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Author of book The Undoing is based on reveals she was suspicious of Lily Rabe’s character Sylvia

When the killer was revealed in Sunday night’s finale of the HBO series The Undoing, it turned out to be the most obvious suspect, but even the author whose book inspired the show has admitted to being suspicious of Lily Rabe’s character Sylvia Steineitz. 

The six-part drama starring Nicole Kidman and Huge Grant as married couple Grace and Jonathan Fraser was based on Jean Hanff Korelitz’s 2014 thriller ‘You Should Have Known.’ However, she also thought Sylvia was up to no good in the series. 

‘I’ll be honest, I had my eye on Sylvia as well, and not just because you can’t look away from Lily Rabe when she’s on screen,’ Korelitz told PopSugar, saying she also wants creator David E. Kelley to write a second season of the show.  

Looking guilty? Author Jean Hanff Korelitz revealed she was suspicious of Lily Rabe’s character Sylvia Steineitz in the HBO thriller The Undoing 

Inspiration: The six-part drama was based on Korelitz's 2014 thriller 'You Should Have Known,' and the author pointed out that Sylvia is 'very different from her counterpart in the novel'

Inspiration: The six-part drama was based on Korelitz's 2014 thriller 'You Should Have Known,' and the author pointed out that Sylvia is 'very different from her counterpart in the novel'

Inspiration: The six-part drama was based on Korelitz’s 2014 thriller ‘You Should Have Known,’ and the author pointed out that Sylvia is ‘very different from her counterpart in the novel’

The Undoing is a loose adaptation of the book, meaning the Sylvia that Korelitz saw on screen was unlike the one she created. 

‘Sylvia’s very different from her counterpart in the novel, and I would really like to know who her daughter’s father is,’ she explained. ‘But I guess I’ll never know now . . . unless we really hold David E. Kelley’s feet to the fire and demand another season!’ 

From the first episode it was established that Sylvia was Grace’s best friend and a fellow mom at the fictional Reardon School. She shared a close relationship with Grace’s son, Henry (Noah Jupe), and father, Franklin Reinhart (Donald Sutherland).

Sylvia also attended law school with Catherine Stamper (Sofie Gråbøl), the prosecutor in Johnathan’s trial — a detail that became crucial later on in the series

However, there were several incidents that fans found suspicious and believed pointed to Sylvia’s guilt. Firstly, she knew Elena Alves (Matilda De Angelis) was the murder victim before it had been released by police. While this was likely down to her law firm or school connections, some viewers thought it pointed to her involvement.

Questions: The conclusion of the psychological thriller starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant as Grace and Jonathan Fraser (pictured) has left viewers with more questions than answers

Questions: The conclusion of the psychological thriller starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant as Grace and Jonathan Fraser (pictured) has left viewers with more questions than answers

Gotcha: Viewers finally discovered who killed Jonathan's mistress Elena Alves (Matilda De Angelis) on Sunday night's finale. The murderer ended up being the obvious suspect

Gotcha: Viewers finally discovered who killed Jonathan’s mistress Elena Alves (Matilda De Angelis) on Sunday night’s finale. The murderer ended up being the obvious suspect 

Secondly, Sylvia advised Johnathan when he was facing sexual misconduct allegations at the hospital and chose to keep the issue secret from Grace. When the truth did come out, Sylvia explained she hadn’t been at liberty to divulge any information due to client privilege. Viewers believed she was hiding something.

Another mark against Sylvia in the eyes of many fans was the fact that her advice to Grace was always more practical than emotional. She didn’t seem to share in the distress that some viewers were expecting, sparking questions.

Two popular fan theories were that Sylvia was having an affair with either Johnathan or Grace’s father Franklin.

The HBO publicity team also sparked the flames of this particular fan theory fire by tweeting that Rabe wouldn’t sign on just to play a background character.   

Kelley told TV Line that Sylvia was meant to come off as suspicious to eagle-eyed viewers even though she wasn’t guilty of any wrongdoing. 

‘In designing the episodes, we were inviting people to play with their biases and their curiosity and their version of the truth,’ he explained. ‘There were scenes with Sylvia that were deliberately cryptic, but it was never part of the master plan to have her be part of the crime. 

Hard to figure out: There were several incidents that fans found suspicious and believed pointed to Sylvia's guilt

Hard to figure out: There were several incidents that fans found suspicious and believed pointed to Sylvia’s guilt

Suspicions: Two popular fan theories were that Sylvia was having an affair with either Jonathan (pictured) or Grace's dad, Franklin Reinhart (Donald Sutherland)

Suspicions: Two popular fan theories were that Sylvia was having an affair with either Jonathan or Grace's dad, Franklin Reinhart (Donald Sutherland, pictured)

Suspicions: Two popular fan theories were that Sylvia was having an affair with either Jonathan (left) or Grace’s dad, Franklin Reinhart (Donald Sutherland, right)

‘I’m not on social media, but I was hearing that some people speculated that Franklin was having a relationship with her or Jonathan was having a relationship with her… But it was never part of the plot.’  

While many were convinced she had something to do with murder of Jonathan’s mistress Elena, it turns out she really is just a good friend. 

In what some Twitter users described as a ‘not-so-shocking twist,’ Jonathan is unmasked as the killer, despite mounting evidence in previous episodes that someone had framed him.

Some fans went as far as tweeting their apologies to the fictional Sylvia, admitting they were ready to lock up her up and throw away the key. 

‘My apologies to Sylvia, Mendoza, Henry, Grandpa, the Headmaster, that one mom in the cream coat, the kids in the park, the door man, juror # 6, etc, whom all were suspects in my head the past 6 weeks. My bad,’ one person wrote.  

Another asked: ‘Where can I send an edible arrangement to Sylvia cause I was ready to call myself to the stand & say it was her…’

Whoops: While many were convinced she had something to do with murder of Jonathan's mistress Elena, it turns out she really is just a good friend

Whoops: While many were convinced she had something to do with murder of Jonathan’s mistress Elena, it turns out she really is just a good friend

Made a mistake: Some fans went as far as tweeting their apologies to the fictional Sylvia, admitting they were ready to lock up her up and throw away the key

Made a mistake: Some fans went as far as tweeting their apologies to the fictional Sylvia, admitting they were ready to lock up her up and throw away the key

‘Sylvia told us in the first episode and I still blamed her,’ someone else added, referring to a scene in which she told Grace that ‘it’s always the f**king husband.’  

The Undoing was officially billed as a ‘limited series’ and was intended to only have one season, though the network has changed its mind in the past. 

While HBO hasn’t announced any plans to renew the series, director Susanne Bier told Marie Claire that she hopes Kelley will pen a follow-up. 

‘I would love for David [E. Kelley] to write a season two. But, as of now, there are no plans, no nothing of a season two,’ she said. ‘There might never be any plans [for] it. I think it would be so much fun to do a season two, but right now it’s just wishful thinking.’

Meanwhile, Kelley told TVLine that he isn’t going to rule out the possibility of a second season.

Kelley, who previously worked with Kidman on Big Little Lies, referenced his other hit HBO show, which was also originally billed as a single-season drama.

‘I think we’re satisfied. We’re happy with the way it ended. I said there wouldn’t be [a second season of] Big Little Lies, so I won’t say that now,’ he said. ‘I learned my lesson. But that is not our intent.’ 


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