How does “murder suspect” look on a college application? The Bayview Four are about to find out.
Peacock’s new young adult murder mystery “One of Us Is Lying,” is based on Karen M. McManus’ bestselling novel of the same name, follows four high school students dealing with the fallout after another classmate, cyberbully Simon (Mark McKenna), dies of an allergic reaction during detention.
Few, we quickly learn, are sad to see Simon die; through his barely anonymous blog, he’s been revealing his classmates’ darkest secrets, either out of cruelty or for revenge. His last four victims just happen to be the four in detention with him when he died.
The students fall into traditional teenage cliches: Bronwyn, the nerd, Nate, the criminal, Addy, the princess, and Cooper, the jock. But as “One of Us is Lying” unfolds, it becomes clear each is haunted by their own secrets.
“They’re not just your stereotypical archetypes,” Chibuikem Uche, who plays Cooper, said. “For Cooper more specifically, we’ve seen the stereotypical jock a million and one times. At a point, people know what to expect. To get a character who is just finding himself and dealing with the world around him … that is such a beautiful addition to what makes Cooper himself.”
Annalisa Cochrane, who plays popular girl Addy, said it’s these typical roles that eventually break each of the four characters.
“She’s still your stereotypical teen movie princess who kind of seems to have it all, who seems to have the perfect life, who’s really holding it all together. She’s got the hot boyfriend, she’s got the group of popular friends, she has the right makeup, the right clothes. But Addy’s not doing well underneath it all. She’s trying to be something she’s not. She’s trying to upkeep something she’s not,” Cochrane said.
“You don’t even know the consequences of your actions; you kind of just do things to survive day by day, and then all of a sudden you’ve created this whole storm.”
As the investigation into Simon’s murder continues, their secrets get pulled to the surface, not by the blogger this time but by police determined to find a killer. And they’re doing it surrounded by teenage gossips who love to see each other fall.
Then there’s Nate, the high school drug dealer.
“He realizes that everybody looks down on him,” actor Cooper van Grootel said. “He’s not sour, but I think he doesn’t really take any s--- from people. He does his own thing, and he knows who he is.”
Nate has to learn to rely, at the very least, on his partners in crime, so to speak. As the series goes on, the Bayview Four switch between being friends and enemies, sometimes backstabbing, sometimes protecting.
“They turn, they team up, they turn again,” Cochrane said. “They go through so many ups and downs.”
FANS AND NEWCOMERS
In its May 2017 release, “One of Us Is Lying” the book spent 166 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, a compelling tale of two cruelties: one of murder, the other of teenagers. It’s drawn comparisons from everything to “The Breakfast Club” to “I Know What You Did Last Summer.” Millions of people have already solved the murder.
The challenge, for both the writers and actors, becomes appealing to both fans who know the book word-for-word and newcomers to Bayview High.
“They do it justice while adding significant but very positive changes to the show,” Marianly Tejada, who plays Bronwyn, said. I think fans are going to be happy with the results.”