Will 'Secrets And Lies' Return For Season 3? The Anthology Show Could See Its End
For the past eight weeks, Secrets And Lies Season 2 has been asking, "Who killed Kate Warner?" The identity of the person who threw the beautiful young woman from a roof in the premiere has been the driving mystery behind the season — just as the identity of little Tom Murphy's killer was the driving mystery behind Season 1 of ABC's anthology crime series. But for fans of the show, there's one mystery even more pressing than the central whodunnit: namely, will Secrets And Lies be renewed for Season 3? Or will this Sunday's season finale double as the show's series finale?
Given that Secrets And Lies is two things that television audiences can't get enough of these days — an anthology (American Horror Story, Fargo) and a crime series (Making A Murderer, The People v. O.J. Simpson) — it seems only natural that ABC would want to capitalize on both of these trends by bringing the sophomore show back for a third outing. After all, Season 1 was a pleasant surprise when it premiered back in March of 2015 and earned decent, steady ratings throughout the late spring of that year, with the high-rated finale winning its Sunday night time slot above FOX's comedy line-up and CBS' The Good Wife.
Of course, Season 1 had the name recognition of Ryan Phillippe behind it, as the man suspected of killing young Tom… and unfortunately, in his absence, the show's ratings have steadily declined. His co-star Juliette Lewis, who plays Detective Andrea Cornell, is the only connective tissue between the two disparate seasons, and none of the new faces brought onboard this year — including Michael Ealy (Almost Human), Terry O'Quinn (Lost), and Jordana Brewster (Dallas) — carry quite the same star power as Phillippe.
However, Secrets And Lies' decline isn't necessarily linked to the cast. The show's scheduling could have played a factor in the ratings dip. Instead of Season 2 airing at the same time of year as Season 1, during the relatively un-competitive spring season, the second season debuted in a late September premiere. That means that not only did fans have to wait 16 months between seasons, but the show has now been airing in the crowded fall season alongside plenty of flashy, attention-grabbing new shows.
Secrets And Lies' ratings have suffered accordingly. Season 2 premiered to 4.06 million viewers, fewer than the lowest-rated episode of Season 1 — and the numbers have only gone down from there. The eight episodes of the second season so far have been averaging 3.22 million viewers, down almost 50 percent from the first season's average of 5.61 million viewers. Although renewal prognostication site TVByTheNumbers started Secrets And Lies Season 2 as a "toss-up between renewal and cancellation," it has since been downgraded to "likely to be canceled" since it became clear that the show would not be recovering from its sophomore slump.
Of course, TV renewals aren't really an exact science; sometimes it's more like reading tea leaves than doing math homework. But in Secrets And Lies' case, even the tea leaves aren't boding too well for a Season 3. But in this case, the show's anthology format works in its favor: Even if it is cancelled, at least fans can rest assured they'll get a solution to the Kate Warner mystery without fear of Season 2 ending on a hair-rending cliffhanger.
Images: Richard Cartwright/ABC