Big Little Lies (miniseries)
|Big Little Lies|
Opening title card, showing the Bixby Creek Bridge
|Created by||David E. Kelley|
|Based on||Big Little Lies
by Liane Moriarty
|Written by||David E. Kelley|
|Directed by||Jean-Marc Vallée|
|Opening theme||"Cold Little Heart" by Michael Kiwanuka|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||7 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||52–58 minutes|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Original release||February 19– April 2, 2017|
Big Little Lies is an American drama HBO miniseries created and written by David E. Kelley, based on the novel by Liane Moriarty. The series began filming in January 2016. The miniseries comprises seven episodes, all directed by Jean-Marc Vallée. It premiered on February 19, 2017, and concluded on April 2, 2017.
The series garnered critical acclaim and received 16 Emmy Award nominations with 8 wins, including Outstanding Limited Series. Director Jean-Marc Vallée, and actors Nicole Kidman, Alexander Skarsgård and Laura Dern won awards in their individual categories; while writer David E. Kelley and actresses Reese Witherspoon and Shailene Woodley received nominations for their work.
Cast and characters
- Reese Witherspoon as Madeline Martha Mackenzie
- Nicole Kidman as Celeste Wright
- Shailene Woodley as Jane Chapman
- Alexander Skarsgård as Perry Wright, Celeste's husband
- Adam Scott as Ed Mackenzie, Madeline's husband
- Zoë Kravitz as Bonnie Carlson, Nathan's second wife
- James Tupper as Nathan Carlson, Madeline's ex-husband
- Jeffrey Nordling as Gordon Klein, Renata's husband
- Laura Dern as Renata Klein
- Iain Armitage as Ziggy Chapman, Jane's son
- Sarah Baker as Thea Cunningham
- Sarah Burns as Gabrielle
- P. J. Byrne as Principal Nippal
- Santiago Cabrera as Joseph
- Darby Camp as Chloe Mackenzie, Madeline's younger daughter
- Hong Chau as Jackie
- Kelen Coleman as Harper Stimson
- Cameron Crovetti as Josh Wright, Celeste's son
- Nicholas Crovetti as Max Wright, Celeste's son
- Merrin Dungey as Detective Adrienne Quinlan
- Ivy George as Amabella Klein, Renata's daughter
- Virginia Kull as Ms. Barnes
- Chloe Coleman as Skye Carlson, Bonnie's daughter
- Kathryn Newton as Abigail Carlson, Madeline's elder daughter
- Molly Hagan as Dr. Moriarty
- Larry Sullivan as Oren
- David Monahan as Bernard
- Kathreen Khavari as Samantha
- Joseph Cross as Tom, Madeline and Celeste's favourite cafe owner
- Robin Weigert as Dr. Amanda Reisman, Perry and Celeste's therapist
- Larry Bates as Stu
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||U.S. viewers
|1||"Somebody's Dead"||Jean-Marc Vallée||David E. Kelley||February 19, 2017||1.13|
|At a public school in Monterey, a murder suddenly occurs on trivia night, but neither the victim nor the murderer are revealed. Backtracking to the first day of school, the families of five first-graders are introduced. Madeline Martha Mackenzie is a strong-willed, wealthy, and feared alpha female in town with a first-grade daughter and teenage daughter from an earlier marriage. Her friend, retired lawyer Celeste Wright, is the mother of twin sons who are also beginning at that same school. New to town is Jane Chapman – a young single mother raising her son, Ziggy. Renata Klein's daughter Amabella accuses Ziggy of attempting to choke her, which he denies. Madeline and Celeste befriend Jane. Secrets are revealed, including that Madeline is struggling to cope with her ex-husband Nathan's marriage to a yoga instructor named Bonnie and also trying to build a relationship with her older daughter. Celeste appears to have a very happy life with her husband Perry, but he starts to show signs of being violent. Jane's motives for moving to Monterey are unknown.|
|2||"Serious Mothering"||Jean-Marc Vallée||David E. Kelley||February 24, 2017
February 26, 2017 (HBO)
