This review is based on Lie With Me's opening episode.
"This country is full of things that can kill you," says Charlie Brooks' Anna, ominously. Lie With Me, Channel 5's latest addition to its ever-growing roster of dramas, has zero interest in treading softly, and it's all the more entertaining for it.
The thriller follows the former EastEnders star as a woman who is determined to press reset and begin a new life in Melbourne with her Australian husband Jake (Neighbours' Brett Tucker) and their two children.
But despite having all of the trappings of a dazzling life, including a home which looks like it was lifted straight out of House Beautiful, the couple are anything but happy.
Anna and Jake's raised voices bounce off the walls as their new live-in nanny Becky (Phoebe Roberts) scrambles to distract their kindergarten-aged daughter with colouring-in and toys.
There are hints early on that the newest addition to the Fallmont household is not all that she seems. During her own unauthorised tour, she enters their bathroom where she stumbles upon Anna's medicine cupboard. Its contents boast an assortment of pills which have clearly failed to dampen the anxieties which are always bubbling just beneath the surface, except for those moments when they wriggle free.
During a late-night confessional, a teary-eyed Anna confesses to Becky that her husband cheated on her when they lived in London, and she's convinced that he's up to his old tricks again. The late-night texting and extended work lunches set Anna's heart racing and her head spinning.
But as Jake is quick to remind her, she hasn't been taking her medication, a bottle of which Anna hurls through one of their bedroom windows during yet another altercation. Like we said, Lie With Me isn't concerned with subtlety or nuance, either in its plot or dialogue, or in Brooks' performance, which remains heightened throughout. But not only does none of that matter, it works in the context of this show.
There are certainly aspects of the narrative that throw up engaging, if well-worn, discussions such as the "crazy" woman trope. But it's the melodrama, including a body bag containing an as yet unidentified person inside and a scandalous reveal at the end of the series' opener that will ensure you'll be back for more.
What feels less certain is whether the story will be able to avoid repetition and sustain that intrigue across its remaining three episodes. The central premise doesn't offer up anything new or radical, so you may well find that it runs out of steam. But on the basis of its premiere, Lie With Me will do just nicely if you're looking for a slice of escapism to spice up your Monday evening.
Lie With Me airs tonight (July 12) at 9pm on Channel 5.
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