Brisbane plays a central role

QUEENSLAND provides a stunning and suffocating backdrop for Channel 10's new crime thriller Secrets & Lies.

The six-part series is penned by bestselling Brisbane author Stephen M Irwin and filmed on a leafy street in Ashgrove in Brisbane's inner suburbs.

The series follows the suspicion and intrigue following the murder of a young boy, Thom.

His neighbour, father-of-two Ben Gundelach, found the body during an early morning run on a bush track and immediately becomes the investigator's prime suspect.

His teenage daughter Tasha babysat Thom several times a week and his family has a spare key to Thom's mum Jess's house across the street.

The show will be interactive with Emmy and BAFTA award-winning production company Hoodlum, also based in Brisbane, creating an online platform where viewers can put themselves in the shoes of Detective Cornielle (Anthony Hayes) by viewing suspect profiles and clues updated before, during and after each episode.

The format has proved to be a hit even before it has hit our screens, with US broadcaster ABC ordering the series in full to be co-produced by Hoodlum and American TV producer Aaron Kaplan's Kapital Entertainment.

New Zealand-born actor Martin Henderson plays Gundelach, who is forced to try to clear his name before his life unravels under the pressure and media scrutiny of being a murder suspect.

Interestingly, the true identity of Thom's killer was kept a secret from the cast and crew for most of the filming.

"I don't need to know in order to play my role the way it's done, so creatively it's not destructive or anything," Henderson told The Guide during a visit to the set.

"It's been really fun. You get to be a storyteller and the audience at the same time, because we're busy bringing this thing to life and we're also totally obsessed with what the outcome is and that's quite unusual."

The tension, further amplified by the humidity of a Brisbane summer, is palpable.

"Brisbane is almost a character in it," Henderson said.

"There's this subtropical dense bush that feels quite threatening that is sort of encroaching on these people's backyards and this sense of lurking in the shadows. Cane toads and stick insects and kookaburras, they all feature in the script. It adds a texture to the story that is uniquely Brisbane."

LA-based Henderson, who starred opposite Heath Ledger in the TV series Sweat, said he was immediately hooked by the script.

"As soon as I read the first episode I said, 'I'm doing this thing' and I never do that," he said.

Secrets & Lies - Ten - Monday at 8.30pm

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