What To Watch This Weekend: The Undoing

What To Watch This Weekend: The Undoing

Big Little Lies writer David E. Kelley has teamed up with Nicole Kidman once more to deliver The Undoing, HBO’s new limited series which focuses on successful New York therapist Grace as her world unravels in the wake of a gruesome murder and suspicious affair. Here’s why this glossy thriller is worth the watch…

Based on the 2014 novel You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz, The Undoing is a new HBO drama that combines big-name actors with genuine edge-of-your-seat climaxes. The series centres on Grace Fraser (Nicole Kidman), a shiny-haired 40-something who’s living the only life she’s ever wanted for herself. She’s a renowned therapist, lives in a beautiful Manhattan brownstone, and has a devoted, successful husband and teenage son who attends one of the most sought-after private schools in New York. 

But by the end of episode one, a chasm opens in her seemingly perfect life: a violent death, a missing husband and a chain of terrible secrets exposed. Left in the wake of a very public disaster, and horrified by the ways in which she has failed to heed her own advice, Grace must dismantle her carefully crafted life and create another for her and her son.

Throughout The Undoing, Kidman convincingly embodies a woman who has undergone the ultimate betrayal – just as she did in Big Little Lies. As Jonathan Fraser, Hugh Grant – fresh from his first Emmy win for his turn as Jeremy Thorpe in A Very English Scandal – plays an acclaimed paediatric oncologist who’s a devoted husband and doting father to Henry (A Quiet Place’s Noah Jupe) – until his past undergoes intense media scrutiny. Part of a new run of roles that go against type, Grant seems to be having the time of his life as a man on the run. Jonathan’s rival for Grace’s affections is Donald Sutherland (The Hunger Games), who plays Grace’s extraordinarily wealthy father Franklin Reinhardt: a retired financier tasked with protecting his family when turbulent revelations come to light.

Joining the all-star line-up is Edgar Ramirez (The Assassination of Gianni Versace) as the lead detective on the case, who seems to have it in for Grace; newcomer Matilda De Angelis, who plays the mysterious Elena, a new mother at the elite Rearden School; Lily Rabe (American Horror Story) as Grace’s lawyer friend, who always seems to know incriminating details before anyone else; and Noma Dumezweni (Mary Poppins Returns), who plays the Frasers’ formidable defence attorney. Despite the greatness of Grant and Kidman, it’s Dumezweni who really steals the show – her character Hayley Fitzgerald is both terrifyingly bright and determined to win her case at any cost, something that makes even her clients wide-eyed.

Susanne Bier, who won an Emmy for her work on The Night Manager, directed all six episodes, so be prepared for an explosive look behind the closed doors of Manhattan’s elite. Nowhere is this shown better than during Grace’s ‘flashbacks’ of the murder and the events leading up to it. Are these recurring montages real memories or Grace’s perceived version of events based on what she’s heard from her husband, detectives and in the courtroom? The series leaves viewers guessing right up until the final episode. 

Grace’s stance as an unreliable narrator and the ‘whodunnit’ nature of the story are both likely to draw parallels to Gone Girl. And the fact each episode ends on a cliff-hanger demonstrates that this is event television, and not something to be binged on and quickly forgotten. Combined with the glossy backdrop of wintery New York and the A-list cast, The Undoing is just the show for dark autumnal evenings. 

The Undoing begins on Sky Atlantic, Now TV and HBO Max on 25th October, with new episodes showing each Friday.

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