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Behind Her Eyes

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What it’s about:

A psychological thriller about a working-class single mother who gets distressingly enmeshed with her boss and his wife. She’s having an affair with him while being drawn into a very confusing friendship with her, and trying to keep her relationship with each of them secret from the other. And then things get really crazy.

Names you might know:

This is one of those shows that mints new stars. You probably don’t know the names Simona Brown, Eve Hewson, or Tom Bateman yet, but this is a breakout for all of them. The cast is rounded out by Game of Thrones’ Robert Aramayo, soon to be a household name as the star of Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series. It’s written and produced by Hannibal’s Steve Lightfoot.

Why it’s worth your time:
Behind Her Eyes, courtesy Netflix 2021

Behind Her Eyes is a thriller miniseries in the vein of Netflix’s Harlan Coben adaptation The Stranger, which was a similar word of mouth hit last winter. It’s based on a novel by author Sarah Pinborough, and serves up twisty, sexy entertainment in the form of a well-acted, visually polished beach read for television. It’s not great art–it’s quite silly, in fact–but once you start watching you’ll have no choice but to keep going, because you’ll be compelled to know what happens next.

The show, set in London, follows a single mum named Louise (the tremendously likeable Brown) who, on a rare night out, has a literal run-in with a handsome stranger at a bar that leads to a kiss. The next day, Louise finds out that the man is Dr. David Ferguson (Bateman), a new psychiatrist at the office where she works as a secretary. They agree to start fresh, like nothing happened. Louise won’t even judge him for kissing her even though he’s married.

Behind Her Eyes, courtesy Netflix 2021

And boy is he ever married. His wife, Adele (Hewson, who is the singer Bono’s daughter), adores him, but something is definitely up with her. David is cold and distant with her, and there are hints that something bad happened recently that necessitated them moving to London. David keeps her heavily medicated and basically imprisoned in their palatial home, where she lounges around in expensive pajamas all day, remembering the time she spent in a rehab clinic with her friend Rob (Aramayo).

One day Adele sneaks out of the house, and Louise has a literal run-in with her, too, which leads to a friendship, as Louise feels sorry for how isolated she is. Meanwhile, Louise and David can’t stay away from each other, and start having a full-on affair. Louise is a kind, empathetic person who’s a little bit dissatisfied with her life, and the Fergusons bring some excitement into her world.

And that’s all you should know for plot. The less you know, the better, not that you would be able to predict the outrageously nutty twist anyway. The big reveal that comes toward the end of the show is borderline “so bad it’s good,” and not everyone will like it. But no one can deny that it’s audacious. You have to see it to believe it.

The takeaway:

If you’re in the mood for a good old-fashioned erotic thriller that will keep you guessing right up until the end, you’ll end up watching all six episodes of Behind Her Eyes in a sitting or two. The charismatic cast makes up for some occasionally dodgy writing–and sometimes the dodgy writing is part of the fun.

Watch it with:

Someone with whom you can pause between episodes and discuss your theories about what’s going on and what’s going to happen next, and can turn to and say “WHAAAAAT?” Make sure the kids are asleep, though, because it gets pretty racy.

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