Secrets and Lies
By Kari Croop,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Predictable whodunit packs few real surprises.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Though there's an ongoing search for justice, the overall message is that "truth" is far from the surface and few people can be fully trusted.
Positive Role Models
The show is built around the concept that people aren't always what they seem, so it deals more in shades of gray than black and white; characters have fuzzy motives, and their intentions aren't always apparent.
Violence & Scariness
The series centers on the death of a young boy; there's some blood, along with some shots of the body, but nothing gratuitous.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Two characters engage in an extramarital affair.
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Audible words such as "damn" and "bitch."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Secrets and Lies follows a murder investigation involving a 5-year-old who was found dead in the woods near his suburban home. Blood is minimal, but there is some visible at the crime scene along with shots of the boy's lifeless body. There's also a plot line involving adultery and a teen character dealing with cyberbullying. Words such as "bitch" and "damn" are audible, and there's some social drinking.
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Secrets and Lies
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What's the Story?
When suburban family man Ben Crawford (Ryan Phillippe) discovers the lifeless body of his neighbor's 5-year-old son in the woods, he immediately reports it and, soon after, becomes the primary suspect. Now, it's up to Det. Andrea Cornell (Juliette Lewis) to sort through the SECRETS AND LIES of the case and get to the root of who did it -- and why.
Is It Any Good?
Like a smack of déjà vu, this feels like something we've seen on TV before -- and not only because it's based on a critically acclaimed Australian series of the same name. Rather, it's because Secrets and Lies fails to live up to the juiciness of its title, stringing together a predictable array of plot points with some scattered "gotcha" elements that, once revealed, hardly feel like revelation.
The family at the center of the action includes two children (one teen, one closer to tween), and their presence could interest some older teens. But since the series is much more interested in the parents' relationship -- and their marital troubles -- than on the lives of its younger characters, Secrets seems like a better pick for adults who aren't big on surprises.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about Secrets and Lies's premise and how it compares to other crime dramas on television. What sets it apart from shows like Gracepoint or The Killing? Given the popularity of murder mysteries, what makes a crime series truly compelling?
How would the events portrayed in Secrets and Lies affect a real-life family, and how accurately and thoroughly does the series explore that? How would your community handle the death of a child at the hands of an unknown killer?
How can the media influence crime solving, particularly in the realm of public opinion? What should the media's role be in an ongoing investigation?
- Premiere date: March 1, 2015
- Cast: Ryan Phillippe, Juliette Lewis, KaDee Strickland
- Network: ABC
- Genre: Drama
- TV rating: TV-14
- Last updated: October 14, 2022
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