Juliette Lewis as Detective Cornell (ABC/Bob D'Amico).

“Secrets and Lies”

April 3, 2015

Valli Herman

The hair, tightly wound and controlled, is the first clue that Detective Andrea Cornell isn’t the kind of police woman who ignores details. As she investigates a child’s murder in the ABC series “Secrets and Lies,” she creates an image of formidable stability.

Cornell, played by Juliette Lewis, may be a petite woman, but she’s also a no-nonsense cop known for her focus. She tends to wear dark Theory or Hugo Boss suits with tapered, cuffed trousers, simple white or light blue shirts and an unfussy pale khaki overcoat.

“The structured silhouette reflects who she is,” said Costume Designer Kathryn Morrison. “She’s a very structured person, a very structured detective and that is reflected in her work.”

The 10-episode drama sifts through the layers of secrecy and deception that cloud judgment about Ben Crawford (Ryan Phillippe), a regular-guy dad who discovers the body of his neighbor’s young son and is soon suspected in his murder. Cornell pegs Ben as “a person of interest.”

Morrison fine-tuned the look of the characters when she took on the series from the pilot’s Costume Designer, Mary Claire Hannan. She liked Hannan’s take on Cornell.

“It’s a great choice, and a choice I would have picked myself for her,” said Morrison. “It’s strong, timeless and classic. There is no confusing who she is. When you see her in several episodes, it’s basically the same costume.”

Morrison refined the characters using some of the real-world insights her sheriff brother has shared over the years. “ You have to remember that when you deal with the public you have to look professional. You can’t get too realistic,” Morrison said.

When creating the character, Hannan also based her 2005 detective on one of her 1970s favorites: Peter Faulk’s “Columbo.” His ever-present raincoat inspired Cornell’s, which was made by Los Angeles tailor Richard Lim’s High Society shop. To get a perfect fit, Cornell’s shirts are custom made by Anto of Beverly Hills and Sherman Oaks.

Hannan gave the detective one more detail that may not always be visible on screen, but tells everything about how sturdy the character is: Heavy shoes. Lewis wears brogues instead of today’s typical ballerina flats.

“I wanted a masculine vibe on her really tiny, feminine nymph-like body, that Peter Pan body,” Hannan said. “I like that ‘I’m in charge’, empowered kind of woman.”

“Secrets and Lies” airs on ABC, Sundays at 9 to 10 p.m. ET.


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