I had no interest in watching HBO’s latest whodunit, ”The Undoing.” I had heard rumblings comparing it to ”Big Little Lies” and felt no urge to change course from watching hours of old episodes of “Real Housewives.” But strangers on Twitter were aghast and the final reveal was seemingly big.
After seeing so much hype, I figured it has to be worth it. After all, Twitter is never wrong. Described as an “East Coast ‘Big Little Lies,’” I figured the show would have twists and turns to keep me hooked for six episodes. So I spent a few days bingeing and watching seemingly unnecessary close-up shots of Nicole Kidman. Almost all my knowledge revolved around talk of her coats on the show, from a velvety green number to a wine-colored robe ― sartorial experts were extremely excited about the outwear of their beloved protagonist.
While I felt completely unsatisfied by the entire show ― ending included — I felt equally lukewarm about the fashion. The passion around Kidman’s coats left me flabbergasted.
The coats were … fine? Mediocre?
The coats didn’t overtly tell a story. We knew little about the brand of coats, where they came from or what made them especially significant to a character whose life is seemingly falling apart around her. The colors were vibrant and yes, against Kidman’s red hair, something pretty to look at. Yet the coats became one of the most talked-about aspects of the show.
There surely have been TV shows (crime-related or otherwise) that featured more significant, memorable coats. So let’s shine some light on the shows, both of yesteryear and today, whose coats are truly worthy scene stealers.
1. “Killing Eve”
Not only is ”Killing Eve” actually a good thriller, the antagonist Villanelle perfectly incorporates sartorial aspects to a genre not explicitly known for well-dressed characters. ”Killing Eve” marries fashion and thrilling plotlines pretty perfectly, a theme ”The Undoing” certainly could’ve picked up on. To her core, Villanelle is a woman who appreciates fashion trends and dressing up ― she might even feel good in doing so. With Kidman’s Grace, fashion seems implied by her status but stops short in telling a deeper story about the character, or frankly, the plot. The outwear in ”Killing Eve” also feels much more meaningful ― the characters actually have to keep warm in various cold-weathered locations. And as is typical with Villanelle, her outerwear certainly lands her on best-dressed psychopath lists everywhere.
2. “Love & Anarchy”
In a year where escapism became a mandatory staple of television, Netflix’s underrated ”Love & Anarchy” proved coats still had a certain je ne sais quoi. While Sofie’s coats might not jump off the screen with emerald green or red threading, they are paired well with a character and the development (or not) that ultimately takes place after an entire season. And unlike ”The Undoing,” the coats in ”Love & Anarchy” could quite possibly carry a scene all by their lonesome.
3. “Murder She Wrote”
Forget modern-day crime dramas and give me Jessica Fletcher. Thanks to an abundance of reruns available on cable or Amazon Prime, ”Murder She Wrote” has some of the most iconic costumes, including but not limited to Fletcher’s impeccable outerwear choices. Marvel at ’80s V-neck sweaters under men’s coats, windbreakers with a plethora of colors or nautical rain jackets that put the Gorton’s fisherman in his place.
4. “Search Party”
It’s entirely possible to create a compelling crime show featuring standout coats without actually having to discuss said coats. Twitter didn’t go apeshit over the outerwear sported by Alia Shawkat, John Early or Meredith Hagner, but it should have. The series takes place over various seasons but each coat perfectly encapsulates each ridiculous and over-the-top character without talking it to death.
″Frasier” did more for trench coats than ”The Undoing” ever could for its apparel. Thanks to the rainy setting of Seattle, Frasier and his counterparts made trench coats stylish, with or without interior Burberry branding. “Frasier” might not strike audiences as TV’s most fashion-forward show, but next time you watch, pay attention to the countless beige drappering going on between the psychologist, his brother and the rest of the gang.
6. “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”
We would be remiss to exclude a classic peacoat from an article praising good coats on television. A proper peacoat can be found on Ross Geller or Blair Waldorf, but the real iconic winner is clear. Mary Tyler Moore endures frigid temperatures in what can only be described as the most appropriate winter coat. She actually emphasizes warmth in her costume options, whereas Kidman saunters around a frigid New York City in partially opened coats that have no signs of insulation. Mary Tyler Moore would never.