The Mad Men alum plays Kirby Mazrachi, a research assistant at the Chicago Sun-Times who suffered a violent attack six years earlier. The perpetrator was never caught, so Kirby decides to investigate with help from a reporter named Dan (Wagner Moura).
Along the way, however, she starts to experience strange occurrences: people in her apartment who weren’t there before, for example, or slight changes in her hair. As she searches for the man she believes is a serial killer (Jamie Bell), she also begins to question reality.
In addition to playing the show’s lead character, Moss also served as an executive producer and directed two episodes of Shining Girls. “The directing has made the acting part more exciting than it’s ever been,” the Handmaid’s Tale star told Newsweek ahead of the show’s April 29 premiere. “It’s just a way of keeping exploring the project in an even deeper and more complex way.”
The Emmy winner has starred in her fair share of dark productions over the years, and Shining Girls is no exception. Despite the series’ harrowing subject matter, however, Moss is proud of how the show tackles the reality of surviving any sort of life-altering event.
“I felt like the analogy of trauma was honest,” the Shirley actress said during a Television Critics Association panel discussion in February. “Kirby has never been able to move on from these experiences, which is the analogy of the show. And this is for anyone who has experienced a trauma, be it an attack or losing a loved one, or any giant shift that turns everything upside down. It’s beautifully done.”
Michelle MacLaren, who directed the show’s first two episodes, explained that she and her team intended for the show’s reality-bending moments to reflect the lingering effects of Kirby’s traumatic experience.
“[Kirby’s] life is incredibly unbalanced,” the Emmy winner told Looper in April. “I wanted [the show] to feel really grounded and real, and to throw the audience off and [have them] find it unbalancing and somewhat confusing because that’s what she’s going through. Could you imagine going along in life and you turn around, everything’s changed?”
The series is based on Lauren Beukes‘ 2013 novel, The Shining Girls, though the book’s major twist is not immediately revealed during the show. “I was a huge fan of the book,” showrunner Silka Luisa told TV Fanatic in April. “As a genre fanatic, I thought the way Lauren blended the genres was something I just hadn’t seen before.”
Keep scrolling for more details on Shining Girls.