The jock, the nerd, the bad boy, the queen bee and the outcast: five very different students find themselves in one life-altering detention.
Bronwyn Rojas (Marianly Tejada, “The Purge”) is top of her class, Nate Macauley (Cooper Van Grootel, “Go Karts”) is on a first-name basis with his probation officer, Addy Prentiss (Annalisa Cochrane, “Cobra Kai”) is codependent on her boyfriend and Cooper Clay (Chibuikem Uche, “The Tomorrow War”) is on track to play professional baseball.
They all end up in detention with the school’s infamous gossip blogger, Simon Kelleher (Mark McKenna, “Sing Street”), who seems to have dirt on each of his fellow classmates. So, when Simon has an deathly allergic reaction in detention, the other four can’t help but be slightly relieved knowing that their secrets died with him. However, when Simon’s death is declared a homicide, an ordinary school day is turned into a murder mystery and Peacock’s new series “One of Us Is Lying” has us itching for the answers.
Based on the novel of the same name, “One of Us Is Lying” is the teen thriller we didn’t know we needed. The show takes “The Breakfast Club” and adds (quite literally) a deadly twist. Contrary to the classic film, this detention doesn’t have a happy ending for the “One of Us Is Lying” characters of Bayview High. With one student dead, the other four become the prime suspects and each has something to hide. As a result, unlikely friendships are formed between these very different students as they struggle to clear their names while preventing their secrets from getting out.
Although the show strays a bit from the book it’s based on, it maintains the same suspense and drama. The series incorporates the difficulties that come with being an angsty teenager, including the pressure of conformity and the weight of self-discovery. This is reflected in each character: Bronwyn is expected to be valedictorian, Cooper hides his sexuality in order to pursue his athletic career, Addy fears being a “nobody” if not for her football-star boyfriend, and Nate sells drugs to make ends meet.
Upon first glance, the show seems to represent the culture of high school in an unrealistic way. Granted, in reality, the bad boy doesn’t always ride a motorcycle, and the popular girl isn’t necessarily a cheerleader. However, the show ironically thrives off of its use and resistance to these stereotypical character traits.
In fact, it’s these stereotypes that drive the plot forward by giving each character a role to play, a reputation to fulfill and a motive to commit murder. Yet, as each develops, we gradually learn that these characters might not be as cookie-cutter as we originally thought.
With every new piece of information, each person becomes a bit more complex: the gay athlete, the lonely popular girl, the compassionate bad boy and the rebellious goody-two-shoes. And so, while the audience begins to realize that there may be more to these seemingly stereotypical high schoolers, the mystery develops and the plot continues to thicken.
It’s with this resistance of societal expectations and contradiction of social roles that these characters pleasantly surprise us. They represent this notion that there is more to a person than meets the eye. With this in mind, the audience begins to question who would kill Simon if it meant keeping their secret safe.
And so, going into the show, one is prepared for another unrelatable and overly cliché high school drama like “Glee” or “One Tree Hill.” However, much like its characters, “One of Us Is Lying” defies the norm, proving its viewers wrong and leaving them dying to know which of the four may be lying.
Daily Arts Writer Molly Hirsch can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.