Lies and Deceit is a Spanish thriller series about a high school teacher who seeks justice against a reputed surgeon who raped her. It is currently streaming on Netflix.
Laura (Angela Cremonte) wakes up with hazed-out memories of being assaulted by her date, Xavier (Javier Rey). A reputed surgeon and single parent of one of her students, he denies all allegations and claims there has been a misunderstanding.
The plot immediately develops into a classic he said/ she said mystery, but the truth is revealed to the viewers halfway through the series.
The case gets intertwined with the personal crises of other supporting characters. Laura’s sister Cata(Manuela Velasco), who happens to be Xavier’s coworker has secrets from her husband Sergio(Victor Dupla), so does Laura’s former partner.
Xavier’s son Lucas (Óscar Ortuño) is kept unaware of his mother’s past. Multiple women have their voices silenced by power-wielding men. Lies and deceit, directed towards victims and loved ones alike, form a central motif in the story.
Angela Cremonte’s performance is endearingly powerful. Her act of conveying sentiments about confusion, anger, and loss would stay long after you have finished the show.
Javier Rey is brilliant throughout, he would not let you doubt his convictions for a second, it is what holds the mystery together till it is revealed to the audience.
Óscar Ortuño’s Lucas stands out perhaps the most as a conflicted teenager. The supporting characters do not disappoint, particularly Manuela Valesco as Cata and Itziar Atienza as detective Daniela.
The series lives up to its promise, there is an element of suspense and the story would captivate you till the end. The music compliments the cinematography and the pace of the film.
The interesting bit, however, is that the show doesn’t let itself be tagged as a thriller solely. It is a cross-cultural critique of how the burden of proof lies with the victim. In the second episode itself, we see how the police fail to serve the victim’s interests.
The fact that the show is a rendition of the British series, is an attestation of how corrupt and indolent the institutions of justice are across the world.
While it starts fine, the pacing seems rushed, especially in the end. The writing is mostly cliched and predictable.
When it begins, the idea of false rape allegations ruining powerful men’s life is concentrated upon to an extent that it feels exploitative.
The revelation of the criminal occurs too early and it mutes the tension, prepones the climax. The suspense could have been extended a bit longer and revealed through some of Xavier’s present actions instead of using a third-person flashback. His eventual fate was unexpected and unnecessary.
Character development is almost negligible except that of Lucas’s.
While it is worth watching once, the overall experience and performances are not worth revisiting. Instead of presenting the truth in a lackadaisical manner that culminates in an all’s well that ends well fashion, it would have been better to have viewers play a part in peeling the layers of the mystery till the end.