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The Tell Me Your Secrets Scene That Went Too Far

With his standout performance in the Netflix horror mini-series "Midnight Mass" last fall, it was easy to miss Hamish Linklater's other new streaming service project, "Tell Me Your Secrets," when it premiered on Amazon Prime in February 2021 (via Decider).

In the series, Linklater plays John, a convicted former sexual predator who seeks salvation for his crimes. John is contacted by Mary Barlow (Amy Brenneman), the mother of a missing girl who may or may not have been a victim of the serial killer Parker (Xavier Samuel). After Parker dies by suicide, his girlfriend Emma (Lily Rabe) gets released from jail. Mary hires John to track down Emma and discover the truth about her daughter but, as often happens in crime thrillers, things naturally get very complicated and gruesome for all involved.

"Tell Me Your Secrets" had a lot of darkness in only 10 episodes, but one scene in the series may have gone over the edge for some.

Reviewers felt John's descent back into violence was exploitative

SPOILERS for the end of "Tell Me Your Secrets."

Some critics felt that making John one of the main characters of "Tell Me Your Secrets" wasn't a good idea, especially after the scene in Episode 8, "Be Mine," where he reverts back to his old criminal ways.

John's character may be part of the show's attempt to get inside the head of a predator, yet his relapse with a sex worker in "Be Mine" and later with Emma felt more about offering nasty thrills to the audience than understanding his compulsions. Andrew Parker of The Gate wrote that the series is fundamentally "about missing and exploited women" but the writers undercut this by including "a serial rapist as one of its 'protagonists.'"

In a review of the full season, IndieWire similarly argued that John tying up a woman then setting her free is "so movie of the week as to undo everything before it." Rather than subvert cliches about frightening predators, the writing indulges in them with "Be Mine." It's truly disappointing for a show that appeared to have a unique point of view about the damage that can be caused by violent crimes.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).