A star-studded series that took us to an affluent Monterey community and primarily its women. In the first season, we learned that police were investigating a murder but the victim remained a secret to us until the last episode. The next season dealt with the aftermath in a diverting but less intriguing way; essentially we could have done without it, even if it did have Meryl Streep. At heart a stylish soap opera with beautiful locations, but the show also addressed parenting and domestic violence in arresting ways. Part mystery, part social satire, the story started out by entertaining us with clashes between the women but ultimately celebrated their enduring bond. Strong performances by Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman.
2017-2019:U.S. Made for TV. 14 episodes. Color. Created by David E. Kelley. Novel: Liane Moriarty. Cast: Reese Witherspoon (Madeline Mackenzie), Nicole Kidman (Celeste Wright), Shailene Woodley (Jane Chapman), Alexander Skarsgård, Adam Scott, Zoë Kravitz, Laura Dern, James Tupper, Jeffrey Nordling, Meryl Streep (19).
Trivia: The first season (which was intended as a stand-alone miniseries) was directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, the second one by Andrea Arnold.
Golden Globes: Best Limited Series or TV Movie, Actress (Kidman), Supporting Actor (Skarsgård), Supporting Actress (Dern). Emmys: Outstanding Limited Series; Directing; Actress (Kidman), Supporting Actor (Skarsgård), Supporting Actress (Dern).
Last word: “I had to say to Alex [Skarsgård], ‘Don’t be frightened just to go for it with me, because this is so important that you see that there’s a reality to it.’ It was strange. It was some of the strangest stuff I’d ever done. [Laughs] It was very exposing. I felt unbelievably vulnerable, and at times humiliated, and at times just deeply exposed. And I don’t mean physically. I mean just emotionally, and the rawness of it. There was a point in the final episode where I’m on the floor, and I just couldn’t get off the floor. I was just bare. And I remember Jean-Marc putting a towel over me in between takes, and I didn’t even notice. I just laid there. And then I thought, ‘God, I’m sort of half losing my mind here.'” (Kidman on the abuse scenes, TV Line)