'The Undoing' sets Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant on a rollercoaster of lies

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Lily Rabe plays Grace's best friend, Sophia, who struggles to help her pal rebuild her life. - Niko Tavernise/HBO/TNS

In the fanciest apartments and the fanciest clothes, “The Undoing” spins a web of tall tales, secret rendezvous and hidden motives.

The HBO series, which premiered Sunday, doesn’t believe in anyone’s innocence.

Nicole Kidman, reuniting with creator David E. Kelley after “Big Little Lies,” plays Grace Fraser, a Manhattan therapist with a seemingly perfect life. Her patients trust her and the moms at her son’s school worship her.

Grace’s husband Jonathan, played by Hugh Grant, is a pediatric oncologist. The couple has everything. Or so it seems.

When Elena Alves, the mom of a scholarship student at their son’s gilded private school is brutally murdered, Jonathan becomes the prime suspect.

As “The Undoing” unravels, so too does the characters’ world.

“What do you do when somebody you believe in, that you’ve bet almost all your life on and that holds your life in their hands, in a way, and your happiness, when that gets destroyed, where do you go? How do you function? What do you do? Particularly as a mother with a child, how do you keep moving forward and protecting that child?” Kidman said.

“Some people would end up on a stretcher being taken to the lunatic asylum. Some people would end up collapsing and self-medicating. Some people choose to go forward and grapple with what’s in front of them. That was Grace.”

“The Undoing” works best as a psychological thriller, a story of murder, secrets and lies. It’s a swirling storm of people, some grieving, some manipulating, all seemingly untrustworthy.

Everything about the show is intended to confuse. The gracefulness with which Kidman plays yet another woman damaged by a man, this time mentally and emotionally rather than physically. The charm with which Jonathan dodges the allegations because he looks and sounds like Hugh Grant. The desperation with which Elena tried to fit in and the crudeness with which the other moms maintain their social standing.

Director Susanne Bier, known best for “Bird Box” and “The Night Manager,” wove the mystery in a beautiful tapestry full of palatial apartments and extravagant fundraisers.

“The big trick is to lure the audience into enjoying the world and enjoying the relationship,” Bier explained.

“Here we have this happy couple and they have this lovely son and they’re extremely good looking and have a great sense of humor, but you’re still aware that there is this kind of undercurrent of something which makes you uneasy. You know that it’s not going to probably end quite well, but you are enjoying the ride.”

Part “Gossip Girl” and part “The People v O.J. Simpson,” the six-episode HBO limited series intends to break down everything you think you know about the characters.

Even with Jonathan pinned as the main suspect in Elena’s murder, everyone seems to have secrets. It’s unclear if any will be revealed.

“I love the idea of people being lots of different things and, sometimes, extremely conflicting things,” Grant told The News. “I think we have a tendency to oversimplify things, and especially in entertainment: he’s a goodie, he’s a baddie. My experience of life is that I’ve known people who are capable of both extremes simultaneously. They’re both real. It’s not like one’s a mask.”

The world of the uber rich, with their money, power and privilege allowed for the perfect backdrop to illustrate the idea the no one ever really knows anyone.

“It is an interesting world,” Grant said, “and absolutely ripe to be slightly satirized and have its dark underbelly exposed.”

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©2020 New York Daily News

The murder of Elena Alves (Matilda De Angelis) sends the Upper East Side spinning. - Niko Tavernise/HBO/TNS
Hugh Grant and Nicole Kidman star in HBO's "The Undoing." - HBO/HBO/TNS