Well, that was frustrating. Some good central ideas, and then blah weird confusing presentation. I feel like the DCIB community collective can ABSOLUTELY fix this thing and make it better!
Really, I do not recommend this show. So I am going to SPOIL it and you should all read the spoilers because you will never want to watch it.
Beautiful Psychologist from a rich powerful family with a wise powerful father is married to a sacrificing children’s cancer doctor. Their son goes to an extremely expensive and exclusive day school. The wife meets a new mother from the school at a committee meeting. Her son is a scholarship student, and she brings her young baby with her to the meeting, everyone is a little put off by her different class and behavior. The new mother has a few more interactions with the wife that are just slightly odd, runs into her at her gym, cries in front of her in the bathroom. And then the wife gets an alert from the school that the mother has been found by her young son, dead. She tries to reach her doctor husband but he left his phone at home and is gone. The police are asking questions and she slowly learns her husband knew the mother and was her son’s doctor, was having an affair with the mother, he was fired from his job 3 months ago because of the affair, and just generally has been lying to her. And then he reappears. She has to decide if she will stand by his side and help him fight the murder case against him, or if she will abandon the father of her child and accept she married a vicious murderer and liar. The ending is her taking the stand as a defense witness after having fed information to the prosecution so that on cross-examination all the skeletons will come out of the closet.
Did that sound messy? It was messy! It was messy and weird and totally illogical and ultimately pointless. But there are a few things I would like to save from the wreckage and somehow make better.
The end twist is cool. Her convincing her husband and the defense lawyer that she is a devoted wife and they should put her on the stand, and then continuing to play the devoted wife who is explaining away all the terrible things she has seen her husband do, while actually turning the jury against him.
The central idea of willful blindness to who you are married to, combined with a sociopath who can be whatever you need him to be, that is SUPER cool. There were three bits that I thought “oh, this is a different kind of story”. First, when the wife learns her husband was fired, his colleague tells her that he wasn’t surprised. Because there is something about how he enjoyed being the Savior to the family of his patients, how he welcomed their dependence on him, which was never healthy. Ending with him taking advantage and having an affair with the mother of a patient wasn’t a surprise. That twist, the idea of “sometimes the person who does everything for other people is actually doing it for himself” is original and certainly something you see in real life. And having the colleague, who happens to be awkward and uncharming, be the person who notices it is REALLY good. He does the exact same thing the husband does, saves the lives of children, but without being charming and loving about it.
The other bit that was really good is at one point her father is trying to convince her to get a divorce and break free and reminds her that when she got married, he asked her “are you sure he is everything you want, and not just someone who knows how to reflect back to you what you want?” Very specific very unique definition, and interesting that an outsider could see it that long ago and she was blind to it.
Final thing, my favorite bit, she is saying to her father that she just wanted a happy marriage and a happy family like she had growing up and her father bluntly tells her that it wasn’t a happy marriage. He cheated on her mother all the time. The gifts, the love notes, that was all to try to make up for his latest infidelity. They were never happy. So what this is saying is, she grew up thinking a “happy normal marriage” looked like her parents’ marriage. But her parents’ marriage was actually just a facade. So when she got married, she was tricked by that same facade, by the same going through the motions without meaning anything. Far better for her to have been told the truth years ago, to know that a marriage filled with empty gestures is BAD, that these things she thought were signs of love were actually signs of rot.
Okay, so, we want to rescue the idea of an incredibly charming husband who can be all things to all people.
We want to rescue the idea of a woman who was raised in a house filled with lies without knowing it and therefore sees a lying house as a normal house.
And we want to rescue the idea of slowly understanding you are married to a terrible person, and then playing the same game as him by pretending to be the Perfect Wife just long enough to destroy him on the stand.
Maybe start with her wedding day? So we see her parents together and get a sense for the “too happy” vibe from them? Plus actually see her father’s conversation with her and then see her Perfect Husband and be as sure as she is that nothing is wrong?
And I know that I want him to be gone most of the time while she is figuring out secrets. Maybe she leaves town to get away with her son and father? And then returns last minute and offers to testify, convincing him she still loves him?
But I am stumped with what to do with the rest of it!
Also, if Hugh Grant was in the original as the Most Charming Man on Earth Who Has a Core That Feels Scuzzy, who do we cast in the remake?