Secrets And Lies is a murder mystery limited series premiering on ABC on Sunday, March 1 at 9 PM.  It’s adapted from an Australian series of the same name, but it’s 10 episodes long, versus the original’s six. In the wake of Fox trying to Americanize hit British crime series Broadchurch into Gracepoint and misfiring (the series was cancelled in December), many critics at TCA voiced concerned whether the alphabet network was walking into the same trap.

secrets and lies“Ours is sooo better,” deadpanned star Juliette Lewis who plays detective Andrea Cornell who relentlessly pursues American dad Ben Crawford over supposedly killing a kid in the neighborhood.

Emphasizing the difference between Broadchurch and Secrets And Lies, executive producer Barbie Kligman said that she intentionally avoided watching  Broadchurch so it wouldn’t cloud her creative process. “Our show isn’t just about Ben Crawford trying to prove his innocence but what’s interesting about our show is that it’s about everyone around him, versus a show about one underlying murder.”

“Ben’s perception of Cornell isn’t necessarily who she is, just like his perception that the neighbors are turning on him.  We can’t help but see how people behave through their own prism,” added Kligman. The role was ripe for Ryan Phillppe. As an actor who has sometimes been misconstrued by the paparazzi, he connected to the public misunderstanding that Ben Crawford battles.

2015 Winter TCA Tour - Day 8Added EP and Thirtysomething thesp Timothy Busfield who was brought in to reshoot scenes on the pilot of Secrets And Lies, “It’s a compelling story, because it could happen to you” about the miniseries’ premise of being a victim of circumstance.  The idea to shoot in Wilmington, N.C. was a decision already made before Busfield boarded the show, because of it’s everyman neighborhood atmosphere.

“It was exhausting,” said Phillippe about working on Secrets And Lies to which Busfield backed him up saying, “He’s in every scene.”

Why the U.S. reboot of the Australian series was four episodes longer, Kligman explained, “we had the opportunity to go deeper into the characters and to tell more stories.”

Also, “the whole idea of the format business is to do a bigger, different kind of show,” said executive producer Aaron Kaplan.”When I saw the original Aussie version of Secrets & Lies, I loved it and the story affected me in so many ways – Ben Crawford’s character was amazing, and I was empathetic to him but then felt betrayed by the things he did  – the story kept me totally engrossed, and its characters felt real and complicated. Now we have the chance to tell this story in America but make it bigger with an A+ cast for American television.”

The EPs mentioned that future seasons of Secrets And Lies would feature a new murder, while going into the complex backstory of Lewis’ Cornell.