Initially this six-episode British production comes across as just another soap, placing its central figure, Louise (Simona Brown), in an extremely uncomfortable position. A divorced mom, when her plans for a rare night out fizzle she somewhat impulsively ends up flirting with a married man, David (Tom Bateman). Not the best judgment, perhaps, but no real harm done.
Alas, David turns out to be her new boss in the psychiatrist’s office where she works, and the tension between them only grows. Moreover, Louise gradually befriends David’s seemingly perfect wife, Adele (Eve Hewson), which raises questions about what soured their relationship, and a troubled history that dribbles out (too slowly in the first few episodes) via a series of teasing flashbacks.
Answers await, however, and as adapted from Sarah Pinborough’s book, they prove far more interesting and unexpected than the familiar set-up suggests. What looks like a tale of infidelity with a sort-of reverse “Fatal Attraction” vibe — it’s the wife who might be the stalker — takes off in unanticipated directions and yields genuine surprises. Plus, there’s the mystery about Adele’s days in a mental-health facility.
Granted, one could argue the shift in tone comes a bit out of left field, but therein lies the fun of it. The performances, thankfully, help get through the rough patches (or should), with Brown as an everywoman in a strange predicament — bonding with Adele, but drawn to David — and Bateman’s brooding intensity resembling a modern-day version of a character from a Jane Austen novel.
The clever part in the way writers Steve Lightfoot and Angela LaManna (“The Punisher”) have constructed the show is the extent to which it makes you think you’ve seen all this before, then subverts those expectations. If nothing else, amid the current content glut unpredictability is refreshing.
The results have been somewhat mixed, but with “Behind Her Eyes,” feasting your eyes on it qualifies as time well spent.
“Behind Her Eyes” premieres Feb. 17 on Netflix.