Spoiler Alert: This article might include some information about the series
The new series Liar on Sundance mixes several elements to keep the viewer on their toes, doubting everyone in the Liar cast and then doubting their own judgment. The big question in the series revolves around a rape accusation and who is the liar. Heading up the Liar cast are Joanne Froggatt (best known as Anna Bates from Downton Abbey), who plays Laura, an English teacher, and Ioan Gruffudd who plays handsome doctor Andrew.
It is interesting that the creators of Liar cast Joanne Froggatt as Laura considering that her previous big role, that of Anna Bates on Downton Abbey was as a rape victim. But while Downton Abbey showed Anna’s rape, the premise of Liar prevents a rape (or lack thereof) from being shown. The great script for Liar weaves a tale with two suspects, for lack of a better term. Is Andrew, a handsome, well-dressed surgeon with a teenage son, a rapist, or is Laura, a younger, attractive English teacher (Andrew’s son is in her class) a liar? Either Laura (Froggatt) is lying about being raped or Andrew (Gruffudd) is lying about having consensual sex with Laura?
Rounding out the Liar cast is Zoë Tapper as Laura’s sister, Katy, who encouraged Laura to go on the date with Andrew in the first place. Katy knows Andrew from the hospital where he is the star surgeon and she is a nurse. Though Katy believes her sister, she has nagging doubts about whether Andrew, the hospital golden boy would really need to rape anyone, and why would he need to drug her?
The Liar cast and script are essential to the show’s success as they play off the subject of rape brilliantly. Even though the big question in Liar is about whether or not a rape occurred, the bigger topic is who in the Liar cast is the liar (and is there more than one)? Liar started airing on ITV in the U.K. several weeks before it premiered on the Sundance network this week in the United States to great reviews. The most buzz is for the Liar cast and particularly for Froggatt, who has left Anna Bates back at Downton Abbey.
The Washington Post made an interesting point about the way the Liar script tackles rape. In order to keep things fresh and weave intrigue, the script intentionally leaves out the physical interaction between Laura and Andrew so that the viewer has to filter clues to determine who is the liar. After watching the first episode, it seems like everyone is lying.
“Instead, the show makes the incident ambiguous, just the way we might come across allegations in news stories or court cases, where one person swears a crime happened and the other denies everything. That means Liar gives viewers a sometimes uncomfortable opportunity to gauge their own biases while they try to make sense of who’s telling the truth.”
The Liar script works through all of the questions that arise in actual rape cases. The cast is full of people who question Laura, the alleged victim, about what she was wearing and how much she had to drink, yet nobody but the police question Andrew. When Laura takes to social media to vent about what she claims to remember from that night, she is met with a lot of negative feedback. One poster, channeling a myth, says that Andrew couldn’t have raped Laura because he is so much better looking than she is.
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But fans of Liar won’t have to wait until the end of the first season to find out who the liar really is. According to Joanne Froggatt, that won’t stop the drama from flowing. Froggatt also promises fans that despite all the twists and turns (and rumors of a second season) there will be a satisfying ending in the last episode.
“It’s definitely a thriller that you can watch and get to the end and feel like you can pay back for your investment and time and emotion into this story. It’s not something that’s too open-ended — it’s a whole story and a real roller coaster of a story.”
What do you think of the Liar cast? Are you watching Liar on Sundance? Who do you think is the liar?
[Featured Image by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images]