, perhaps, change jobs.  This detective wants the job done correctly above all else.

From the outset Cornell appears to believe that the grieving widower is the one responsible for Kate Warner’s death and the show’s synopsis makes it sound like Ealy’s character, Eric, will be battling to prove his innocence.

Jordana Brewster

Secrets and Lies is listed as a “crime drama” but is also also part mystery. The “reveals” in the premiere episode alone equals a lot of mystery as each memory of Eric’s shows something else not previously known.  ABC have not given a proper “air date” for season two, but season one began in March 2014 so 2015 may be in March as well.  Regardless of when the 2016 second season starts, the wait will be worth it. Keep your eyes peeled for this one.

Wayward Pines: The Prisoner Updated?

Wayward Pines banner
Coming late to the Wayward Pines party, the first thought after watching the premiere episode is that this show is an updating of the superlative, and before its time, British series The Prisoner, “Who is number one?” Starring the intense and brilliant Irish actor, director and producer Patrick McGoohan. In some ways the only thing missing from Wayward Pines is the big plastic balloon-like ball which used to chase down and capture the odd “inmate” from the village who managed to get past its boundaries and almost escape.

*It should be pointed out that The Prisoner was remade in 2009 and released as a six episode mini-series. It was met with a mixed critical reception, much like the original 1960s series.*

This Fox series is not just The Prisoner revisited though. There are hints of Twin Peaks, American Horror Story and Cape Wrath, aka Meadowlands in the US throughout the show’s plot and if one looks hard enough, more off-beat and odd television show’s may be spotted like Eureka or even at a stretch The Stepford Wives film.

Of course, Matt Dillon as Ethan Burke is this show’s version of Number Six. In the 1960s show, the “agent” is someone who has opted to get out of the system. His “defection,” which is in fact a resignation, is not allowed; hence his incarceration in the quaint yet disturbing village. As far as we know Burke has not tried to leave his organization. He has had some sort of meltdown after failing to stop a bombing where over 600 innocent people died. His Secret Service Agent is mired in a world of guilt, regret and pathos.

A car accident leaves him injured and disoriented in the “town” (village) of Wayward Pines. As he stumbles about, after checking himself out of the deserted hospital, it becomes apparent that this place is not what it seems. By the end of the show, he has learned that the area is surrounded by a tall, seemingly never ending, electric fence with signs that warn death is imminent if the boundary is crossed.

As this first episode shows, Burke’s life is pretty screwed up from the word go. His guilt, from failing to stop the bomber and his affair with a partner who is thought to be missing has consumed him. Discovering that she is in Wayward Pines, along with the dead tortured Secret Service agent who is also missing, Burke learns that this town is a prison where people listen to what is happening and questioning things can be fatal.

“There are no crickets in Wayward Pines,” says the back of a bar bill that Juliette Lewis’ character, Beverly, hands Ethan in the Biergarten. Of course the same slip of paper has an address where he finds the other missing agent dead and decomposing. Later in the episode, Burke hears crickets and leans towards the foliage where the sound is emanating. He discovers a metal box and this is responsible for the cricket “sound effects.”

After leaving the hospital Burke tries to call home twice and leaves messages for his wife. Away from the town, the Secret Service tell Theresa Burke (Shannyn Sossamon) that her husband is missing and that there was no sign that he was even in the car at the scene of the accident. By the end of the show Mrs. Burke checks the answer machine and it holds no messages from her husband.

Thus far Wayward Pines is four episodes into its first season and looks very promising. Binge watching will allow the viewer to catch up on events and see just how strange things may turn out. The cast includes the superb Juliette Lewis and English actor Toby Jones (Captain America: The First Avenger, The Hunger Games) and Terence Howard (Iron Man, Empire) and of course Matt Dillon as Burke.

Show creator Chad Hodge has come up with an interesting show that appears to borrow from a few existing examples of the weird and wonderful. Producer M. Night Shyamalan directed this first episode and has obviously set the tone for the rest of the first season, which may still turn into an updating of The Prisoner. Time will tell whether this new show finds the audience it deserves.

7 June 2015

Michael Knox-Smith

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