It was a great year for limited series that got people talking, from Mare of Easttown to The Undoing, but for my money, no show more deserves an Emmy nomination than Tiny Secret Whispers. Available on the new streamer Bytternyt (formally Butternut), which specializes in American shows with non-American casts, TSW broke new ground as the first television show brave enough to tell the story of a wealthy New England couple whose life wasn’t as perfect as it looked from the outside. Starring Australian actor Joel Edgerton (not that one, a different one) as architect Packer Charlesworth and that British actress who is good in everything as former ballerina and current life coach Liese, Secret Tiny Whispers packed more plot twists in seven episodes than most shows have in their entire runs. Imagine a mother’s pain when the police, suspecting them of murder, take DNA tests from your identical twin sons, only for that pain to be doubled when the tests reveal that one of the twins isn’t hers. And if there was a more ominous villain than Detective Dan Delgado, I’d LOVE TO GET THEIR DETAILS!
STW was not without its faults. Too often scenes ended with Packer screaming, “You think I don’t know that?!” and while Edgerton’s American accent was impeccable throughout, he strangely muttered “crikey” with a thick Australian inflection every time a new murder victim was discovered. An argument can also be made that the Foley artist did more harm than good as each time Liese took a sip of tea while sitting on her porch looking at the ocean, it sounded like a hot-tub jet on its highest setting.
Of course, we also have to discuss the ending. Not since the Sopranos has a finale been so polarizing, and I’m certain that audiences will be arguing over director Joe Ledgerton’s choice for years to come. Was it a mistake to end a fraught family drama-slash-thriller with the main character Liese delivering the titular line, “I guess in the end all we needed was a Tiny Secret Whisper,” and then staring into camera sitcom style as the credits rolled? While I can see how it took some people out of the moment, I found it exactly the kind of bold choice I had come to expect from a show that always kept me guessing.
In fact, there is only one ending I would find unsatisfying, and that would be for Tiny Secret Whispers to be snubbed by Emmy voters. Great shows get left out every year, and to quote Packer Charlesworth, “You think I don’t know that?!”