Behind Her Eyes, based on Sarah Pinborough’s best-selling novel of the same name, tells the story of Adele and her husband David, a renowned psychiatrist specializing in drug addiction. The couple live an ostensibly perfect life in an exclusive London suburb.
The beautiful Adele Ferguson (Eve Hewson) was recently a patient in a mental institution where her husband was the presiding psychiatrist. Upon release she marries the handsome doctor. While a patient, Adele becomes best friends with a gay working-class Glasgow junkie, Rob (Robert Aramayo) who seems to be energized in her presence and she in his. Together they play a dangerous series of mind games whose consequences are only hinted at throughout most episodes.
Enter Louise Barnsley (the excellent Simona Brown), a beautiful young Black single mom living with her seven-year-old son, Adam (an adorable Tyler Howitt who reminds this viewer of the little boy in “Jerry Maguire”). On a rare night out, Louise meets a charming stranger who turns out to be David (Tom Bateman), the new psychiatrist hired at the upscale mental-health clinic where Louise is a part-time secretary.
Accidentally, Louise literally bumps into Adele and becomes friends. What follows is a nurturing Adele, skilled in the art of lucid dreaming, teaching Louise how to take control of her night terrors.
And so the menage-a-trois begins–with a husband and wife both drawn to Louise and she to them. The suspense and psychology of having conflicted feelings towards someone because of a sexual relationship with her partner is difficult to navigate and empathize under any circumstances, but Behind Her Eyes manages to pull in the viewer’s investment in understanding, especially Louise and Adele. …until it doesn’t.
In the fifth episode, Behind Her Eyes inexplicably swerves into sci-fi and fantasy, with dreamland sequences of bright-blue skies, ponds, floating Tinker-bell fairies, and gingerbread houses and tea parties. Are we falling down a rabbit hole here? Why waste a psychological thriller with so much possibility?
There are many fans of this limited series. Sadly, I’m not one of them. Nevertheless, it did have real potential.
Availability: Netflix streaming