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Welp. According to my iPhone screen time, I spent approximately 6 hours watching the new suspense drama Behind Her Eyes last night. Cost-benefit analysis, that means that I invested half the time it takes to watch Shoah or 30 percent more time than The Godfather. However, unlike either of those entertainments of massive cultural impact, Behind Her Eyes is a pretty slight story of marital discord. Don't get me wrong—It's a marital discord story that completely sucks you in to its bananas narrative that builds and builds until you're eyes-peeled reveling in not one but two gut-punch twist endings. It's not art, but this six-episode series is totally worth staying up late on a school night for.
The story centers on sexy psychiatrist—known profession of strapping hunks—David (Tom Bateman), who has just moved to London to start a new job. He lives with his wife Adele (Eve Hewson) in a posh minimalist home, but oops, he literally runs into winsome single mom Louise (Simona Brown) at the local bar, ends up having a clandestine drink and a kiss with her before muttering "I can't do this" and racing home. The next day—what are the odds!—Louise goes into the small psychiatric office where she's a secretary and spies a new shrink on his first day with his wife, who turn out to be yes, the only other two adults we've been introduced to in the first 10 minutes of this program, Dr. David and his wife Adele. Adele inexplicably comes to work with her husband on his first day, which is not really explained except for she seems sort of clingy and maybe that's an English thing?
Suffice it to say, Dr. David and secretary Louise try to be profesh but chemistry and plotlines being what they are, soon the two are making the beast with two backs (because British Netflix is the new Shakespeare) in a superheated manner just this side of Bridgerton. David explains to his wife Louise that he's out late because he's "working with addicts," which what even does that mean exactly? However Louise accepts this explanation and pursues her hobbies of walking around the house in fluttering kimonos when she's not laying back on a duvet midday and staring into the ceiling. She's got no friends, until—again, what are the odds!—she literally runs into her husband's secretary-lover on the street corner and the two go for a coffee.
Granted: As a black-and-white synopsis (all of which is shown in the trailer, so not counting any of it as a spoiler), this may inspire Why would I waste time with this flimsy crap? But that's the magic of this show, that its pulpy plotline (based on the 2017 novel of the same name by Sarah Pinborough) is like entering the world of a trashy beach read, except it's February and we're all sofa-bound. Another reason you're drawn in is that you don't know who to root for, other than single mom Louise, who seems to be the most sympathetic character, but then again, she's becoming gym buddies with the wife of her boss-lover, so she's no angel. And Dr. David definitely seems like he's sketch, with the way he calls his wife on their home land line at strictly designated times and gives her prescription meds she doesn't want. And Adele is just plain creepy, a seemingly sympathetic poor little rich girl whose parents died in a fire and who just wants friends and her husband to not be "working with addicts" until all hours.
I've left out a few key plot points because they are involved in the bananas corkscrew-twisty ending, but know that interspersed with this primary love triangle narrative are flashbacks to a mental hospital stay, a weekend at a baronial country manor, metaphysical mind control and a controversial homoerotic subplot. Oh, and parents will especially appreciate that Louise's young son is shipped off on vacay with his father in France so that all these shenanigans can go down without even his 7-year-old's sense of logic intruding with a "Huh?" (And also, this allows for Bridgerton-grade busyness on mom's couch.)
And a shout-out to the principal actors for really selling the story, including the ending, which will have you thinking back through all the episodes to parse out plot details which take on a whole new meaning. Actor Eve Hewson as the wife deserves special praise for her unsettling turn as Adele. So, should you watch? In lieu of sticking your nose in a paperback on a tropical beach, Behind Her Eyes in the pulpy escape that will keep you guessing late past your bedtime.