|Perry lashes out at Celeste when he discovers he missed orientation at the school, but Celeste lets it slide. Jane goes around looking for work with little success. Madeline goes on the warpath with Renata when it is revealed she didn't invite Ziggy to Amabella's birthday party. Ed questions Madeline's devotion to him when she continues to complain about seeing Nathan with Bonnie all the time. Madeline is further disturbed when Bonnie takes her oldest daughter Abby to Planned Parenthood. Nathan tries to come to a peaceful resolution with Ed about their parenting of Abby, but Ed senses Nathan trying to intimidate him and stands firm against him. Madeline's youngest daughter Chloe and Bonnie's daughter Skye try to mend the wounds between Ziggy and Amabella, but it leads to an incident of unwanted affection, and the parents of the four children are all called into the principal's office, leading Jane to have a flashback of an unwanted episode.|
|3||"Living the Dream"||Jean-Marc Vallée||David E. Kelley||March 5, 2017||1.04|
|Perry chokes Celeste when he believes she deliberately left him out of a family gathering, after which Celeste threatens to leave him. Renata's party for Amabella is a huge success, but she is ultimately upset when Madeline had invited Amabella's closest friends and Ziggy to Disney on Ice on the same day. At therapy, Perry claims his outbursts are out of fear that Celeste does not love him, which Celeste tries to deny. When Abby's academic performance starts to decline, her guidance counselor believes it is being caused by stress at home, so Abby decides to stay with Nathan much to Madeline's dismay. Jane gets Ziggy involved with more extracurricular activities and helps him put together a family tree for school with Madeline's help. Jane lashes out at Ziggy when he insists on putting his father's name on the tree, and Jane confides to Madeline that Ziggy was the result of rape by a man named Saxon Banks whom she has not seen since.|
|4||"Push Comes to Shove"||Jean-Marc Vallée||David E. Kelley||March 12, 2017||1.04|
Abigail moves in with Nathan and Bonnie.
Celeste legally represents Joseph and Madeline in a meeting with the Mayor regarding their production of the controversial Avenue Q. Celeste successfully convinces the Mayor to allow the play to go ahead, and in the process realizes that she desires to return to work. She asks her therapist how best to broach this subject with Perry, but Dr. Reisman is more concerned with why Celeste is afraid to do so. At home, the increasingly insecure Perry tells Celeste he does not want her to attend any future meetings. When she refuses, he grabs her by the throat, but quickly relinquishes when one of their children enters the room.
Joseph and Madeline kiss, and it is revealed they had an affair a year ago.
Madeline locates a man named Saxon Baker whom she believes to be the alias of Saxon Banks. She shares this information with Jane and Celeste, and they plan to travel to San Luis Obispo together to confront him. Jane comments that she would kill Saxon Banks if she could, but quickly dismisses the remark as a joke when Madeline becomes concerned.Ms. Barnes notices that Amabella is quiet and suspects she is still being hurt by a classmate. Despite Amabella's assertions that she and Ziggy are friends, Ms. Barnes requests that Jane take Ziggy to a child psychologist for evaluation. The psychologist believes that Ziggy is innocent, and that he may actually be being bullied himself. A follow-up appointment is scheduled.
|5||"Once Bitten"||Jean-Marc Vallée||David E. Kelley||March 19, 2017||1.17|
Nathan spots Jane at the gun range and tells Madeline. Although Jane reassures Madeline that she carries a gun solely for its psychological benefits, Madeline begins to regret tracking down Saxon Baker.
Renata discovers a bite mark on Amabella's arm, but Amabella refuses to disclose who bit her. Renata assumes it is Ziggy and a meeting is held between Jane and the school principal. Jane becomes concerned that the school community will learn Ziggy is the product of rape and be further prejudiced against him.
Madeline reads on Abigail's Facebook page that she is undertaking a "secret project" but is frustrated when Nathan knows nothing about it. Joseph approaches Madeline at lunch and insists she take a drive with him to talk. He wants to continue their relationship and is convinced Madeline still has feelings for him, but she maintains that their affair is over. During the drive they are involved in a car crash. Madeline is uninjured, while Joseph suffers a concussion and collapsed lung. The incident raises suspicion from community members, including Ed, and Joseph's wife, Tori, as to why Madeline and Joseph were driving together.
