Ordinary Lies: Season 2, Episode 1

The insinuation of hidden tragedy is the founding principle of every soap opera and numerous TV dramas. Desperate Housewives made the “behind closed doors” theory central to their show’s narrative and spawned countless other series with similar set-ups as a result (Devious Maids and Revenge to name just two). Ordinary Lies, which began in March of last year, borrowed the same philosophy for their glimpse into the not so ordinary lives of salespeople. It wasn’t the most original series on television, but it worked well and kept me hooked until the end. Now that all the drama in the workforce of JS Motors has been cleared up, Ordinary Lies is taking us to a sports company in Wales to reveal the staff’s secret misfortunes. Can the same formula work for a second time?

The original series of Ordinary Lies stood out for me as a result of its bizarre casting – Michelle Keegan and Jason Manford seemed like unusual choices for such a drama. The casting of the second season, I was relieved to find, is far more sensible. Con O’Neill plays Joe, the manager of a sportswear company, who becomes suspicious of his wife when he comes home early to find that she too has left work prematurely. He convinces himself of her disloyalty and finds himself taking time out to snoop on her extracurricular activities. His suspicion turns to obsession as he installs cameras in his home in an attempt to prove her promiscuity. Obsessive mania takes over when he sees his wife in conversation with an anonymous man through the omniscient eyes in his home. When he discovers that his wife is an undercover vigilante paedophile hunter (bit random, I know), Joe is understandably annoyed. We later find out that her covert alter ego came as a result of her experience with a paedophile abusing her daughter.

It was an excellent opening episode that really sets the tone for the coming series. Con O’Neill is consistent in delivering solid performances that outshine his fellow cast members, which is why I was pleased to finally see him in a lead role. There are other cast members that seem equally intriguing (and are sure to dominate future storylines), namely Angela Griffin’s character who clearly has a lot to hide. The curse of anthology often dictates that the second season is never quite as good as the first, but that doesn’t apply here. Con O’Neill’s opening episode is immediately more convincing and believable than Jason Manford’s of the first season, but that’s hardly surprising.

Ordinary Lies continues next Tuesday (25/10/16) at 9pm on BBC One.