'The Undoing': What to Know About HBO's New Prestige Drama

Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, and an unsolved murder? Sold.

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(Image credit: NIKOTAVERNISE)

If you've been needing to fill the Big Little Lies hole in your viewing schedule, prepare yourself for The Undoing. HBO's highly anticipated psychological thriller, about the unraveling of a marriage and the lies it was built on, is just as gripping (if not more binge-able) as the award-winning BLL. HBO has set a premiere date for October 25, 2020, but we already have some information about the cast, the plot, the book it's based on, and more.

The show is packed with an all-star team, in front of and behind the camera. Big Little Lies writer David E. Kelley served as The Undoing's writer and showrunner, while Susanne Bier—who previously worked on the Netflix film Bird Box and won an Emmy for AMC's The Night Manager—directed all six episodes. Kelley, Bier, and lead actress Nicole Kidman served as the show's executive producers.

Kidman, who won an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series for her work on BLL, expressed her excitement about teaming up with Kelley again. “David has created another propulsive series with a fascinating, complicated female role at its center,” the actress told Variety in 2018.

Here's everything to know about The Undoing before it hits the streaming service.

What's The Undoing about?

The Undoing is a six-part limited series based on the Jean Hanff Korelitz’s 2014 book You Should Have Known (but the show diverges past the book's plot relatively quickly). In it, Grace Fraser, a therapist who seems to have it all together, realizes her life isn't what she thought it was after a crime rocks the picturesque private school her son attends.

The HBO description for the show reads: "Grace and Jonathan Fraser (Kidman and Hugh Grant) are living the only lives they ever wanted for themselves. Overnight a chasm opens in their lives: a violent death and a chain of terrible revelations. Left behind in the wake of a spreading and very public disaster and horrified by the ways in which she has failed to heed her own advice, Grace must dismantle one life and create another for her child (Noah Jupe) and her family."

Who stars in The Undoing?

The Undoing's cast is a who's who of Hollywood's top talent. Nicole Kidman stars as Upper East Sider Grace Fraser; Hugh Grant captivates as her charming husband, Jonathan; Noah Jupe plays the Frasers' son, Henry; and award-winning actor Donald Sutherland stars as Grace's wealthy and protective father, Franklin Reinhardt. Other notable cast members include Édgar Ramírez (The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story) as Detective Joe Mendoza, Noma Dumezweni (Cursed Child) as lawyer Haley Fitzgerald, and upcoming Italian actress Matilda De Angelis as Elena Alves.

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Hugh Grant and Nicole Kidman as Jonathan and Grace Fraser.

(Image credit: HBO)

Is there a trailer?

On August 6, HBO released a trailer for The Undoing that will make your heart pound—literally. The minute-long clip features very little info on the show's plot; it's simply punctuated by the sound of a beating heart.

On Sept. 23, HBO released a longer trailer that offered more clues about the show's plot:

When does it come out?

The Undoing will premiere on Sunday, October 25 at 9 p.m. on HBO. (Episodes will subsequently be available to stream on HBO Max.) The series, ordered in 2018, was originally slated for a May 2020 premiere, but due to COVID-19, HBO delayed its arrival until fall. Guess good things come to those who wait..and have HBO logins.

jonathan hugh grant and grace nicole kidman in an episode of hbo's the undoing

Jonathan (Hugh Grant) and Grace (Nicole Kidman) discuss their marriage in an episode of HBO’s The Undoing.

(Image credit: NIKOTAVERNISE)

Is The Undoing good?

Yes. Grant is at his all-time best and Kidman is a powerhouse. Six episodes won't feel like enough.

Writes Variety"The Undoing is extremely effective as a psychological thriller." But it adds: "Where it gets lost, then, is in chasing the scattered interests of its ever-twisting plot." Entertainment Weekly notes in its review: "The Undoing is beautiful—the people, the locations, the coats!—and we’re all apt to cut beautiful things a little slack. Through all of the misdirects, the characters’ dumb decisions, the dreamy detours, The Undoing kept me guessing—and, of course, gloating over everyone’s misfortune. And TV Line echoes that it's an adrenaline ride: "If it’s ultimately not as emotionally complex as Big Little Lies, it’s more immediately gripping, with a breathless pace and a wealth of compelling performances."


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Entertainment Director

Neha Prakash is Marie Claire's Entertainment Director, where she edits, writes, and ideates culture and current event features with a focus on elevating diverse voices and stories in film and television. She steers and books the brand's print and digital covers as well as oversees the talent and production on MC's video franchises like "How Well Do You Know Your Co-Star?" and flagship events, including the Power Play summit. Since joining the team in early 2020, she's produced entertainment packages about buzzy television shows and films, helped oversee culture SEO content, commissioned op-eds from notable writers, and penned widely-shared celebrity profiles and interviews. She also assists with social coverage around major red carpet events, having conducted celebrity interviews at the Met Gala, Oscars, and Golden Globes. Prior to Marie Claire, she held editor roles at Brides, Glamour, Mashable, and Condé Nast, where she launched the Social News Desk. Her pop culture, breaking news, and fashion coverage has appeared on Vanity Fair, GQ, Allure, Teen Vogue, and Architectural Digest. She earned a masters degree from the Columbia School of Journalism in 2012 and a Bachelor of Arts degree from The Pennsylvania State University in 2010. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and dog, Ghost; she loves matcha lattes, Bollywood movies, and has many hot takes about TV reboots. Follow her on Instagram @nehapk.