'One of Us Is Lying' Hopes to Be the New Teen Murder Mystery Obsession: Here's a First Look (Exclusive)

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Truth is at a premium in Peacock's new teen mystery drama, One of Us Is Lying.

Adapted from author Karen McManus' bestselling novel, the eight-episode series tells the story of what happens when five high schoolers at Bayview walk into detention and only four make it out alive. Everyone is a suspect and everyone has something to hide. Annalisa Cochrane (Addy), Chibuikem Uche (Cooper), Marianly Tejada (Bronwyn), Cooper van Grootel (Nate), Barrett Carnahan (Jake), Mark McKenna (Simon), Melissa Collazo (Maeve) and Jessica McLeod (Janae) star in the one-hour drama.

In ET's exclusive first look at the series, which kicks off with its first three episodes Thursday, the cast and producers set the stage for the twisty mystery that just may be your newest high school murder mystery obsession. When Simon, the high schooler behind the notorious gossip site, About That (think Gossip Girl), which exposes the student body's most nefarious secrets and lies dies after drinking a cup of water in detention, his four other classmates -- all with a motive to get him out of the picture -- become prime suspects as his case begins to unravel.

"I wrote this in 2015 and it was a time where it felt like there was scandal after scandal online, and it would be this tidal wave of attention and it would completely upend their lives. And I was just so interested in what happens to you when you're in the middle of the wave and what happens to you when the wave recedes," McManus says in the clip.

"You will get to see the juicier, fun moments in the book," promises Tejada, who plays "the brain" of the group. Adds Uche: "High school, it's navigating people. It's navigating status, it's navigating cliques, it's trying to find out who you are. And you see all of that in Bayview and more."

Elite co-creator Darío Madrona serves as showrunner and executive producer, and he notes that though the series is most definitely a murder mystery, it's also about the trials of being a teenager: "It's also about making friends. It's about falling in love for the first time." Erica Saleh (Evil) wrote the pilot and is executive producer alongside John Sacchi and Matt Groesch. Jennifer Morrison directed and produced the pilot. 

"Karen has given us this brilliant story, these brilliant characters," Saleh praises, promising readers of the book should expect the unexpected. "We do have some surprises and twists and turns to keep you on your toes along the way."

"I think this cast is really relatable to teens because they're complicated and they don't always do the right thing. And they're also all hiding part of themselves that they're afraid for the rest of the world to see," McManus teases. 

"All of the cast brings something so real and genuine and authentic and raw to all the characters," van Grootel says. "We've put so much hard work into it and I hope it's just as fun to watch."

Madrona previewed the teen mystery drama with ET, saying that he and the writers have remained largely faithful to McManus' book -- with some surprises.

"We've been faithful. Obviously you want to give people who read the books something new to work with -- some surprises and twists -- but we've been, I think, pretty faithful to the book and the mission in the book is super important. At the end of the day there's the journey these characters go through and there's the mystery. It has to be a moment in which both of them collide and become one," Madrona said. "If at the end of the mystery, you realize that some random dude that has nothing to do with the themes of the show is guilty, then it's just not worth it. So to me, what's interesting here is mixing all the character stuff with what's happening at the same time as the mystery and having both of them intertwined."

"When I was talking to the writers, I was always saying what happens emotionally to the characters always affects the mystery," he added. "There's reveals later in the season about the characters' pasts that make them not trust each other. And that becomes an obstacle in their investigation, having to mix those two all the time. I think it's really important. And I think it's also very faithful to the book. Because the book is as much as it is about mystery it's about these four characters and their journey."

There's a special intrigue for high school stories that Madrona gravitates toward, after co-running the first three seasons of Netflix's buzzy Spanish series, Elite

"Teenage years are time for firsts. It's the first time you fall in love. The first time you have sex. The first time someone betrays you and really hurts. The first time you go into the world trying to make someone of yourself thinking of your future. There's so many firsts and everything is so intense. For drama, it's so rich to be able to be in a world in which people experience things for the first time and face things for the first time and everything -- even the smallest thing -- it feels your whole world collapses or the opposite, everything is perfect and amazing. That's so powerful," he said. "I not only read and watch teenage stuff but every time I do it, I remind myself how powerful it is to watch people grow into themselves and experience things for the first time because that way it's almost you're experiencing them for the first time as well. And who doesn't want to experience things for the first time, a million times? It's much more exciting -- with all due respect -- than the story of someone who's been through everything."


Want to stream One of Us Is Lyingwhen the first three episodes drop Thursday, Oct. 7? Sign up for Peacock. (We may receive an affiliate commission if you subscribe to a service through our links.)

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