American TV just loves to remake foreign imports. The CW hit Jane the Virgin is a remake of a telenovela and NBC's The Slap is based on an Australian drama of the same name. ABC's getting in on it, too, with its own version of the Aussie series Secrets and Lies , premiering Sunday night. The series follows a man named Ben Crawford (played by Ryan Phillippe) who stumbles upon the dead body of a young boy, but suddenly becomes the prime suspect in the kid's murder and it completely turns his life upside down. But how much will the U.S. version of the show resemble the Aussie original?
It looks like there are definitely some changes, like the names and a few of the characters, but the main concept is still definitely kept in tact. The series is about a man who goes from being an all-around good guy to alleged child killer and crusader to find the young boy's killer himself so he can be proven innocent. Quite a tough feat for just one guy. "You'll literally watch me degrade over these 10 episodes as I grieve," Phillippe told Deleware Online. "It's all very real."
Here's what has changed as Secrets and Lies crossed the Pacific and landed in the U.S.
The Character Ben
In the original Aussie series, a face familiar to American audiences played Ben — Martin Henderson, who you might know from Bride and Prejudice and the short-lived Shonda Rhimes medical drama Off the Map.
In the Australian version, Ben's last name is Gundelach and he discovers the body of four-year-old Thom Murphy in the woods near his home. The American version has Phillippe's Ben stumbling upon Tom's body while on a jog on a trail... which could be by his house.
One of the biggest and most noticeable differences is that the detective hot on Ben's tail in the American version is female. Lewis plays Det. Andrea Cornell, the brilliant detective assigned to this case. "She's unreadable, poker-faced, Lews told the Los Angeles Times. "Per [executive producer] Barbie Kligman, Andrea's supposed to be the smartest person in the room at all times. If she's saying something out of place, it's because she's 10 steps ahead."
In the Aussie version, the detective is the OCD-addled Ian Cornielle and played by actor Anthony Hayes. "He has a very odd way of operating," Hayes told the New Zealand publication Stuff . "Usually cops in TV shows or films are quite aggressive and they use their weight to get information, whereas Cornielle is a master manipulator and a master operator. He will drop a question and watch people unravel – that's how he approaches his work. It's very clever. In every scene he has an odd approach to it and motivations that aren't clear."
I don't want to spoil anyone, but the Australian version of the show reveals secrets on secrets on secrets. Which tells me I should expect the unexpected from the American version. Will be the same as the revelations on the Australian show? We shall have to watch and see.