Third-episode verdict: Secrets and Lies (Network Ten/Channel 5)

The BarrometerA Barrometer rating of 2

In Australia: Thursdays, 9.30pm, Network Ten
In the UK: Acquired by Channel 5

While on one side of the Pacific, Martin Henderson is a cop being blackmailed after someone else finds the body of a child, on the other side of the Pacific and closer to home, Henderson is a regular guy being investigated by the cops after he finds the body of a child. However, the big difference between The Red Road and Secrets and Lies is that Secrets and Lies is actually enjoyable.

Effectively Australia’s answer to Broadchurch, much of it is focused on the community’s reaction to the boy’s death, most of it focused negatively on Henderson. However, here the police are the bad guys, trying to pin the crime on Henderson, while it’s left to Henderson to investigate his own community and find out who actually killed his neighbour’s son.

After a first episode that was all set up, little mystery, the second and third episodes have been more satisfying affairs, finally giving us alternative suspects (Ben Lawson from The Deep End), possible motivations, clues to the identity of the possible murderer and more. They’ve not been totally satisfying, however, largely because the suspect pool is so small at the moment, the murderer either isn’t a member of it or is being very well concealed by the writers, and as soon as one suspect is introduced, he or she is almost instantaneously given an air-tight alibi. So far, so The Killing, though. 

Despite making the investigating police officer as plausible as an Agent from The Matrix, largely this has been a quality affair, despite its Network Ten home. Henderson makes a pleasing, if continually 50% naked everyman, one who makes a glorious series of mistakes every episode and gets beaten up in fights at almost every turn. The show keeps the screws on him just tight enough that there’s a palpable tension as we feel the fear of possibly being arrested for a crime we didn’t commit, one that everyone else we know thinks we did. There’s an additional tension from the show having the real murderer doing his or her best to frame Henderson, too, and from watching Henderson and his family’s lives slowly fall apart.

It’s definitely worth a watch, something few people in Australia are currently doing. Give it a whirl if you can.

Rob’s rating: 2
Rob’s prediction: Cancelled after one season


  • I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.