Apple TV+ is launching the Surface series, a psychological thriller starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw as a woman who has lost her memory and tries to piece together the puzzle of her past.
What is it about ?
One woman’s quest to rebuild herself after a suicide attempt, and her struggle to remember – and understand – everything that led her to jump…
Surface, a series created by Veronica West with Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Stephan James and Ari Graynor. Available on Apple TV+
Lost memories, head trauma and suspicious circumstances… These are often the plot points of psychological thrillers. And Surface, the latest Apple Original series, has fun using all three. Created by Veronica West (High Fidelity) and directed by Sam Miller (I May Destroy You), this glossy miniseries focuses on Sophie (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), the wife of a wealthy philanthropist, James (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), who loses most of his memories during a failed suicide attempt.
As the story progresses, she begins to wonder if she actually jumped that day or was pushed instead. She then discovers a murky world of deceit and debauchery, as Gugu Mbatha-Raw tells us:
This is an intense psychological thriller and I challenge you to find the way out. It’s really a plot around my character, Sophie, who lost her memory in strange circumstances. I love that the plot takes place in the ultra-rich world of San Francisco where everything seems so perfect but nothing is in truth…below the ‘surface’
The actress seen in Black Mirror or Loki plays Sophie, a person determined to piece together her past, while continuing her own investigation into what happened the day she decided to end her life and jumped from the deck of a ferry. Her husband, James, is doing his best to support her through this ordeal, but he’s clearly hiding something with his suspicious behavior and controlling attitude. He tells Sophie what to wear and even takes charge of her finances. Something quite fishy is at stake and Sophie will stop at nothing to find out the truth.
“It’s the quest for truth, the fact of going beyond appearances that attracted me to this series. What’s different is the way the show is built with one reveal per episode. Little by little, the veils of mystery on the true identity of Sophie are lifted and the truth finally comes to light.“, confides in turn Olivier Jackson-Cohen.
As the mysteries unfold, Sophie addresses her trauma with her shrink Hannah (Marianne Jean-Baptiste), hoping to unlock hidden memories, while the officer in charge of her case Baden (Stephan James) might have incriminating evidence that backs up his suspicions.
Her best friend Caroline (Ari Graynor) rounds out the cast, with her own secrets that are sure to disrupt Sophie’s life even further. Sophie doesn’t really have anyone she can trust, not even herself. The series takes trauma and healing seriously, avoiding using these plot points as mere gimmicks.
“The title, like everything else in this series, has a double meaning“, continues Gugu Mbatha-Raw. “It also reflects the duality of Sophie’s personality trying to figure out who she really is. There is a parallel between the surface of the water and coming to the surface with this memory journey that tries to find the light. She comes back from the depths of herself, physically and mentally. She rises to the surface to face the reality of her true existence.
Of course, it’s also the notion of going beyond the surface, the superficiality to find the true nature of these things. Don’t trust the cover of a book as they say. Everyone presents a smooth, clean surface sometimes, but behind the mask there is often a whole other individual.“