TV review: The Undoing
Showrunner David E. Kelley and leading lady Nicole Kidman hit the jackpot a few years back with the HBO series Big Little Lies, which they both executive produced, and have reunited for yet another stylish prestige miniseries.
Based on the 2014 novel You Should Have Known, pulpy psychological thriller The Undoing is not as addictive or star-studded as their previous collaboration.
Sure, they have added another heavyweight to the team - award-winning director Susanne Bier (The Night Manager, Bird Box).
But seriously, who can beat the acting powerhouses that made up the Monterey Five, like Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern?
Fortunately, the central murder mystery here, with all its twists and secrets, is suspenseful enough for you to follow through the detective procedural format and keep on guessing all the way to the courthouse climax.
In that sense, The Undoing is quite reminiscent of Apple TV+'s Defending Jacob, where we see rich, beautiful, married people with seemingly perfect lives reveal their dark sides.
Kidman is, as usual, in her element as Grace Fraser, a top Manhattan psychiatrist who starts to lose her grip on reality and unravel on a personal level after the brutal killing of a sexy, mysterious Latina mother (Matilda De Angelis) from Harlem rocks the school community.
Grace had become intrigued by the victim upon learning their sons attend the same elite institution, but quickly discovers they are linked in a far deeper way.
Like her character in Big Little Lies, this is a pained wife caught up in the manipulations and deceptions of her marriage, but whose strength and resolve pull her through.
The weak link, surprisingly, is the wizened Hugh Grant as Grace's charismatic husband, who suddenly goes missing after the mother is found dead.
His signature foppish English humour is an odd fit - and sometimes even cringeworthy - in this genre, and we never get a handle on what makes his character tick.
Admittedly, the plot detours into generic and less enigmatic territory midway, but that hardly undoes the entire endeavour.
TV SERIES: The Undoing
STARRING: Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Edgar Ramirez, Donald Sutherland, Matilda De Angelis
DIRECTOR: Susanne Bier
THE SKINNY: The perfect lives of a successful therapist (Kidman) and her devoted oncologist husband (Grant) are upended overnight after the violent murder of a young mum (De Angelis) and a chain of terrible revelations.
SHOWING: Premieres Oct 26 at 9am on HBO GO and HBO (StarHub TV Ch 601/Singtel TV Ch 420), with a same day encore telecast at 10pm on HBO