Simon says

‘One Of Us Is Lying’ TV series changes original plot



‘One Of Us Is Lying’ was released to Peacock on Oct. 7.

Bethany Mann, Staff Writer

Major spoilers ahead:

Five students walk into detention. Only four walk out. With their classmate Simon Kelleher now dead, seniors Bronwyn, Nate, Addy and Cooper, are now the main suspects in his supposed murder. 

“One Of Us Is Lying” written by Karen M. McManus was originally published in 2017, earning remarkable reviews from young adult readers. In October of 2021, NBC’s streaming platform, Peacock, adapted the novel into its own television series.

Eager fans awaited its arrival to see their favorite characters on screen. The show, however, did not live up to the novel’s legacy.

It’s a tale as old as time; an amazing book is written, a screenplay is created, fans await its release and the movie or show changes the entire plot of the book.

The “One Of Us Is Lying” TV series in and of itself is good, a truly enjoyable watching experience, but it strays away from the original plot, especially at the end. 

The first notable difference is how the main characters receive detention. In the novel, burner phones are placed in all four of their backpacks. In the show, a phone is only placed in Bronwyn’s backpack. The other three have less notable reasons.

Another major difference can be seen through the character of Nate. He is the perfect example of the traditional bad boy stereotype. He’s a former drug dealer who just recently stopped because he’s on probation, drives a motorcycle, has a deadbeat father and a dead mother–except she’s not. 

Each of the main four characters, dubbed the Bayview Four, have secrets that they will do anything to keep from being posted on About That, Simon’s app for Bayview High School gossip. Nate’s mother was addicted to drugs and left him a few years prior. He then told people that his mother was dead because it was easier than dealing with the truth. This is his secret in the book, but not the show.

The TV show keeps this storyline, but decided to add their own. Nate is no longer a former drug dealer, but an active one whose big secret was the most problematic of all. In the summer, he sold drugs to Janae, Simon’s best friend, causing her to overdose. 

They had no reason for changing his secret. It does not advance the plot at all. It does, however, complicate things when his mother returns to town.

Throughout the eight episode season, the “One Of Us Is Lying” series changes many plot points, but the most notable one can be called the “whodunit” storyline. 

In the book, it is revealed that Simon killed himself by putting peanut oil, which he is allergic to, in his water. He partnered with Jake, Addy’s boyfriend, and Janae to help him frame the four. After Simon died, Jake continued to post on About That and even framed one of the four, leading to their arrest, before he was caught. Keep in mind, this was all Simon’s idea.

In the show, it started out as a sick prank that Simon and Jake concocted. They were going to set up their classmates by triggering Simon’s severe peanut allergy, and have someone save him at the last minute with an epi pen from the nurse’s office. 

But after Jake got paranoid about Simon recording their conversations on his Xbox, the plan went awry. Jake, not wanting the prank to be traced back to him and seeing the opportunity to frame his cheating girlfriend for murder, stole the epi pens from the nurse’s office, leading to Simon’s death. 

Though the screen adaptation of “One Of Us Is Lying” by Karen M. McManus changes many plot lines, almost creating their own story, it is still a well produced show, recommendable for everyone.