Secret Smile

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This article is about the television series. For the Semisonic song, see Secret Smile (Semisonic song).
Secret Smile
Secret Smile (DVD cover art).jpg
Secret Smile DVD cover
Created by Nicci Gerrard
Sean French
Kate Brooke
Written by Nicci Gerrard
Sean French
Kate Brooke
Directed by Christopher Menaul
Starring David Tennant
Kate Ashfield
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of episodes 2
Producer(s) Granada Productions
Running time 90 minutes
Original network ITV
Original release 12 – 13 December 2005

Secret Smile is a British drama serial in two parts shown by ITV in December 2005. It is set in Acton, London and is based on the Nicci French book of the same name, directed by Christopher Menaul and starring David Tennant, Claire Goose and Kate Ashfield.


When Miranda (Kate Ashfield) meets attractive and confident Brendan (David Tennant), a seemingly harmless fling ensues. But her attempt at breaking it off with him leads to a passionate web of lies, deception and death.

Plot summary[edit]

While attending her friend David's birthday party at an ice skating rink, Miranda Cotton meets the handsome Brendan Block. The two sleep together that night, and begin a relationship. However Miranda is quickly unnerved by his intensity. Ten days into their relationship, Miranda arrives home to find that Brendan has let himself in and has gone through her belongings (such as her teenage diary). Miranda promptly ends the relationship, causing Brendan to storm out of her flat after verbally abusing her.

A month later, Miranda is contacted by her sister Kerry, inviting her to meet her new boyfriend, who happens to be one of Miranda's exes. As she lists all the possibilities, Kerry reveals that she is dating Brendan Block, who then arrives and they proceed to have lunch. Miranda warns Brendan against hurting her sister, but Brendan replies that he is genuinely in love with Kerry.

As time passes, it becomes apparent to Miranda that Brendan is using his newfound engagement to her sister and increasingly close relationship with her family as a way of getting at her. With no proof, Miranda is forced to accept the fact that her family have become close to Brendan; in particular her younger, bipolar brother Troy (Robert Daniel Lowe). Miranda is cautious of their relationship, as Brendan seems to be having a good influence on Troy, making the rest of the family happy. Troy and Miranda's previously close relationship however becomes strained, especially when Miranda learns that under Brendan's advisement Troy has stopped taking medication and seeing his therapist. When Troy commits suicide, Miranda's concerns about Brendan are strengthened. She believes Brendan's influence on her brother had pushed him into a suicidal state, although he appears very emotional at the funeral.

Nobody believes Miranda when she presents them with theories about Brendan, and she finds herself losing control over her family and her life as he continues to plan his wedding to Kerry. As Miranda is ordered to make peace with Brendan in order to keep a relationship with her family, she arrives at her family's home to realise that Brendan has dumped Kerry for her best friend, Laura.

After discovering that Laura and Brendan married, time goes on without Miranda and the Blocks having any contact. Three months later Laura contacts Miranda, suggesting they talk. Miranda agrees and waits at a pub for her, but Brendan arrives and accuses her of meddling in his marriage. After an argument, Miranda leaves the pub and goes to check on Laura. When she reaches her house, Miranda discovers Laura's dead body in the bath tub. Brendan is suspected of killing his wife, but a prosecution is not made on the grounds of lack of evidence.

When Laura's belongings are given to her by Brendan, Miranda discovers a number of overdue bills addressed to him, confirming her theories. Upon finding a letter from his estranged sister, Miranda becomes obsessed with proving Brendan's guilt. She tracks Brendan down, who by this time is living in an upper class apartment with a new girlfriend named Naomi.

Miranda attempts to warn Naomi about Brendan's violent and possessive nature, but she is thrown out by Brendan who had returned unexpectedly. He takes out an injunction on Miranda, accusing her of harassment and it is granted by the court. Receiving a call from Naomi shortly after, Miranda cautiously goes to the apartment not knowing it is a setup by Brendan in order to have her arrested. Naomi contacts Miranda from outside, telling her to leave, and Miranda narrowly escapes Brendan and the police. Meeting Naomi further down the road, she tells Miranda that Brendan became violent and she feared for her safety.

After deciding that Naomi would be safe staying with Kerry, Miranda returns to her flat to finish packing as she had recently sold her flat. That night Brendan arrives and angrily searches for Naomi, to no avail. Miranda coolly offers him a drink as she finishes packing, and they have a conversation about the last few months. Brendan admits that Miranda had pushed him into doing some things he wouldn't usually do, before proceeding to rape her in her living room before chasing her into the bathroom, where he admits he could never let her go. Miranda screams as he starts to attack her.

The next day, a colleague of Miranda's finds the flat in a state of disarray from the previous night, as well as copious amounts of blood and tape in the bathroom. Upon the conclusion that Miranda has been murdered, an investigation ensues; with Brendan as the prime suspect. He denies any involvement, only stating that he'd been there the night before, where they had consensual sex. Naomi, while packing her things, finds a set of bloodied keys in Brendan's suit pocket and hands it in to the police. Brendan is arrested for Miranda's murder and taken away.

Brendan is sentenced to life imprisonment, serving 22 years before applying for parole. He continues to deny committing the crime and as he looks up, the faces of Naomi and Miranda's family look down on him, satisfied as he is taken away. Six months later, Miranda's family receive three plane tickets from Naomi, asking them to come to Australia where she now resides. They reluctantly fly to Melbourne, as Naomi has also mentioned that they can stay with her. When they arrive, they meet Naomi at the airport and through the crowd of people walks Miranda.

A flashback explains that Miranda and Naomi planned to drug Brendan by slipping a pill into his glass the night he arrived at the flat. Naomi is shown drawing blood from Miranda, which Miranda then spreads around the bathroom after Brendan slips unconscious after the encounter in the bathroom. She drags Brendan into the bedroom and plants his fingerprints onto his set of keys which have been smeared with her blood. Then posing as Laura, Miranda flees England to Australia to stay with Naomi's parents until Brendan had been arrested.

After successfully putting Brendan away, effectively saving Naomi and herself, Miranda pauses to think about her brother Troy, who is the only person missing at the table where she and her family are happily eating.



The serial was broadcast in the United States on BBC America as part of Mystery Mondays: Crimes of Passion [1].

External links[edit]