'The Undoing': Get to Know the Characters of HBO's Latest Whodunit

The Undoing Hugh Grant Nicole Kidman Edgar Ramirez
HBO

Nicole Kidman reteams with Big Little Lies creator David E. Kelley for another glamorous whodunit set in a world of haves and have-nots.

She and Hugh Grant spark as a privileged and loving Manhattan couple living their best lives until a horrific murder — linked to their 12-year-old son Henry's (Noah Jupe) school — causes everything to unravel.

Director and executive producer Susanne Bier (Bird Box) introduces the players, below.

The Undoing, Series Premiere, Sunday, October 25, 9/8c, HBO

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Grace Fraser (Nicole Kidman)

The soft-spoken therapist buzzes with empathy, patience and love. She’s passionate with her husband, adores her only child and gently tolerates the superficial “school moms.” Although she grew up in a penthouse overlooking Central Park, “she was looking for more out of life [than wealth], so she married out of her inner circle,” says Bier. “With Grace, you think you know her…or maybe you don’t.”

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Jonathan Fraser (Hugh Grant)

Jonathan is a pediatric oncologist who will do anything for his patients, and is seen as selflessly heroic by his family as well. He’s warm, witty and cultured, a mischievous flirt with Grace and his son Henry’s biggest booster. “Hugh Grant has always been incredibly charming, but in this piece, there is a side of him that’s being uncovered slowly, which is very unpredictable,” teases Bier. Jonathan is haunted by a painful past.

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Detective Joe Mendoza (Édgar Ramírez)

After the shocking killing, this relentless NYPD gumshoe bursts the protective bubble surrounding the elite Frasers and their friends. “He resents, rightly so, that world of wealth,” Bier says. “Its arrogance and oblivion make it hard [for him] to control his anger.” Mendoza’s bluntness disarms, offends and angers Grace, who wants to aid the investigation without being bullied.

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Elena Alves (Matilda DeAngelis)

A struggling artist living in Harlem with her husband, Fernando (Ismael Cruz Córdova), infant daughter and young son who attends Henry’s school on scholarship, Elena is a fish out of water when tossed in with the rich parents. “She has old-school sexiness like Brigitte Bardot, but within that there’s a lot of pain,” Bier hints. “She’s wounded and deeply unhappy. She tries to ask for help, but in a weird way.”

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Franklin Reinhardt (Donald Sutherland)

Grace’s dignified dad, a widowed financier, rattles around his lonely penthouse, where he plays the grand piano. (During a duet, Kidman improvised dialogue about Grace’s mom.) While he’s not Jonathan’s biggest fan, Franklin is fiercely protective of his clan. “He’s going to get what he wants. You think he’s kind, but if you cross him, you’ll be in big trouble,” Bier says. “This story is about how families don’t always behave the way you want.”