Every so often, there isn’t enough time on the Taking It Down podcast to get to all of pop culture. With “What Else?” Blaine Duncan covers some other things he’s watched, heard, or read.
When you visit New York City, it’s hard not to imagine what those beautiful brownstones and high-rise apartments look like from the inside. And who better to show you than Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant? I’d take that tour. If nothing else, HBO’s new star-driven miniseries gives viewers that access even though there are a myriad of pieces to enjoy in the puzzle that is The Undoing. And though more than enough whodunits involving the very white and very privileged world of rich coastal families exist already, the show does well by playing with viewer expectations.
The thriller stars Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant as married doctors–a psychiatrist and pediatric oncologist, respectively–who find themselves in the middle of a murder investigation that has more twists than a Manhattan subway. The limited series, based on the book You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz, capitalizes perfectly on its casting: we’ve come to expect certain specifics from Hugh Grant and Nicole Kidman.
With Hugh Grant especially, director Susanne Bier (who directs all six episodes) does something wonderful. Almost exclusively lovable and affable, the mystery reframes him in a way that can be difficult to envision (or is it?!?). It’s a perfect role for Grant, particularly anyone of a certain age who remembers that the actor himself has a bit of a sordid past.
Nicole Kidman brings a well loved, and as of late, firmly established persona of irresolution mixed with damage. How this will play out on this current series is yet to be shown, though the most recent episode “Do No Harm” hints that she may not be as pure as she seems. That it’s well played is a given.
David E. Kelley, the show’s writer, seems fully aware that viewers relish a glimpse into the upper crust of the coastal elites (he also wrote HBO’s Big Little Lies) and there’s a certain comfort of overlooking Central Park with these two actors. And sure, the show is The Night Of in private school. But that doesn’t take away from the fun of trying to guess how these two actors figure in to the suspense, if at all.
That’s a decent Sunday evening whether in NYC or not.
The Undoing airs on Sunday evenings on HBO.