Perry is angered when Celeste does not ask the twins to tidy their toys. She responds by telling him to clean up the mess himself, triggering further violence from Perry, followed by aggressive sex and him breaking down in tears. Later, Dr. Reisman confronts Celeste with her belief that she is being abused and, although initially reluctant to accept this, Celeste eventually reveals that she has previously feared for her life and considered leaving Perry many times. The therapist urges Celeste to reflect on the future implications of Perry's behavior for their children.Jane secretly travels to San Luis Obispo to confront Saxon Baker, taking her gun with her.
|6||"Burning Love"||Jean-Marc Vallée||David E. Kelley||March 26, 2017||1.39|
Jane reveals to Madeline that she went to confront Saxon Baker, but discovered he was not the Saxon Banks that had raped her. Madeline attempts to convince Jane to give up the search.
Ms. Barnes tells Jane a petition has begun to have Ziggy suspended. Jane confronts Renata, assuming she is the culprit, and, in the heat of the altercation, gouges her eye. She later apologizes, having come to the realization that they have both been acting to protect their children. Renata forgives Jane and reveals her plan to schedule playdates with each of Amabella's classmates to find out which one is hurting her.
Celeste's therapist advises her to prepare to leave Perry by renting an apartment and disclosing the abuse to friends, who could serve as witnesses in a potential custody battle. Later, Perry tries to initiate sex with Celeste. When rejected, he grabs her by the hair and she defensively hits him in the groin with a tennis racquet, fracturing his penis. Returning from the hospital, he tells Celeste she is "lucky" he didn't kill her. The following day she begins looking for an apartment.
At the opening night of Avenue Q, Tori confronts Madeline with suspicions that she had an affair with Joseph, whom she believes is still in love with Madeline. At home, Madeline and Ed have another argument about her lack of passion toward him, which culminates in her alluding to having made a "terrible mistake". However, before she can elaborate, Ed urges her not to say anymore.Nathan discovers that Abigail's "secret project" is auctioning her virginity to raise money for Amnesty International. When Madeline is informed, she furiously confronts Abigail, disclosing her affair in the process.
|7||"You Get What You Need"||Jean-Marc Vallée||David E. Kelley||April 2, 2017||1.86|
Most of the episode takes place on the day of the trivia night. Following another beating, Celeste decides to leave Perry the day after the trivia night. Ziggy confesses to Jane that it was Max who choked Amabella and that he has also been violent towards Skye. Madeline talks to Joseph about his wife knowing about their affair; their meeting ends in an argument. After confiding to Madeline over coffee, Jane tells Celeste that her son is the bully. Celeste goes home and asks Max to be truthful with her.
When preparing to leave for the trivia night, Perry sees a text message on Celeste's phone from the landlady of her secret apartment. He confronts her about it on the way to the party. Once at the venue, he tries to bar her from leaving the car, but she manages to escape when Renata and her husband come to greet them. At the party, Celeste tries to avoid Perry, and tells Renata that Max is the bully. Meanwhile, Madeline has gotten drunk and runs away during Ed's performance. Jane goes after her and finds her on top of concrete stairs at the back of the venue. Madeline is crying and tells Jane that she cheated on Ed. Renata also goes after them and apologizes to Jane for having blamed Ziggy.
Celeste joins the women, followed by Perry. Bonnie, who noticed Perry and Celeste arguing earlier, follows them and watches the group from afar. Jane realizes that Perry is the man who raped her. He pleads with Celeste to come back home with him, and when she declines, he attacks her, with Madeline, Jane and Renata struggling to control him. Bonnie rushes in and pushes Perry down the stairs, killing him.In the police interviews, the women all confirm there was a fight with Perry, but claim he fell accidentally. While one of the detectives is suspicious, the police cannot prove anything as the women's stories match each other. In the last scene, the five women and their children are shown enjoying a day on the beach while being watched by the detective through binoculars.
Big Little Lies has received widespread critical acclaim from television critics. Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 92%, based on 88 reviews, with an average rating of 8.05/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Bitingly funny and highly addictive, Big Little Lies is a twisty, thrilling, enlightening ride led by a first-rate cast." Metacritic reported a score of 75 out of 100, based on 42 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Possible second season
In July 2017, HBO revealed that a second season is possible, and that Moriarty had been asked to write a story for a second season.
Blu-ray and DVD
The miniseries was released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 1, 2017.
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