While watching HBO’s “The Undoing” a couple of months back, I remember thinking, “Wow, Nicole Kidman’s girlfriend (Lily Rabe) is great – I’d love a show about her.” Amazon Prime Video’s “Tell Me Your Secrets” is definitely not that, but it does star Rabe, and, at the end of the day, I think that’s all I really wanted.
A far cry from the high-powered New York lawyer she portrays in “The Undoing,” Rabe’s character in “Tell Me Your Secrets,” Karen Miller, finds herself in an uncommonly isolated and unstable position when she leaves prison and enters witness protection after informing on her serial killer ex-boyfriend, Kit Parker (Xavier Samuel).
The first episode opens on a glass-separated conversation between Miller and Mary Barlow (Amy Brenneman), the mother of one of Parker’s presumed victims. Barlow is convinced Miller hasn’t been completely honest about her involvement in the disappearance of her daughter, Theresa.
By the end of the first episode, you’re not quite sure who to trust or root for, and it doesn’t get much easier from there.
Witness protection places Miller in Saint James, Texas, where her caseworker, Pete Guillory (Enrique Murciano), assigns her a new name.
“I want you to tell me about ‘Emma Hall;’ write down three qualities that you want for her,” Guillory says.
Miller deflects but eventually complies. She wants to be – wants “Emma” to be “kind, brave and safe.”
Miller’s past, what little we can tell of it from the first episode, is troubled, to say the least. And that theme doesn’t end with her. Every prominent character in the show is learning to live with the knowledge of their pasts.
After Miller and Barlow, we have John Tyler, a reformed serial rapist working to redeem himself.
Accompanied by his parole officer, Tyler approaches Barlow hoping to share his – I hesitate to say – expertise with respect to hunting women in an effort to help her produce some kind of pamphlet that will raise awareness of “the gap” between perceived safety and real safety.
Barlow refuses to accept his services at first, but when news of Parker’s suicide and Miller’s release into witness protection reaches the news, Barlow feels her only hope of finding her daughter is slipping away.
So, she hires Tyler to track Miller down off the books. The job goes against everything Tyler has been trying to do to change, but Barlow promises to destroy him if he refuses.
His past sins are heinous and indubitable, so you can see why Barlow would feel justified in extorting him.
At the same time, he’s clearly broken and trying to do better. So, even knowing his past, there is a real tragedy to the fact that his only chance at doing any good in the future is now inextricably tied up with doing evil.
Unaware that she is being tracked, Miller struggles to cope as memories of her murky past and hallucinations of her present push her closer and closer to the edge and every other character right along with her. Nothing is as it seems.
“Tell Me Your Secrets” is available on Amazon Prime Video.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the Spokane7 email newsletter
Get the day’s top entertainment headlines delivered to your inbox every morning.