TV Review: ‘Tell Me Your Secrets’ On Amazon Prime

Review by James Lindorf

From the mind of veteran television writer and producer Harriet Warner “Tell Me Your Secrets” is the latest original project for Amazon Prime Video. “Tell Me Your Secrets” revolves around a trio of characters, Emma (Rabe), the former girlfriend and possible accomplice of a serial killer, Mary (Brenneman), a grieving mother obsessed with finding her missing daughter who may have been one of the victims, and John (Linklater) a former serial predator desperate to find redemption. This intricate thriller interweaves their stories, pushing them to the edge and blurring the line between victim and perpetrator. “Tell Me Your Secrets” stars Lily Rabe (American Horror Story), Amy Brenneman (The Leftovers), Hamish Linklater (Legion), and Enrique Murciano (The Blacklist) as a duplicitous government psychiatrist. All ten episodes of “Tell Me Your Secrets” are now available on Amazon Prime Video.

The two brightest elements of the series are its excellent performances and the dark and encompassing atmosphere. Those two elements draw strong comparisons to the fantastic first season of “True Detective.” While it lacks the star power of that show, “Tell Me Your Secrets” makes up for it with an incredibly deep cast led by real-life couple Rabe and Linklater, who pull off damaged in unique and interesting ways. Though he gets the least amount of screen time among the three, my personal favorite was Linklater. He plays the role much like an addict fighting against relapse, but instead of alcohol or drugs, his vice is stalking and harming women. Once Mary sets John on Emma’s trail, it is a foregone conclusion of where his story will end but watching his devolution from earnest helper to monster is the most engaging plot. Mary’s story is the second best because the families of victims in movies are typically untouchable in their grief or glorified in their quest for vengeance. It is an unexpected take to highlight their obsession with solving the mystery and the occasional thirst for attention. Credit for the foreboding atmosphere goes to Warner and the trio of cinematographers that worked on the series, especially Denis Lenoir, who shot the first episode. His use of a muted palette set the visual tone for what was to come.

It is clear that Warner had many great complex ideas when she sat down to pen what would become “Tell Me Your Secrets.” Unfortunately, the series is over-stuffed with many disjointed storylines. The failure to excise these smaller plots to create a more cohesive product means the series comes up short when again compared to “True Detective.” The performances and the fact that each storyline has merit, no matter how tenuous it is connected to the main plot, is what keeps your attention. “Tell Me Your Secrets” season one would rate a B-, maybe a B, if you really connect with the characters. With more attention to pacing and telling a concise and consistent story, a second season could be a complete success.

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