The Secrets She Keeps: Jessica De Gouw on the Australian mystery

The Secrets She Keeps -- Courtesy of Sundance Now
The Secrets She Keeps -- Courtesy of Sundance Now /

Jessica De Gouw discusses The Secrets She Keeps.

The Secrets She Keeps has arrived on Sundance Now, with a domestic mystery for TV crime drama viewers to unravel. When two women meet in a supermarket, it appears to be a chance connection between two neighbors—but there’s something else at work.

Jessica De Gouw (Vienna Blood, Arrow) stars as Meghan O’Shaughnessy, who’s building a great life in an affluent suburb of Sydney with her husband Jack. The two are expecting their third child and Meghan has found fame as a social media influencer.

But when she meets Agatha Fyfle (as played by Marcella‘s Laura Carmichael), the things that both women are hiding could destroy each of them.

Precinct TV spoke to Jessica ahead of Thursday’s second episode of The Secrets She Keeps, which reveals what Meghan’s secret is and sheds more light on what Agatha is planning. If you didn’t see the series premiere, you can still catch up on Sundance Now.

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Precinct TV: What was the hook for you about The Secrets She Keeps?

Jessica De Gouw: I really believe that a project is only as good as its script, and I loved it. I thought it was a very interesting examination of these two wome and their experiences, and then their encounter with one another.

And then the creative team behind it are wonderful, close, prolific Australian filmmakers. So I was sort of begging for them to let me be involved. (laughs)

PTV: The whole point of the series is what people know and don’t know about each other. So how much did you know, or want to know, about what was happening as you were filming?

JDG: Unlike most people, I hadn’t read the book. I didn’t know of it, although it’s a best seller and a very well read book, so the script was my first encounter with the story. But we had all the scripts before we started shooting, I believe.

I certainly knew the entire character arc, and the relationships. And I think with something like this, it’s very helpful, because it is such a massive arc for these characters. It was a real joy, as the actors, just to know where it was going and to sort of play the long game, which you don’t often get. It’s fun when you do get the opportunity to see the whole character arc. Often you’ll just get an episode at a time, so you have a very different experience of the project.

And then we also had [the book’s author] Michael Robotham, who came to set and hung out a little bit, there to help us with some more information.

PTV: Was there anything that resonated particularly with you as you moved through Meghan’s story?

JDG: The whole way through it was such a pleasure to play all these different versions of Meghan. There’s sort of the private Meghan, and then there’s the public Meghan, and there is the Meghan who is there in the presence of her family, or in the presence of her husband. She tries very hard to play all these different roles, but obviously is also swept away in it. There’s consequences to that for her, but there’s, all the way through, really, really wonderful things.

My scenes with Laura, whenever we got to play together, were great fun as well, because there are so many secrets to play, particularly for Laura. Laura and I knew each other beforehand, so it was a real treat. And then, without giving anything away, the later episodes, they’re so intense that it was just really fun to play, and explore, and really dig into these characters together.

PTV: Fans may not know that The Secrets She Keeps is kind of in your wheelhouse. You’ve done a few TV crime dramas, most recently Vienna Blood. How was it to film this show after that one given how different they are?

JDG: Last year was a pretty hectic year. I was flying back and forth between the UK and Australia. I was shooting a little bit on The Crown, and then I was shooting an Australian miniseries called The Hunting, and then at the same time, I was shooting Vienna Blood in Vienna. I had just wrapped all of those three, and then started on Secrets.

I had a couple of weeks to wrap my head around this very different story. But it was a bit of a busy year. I was going between corsets and modern day, and 1900s Vienna and this very affluent Sydney setting, which is the joy of my job. I’m very, very lucky to get to do such varied roles and shows.

PTV: And one of your earliest roles was in Underbelly: Razor, part of that great Australian crime franchise.

JDG: It was a massive, massive thing. I was in Season 4, so it was set, I believe, in the ’30s. I played a rookie cop, and it’s a great show. They are very watchable, and they’re entertaining.

But in terms of my experience of it, I was pretty fresh into this TV world. That was one of my earliest jobs, I think, when I got to Sydney. So I just was terrified the whole time. I can’t actually tell you if I gave a performance, because I was just absolutely terrified.

PTV: Is there anything you’re hoping audiences remember from The Secrets She Keeps?

JDG: I think American audiences, it’s the right time for them to see a show like this. It feels like a very international story, but also it’s very female focused and female-centric. And it’s about that female experience, and trauma, and the different lives that people lead, and cause and effect. I think that’s something that is very interesting.

But also, [it includes] the cost of the expectations that we put on women. It’s a really interesting discussion that’s all wrapped up in this psychological thriller. So hopefully American audiences will enjoy it.

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The Secrets She Keeps is streaming on Sundance Now with new episodes every Thursday. Watch now with a 7-day free trial.