The Secret is the story of a real-life double murder. James Nesbitt plays Colin Howell, a respectable dentist and pillar of the community, who became a killer in partnership with a Sunday ... See full summary »
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2016  
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Cast

Complete series cast summary:
...
 Colin Howell (4 episodes, 2016)
...
 Hazel Buchanan / ... (4 episodes, 2016)
Patrick O'Kane ...
 Victor Buchanan (3 episodes, 2016)
Nina Woods ...
 Lauren Howell (3 episodes, 2016)
Murray Speers ...
 Daniel Howell (3 episodes, 2016)
Jack Erdis ...
 Andrew Buchanan (3 episodes, 2016)
Sophie Mellotte ...
 Lisa Buchanan (3 episodes, 2016)
...
 Dave Stewart (2 episodes, 2016)
...
 Kyle Howell (2 episodes, 2016)
...
 Lesley Howell (2 episodes, 2016)
...
 Trevor Buchanan (2 episodes, 2016)
...
 Pastor Hansford (2 episodes, 2016)
Alan McKee ...
 D.I. Hutchinson (2 episodes, 2016)
Rhys Dunlop ...
 Andrew Buchanan / ... (2 episodes, 2016)
...
 Andy Comerford (2 episodes, 2016)
Patrick FitzSymons ...
 Derek McAuley (2 episodes, 2016)
B.J. Hogg ...
 Jim Buchanan (2 episodes, 2016)
...
 Lisa Buchanan / ... (2 episodes, 2016)
Julia Dearden ...
 Lily Buchanan (2 episodes, 2016)
Ali White ...
 Hilary McAuley (2 episodes, 2016)
...
 Peter (2 episodes, 2016)
...
 Willie / ... (2 episodes, 2016)
Riley Hamilton ...
 Matthew Howell (2 episodes, 2016)
Ruth Jennings ...
 Dental Receptionist (2 episodes, 2016)
Danielle Magennis ...
 Lauren Howell / ... (2 episodes, 2016)
Rory Bradley ...
 Matthew / ... (2 episodes, 2016)
Ash Cook ...
 Daniel Howell (2 episodes, 2016)
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Storyline

The Secret is the story of a real-life double murder. James Nesbitt plays Colin Howell, a respectable dentist and pillar of the community, who became a killer in partnership with a Sunday school teacher, Hazel Buchanan, played by Genevieve O'Reilly.

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2016 (UK)  »

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User Reviews

 
One of the best 'true crime' dramas of recent years
21 May 2016 | by (Derry, Ireland) – See all my reviews

A few years ago a dentist from Coleraine, here in Northern Ireland, Colin Howell, together with the woman with whom he was having an affair, was convicted of the murder of their respective spouses almost 20 years earlier. After their conviction a book about the case appeared and now this television dramatization, "The Secret". The problem I have with it is that no matter how well done it is, and it is superbly made, people immediately connected with the killers, (their children, their new partners, family etc), are still alive and dragging up these events only a few years after they happened is bound to cause considerable pain to the survivors, so much so that the matter of this series was even raised in the British Parliament.

That said, who doesn't like a juicy murder, especially when sex is involved, particularly when it happened only a few miles from where you live and "The Secret" was the juiciest of murder yarns, excellently written, directed and performed. Until now I've never quite understood the attraction of James Nesbitt, a Northern Ireland actor who has never shaken off his thick Ballymena accent and no always seemed the same no matter what part he was playing but I have to admit he was superb as Howell. This was a career-best performance that just might win him a BAFTA, a complex, multi-layered piece of acting that will surely divide viewers as to whether Howell was the personification of evil or just dangerously disturbed.

As Hazel Buchanan, his partner in crime, Dublin born Genevieve O'Reilly was almost as good, again creating a character with several layers to her personality. More credit, then, to both players since little is known of either Howell or Buchanan before the events portrayed. Yes, "The Secret" may well be controversial and I can fully understand the objections raised against it but it certainly wasn't prurient; rather this was a riveting piece of television and one of the best 'true crime' dramas of recent years.


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