“It’s strange to reflect, of all the people living in that house, I was the only one of them left alive in six month’s time.” When Grace Marks (Sarah Gadon) speaks those words, the latest trailer for “Alias Grace” settles into territory somewhere between gothic thriller and true crime mystery. If this latest look into the six-part limited series is any indication, it’s comfortable ground.
“Alias Grace” was inspired by the true story of Grace Marks, a young Irish immigrant and domestic servant in Canada, who was convicted of a notorious double murder in 1843. The series, a joint production by Canada’s CBC Television and Netflix, is the latest to mine the works of celebrated author Margaret Atwood. Atwood’s 1996 novel, on which this production is based, took home Canada’s Giller Prize and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Coming off the success of Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” another Atwood adaptation, it’s likely that Netflix has sky-high hopes for “Alias Grace.”
Adapted by Oscar-nominated screenwriter Sarah Polley (“Away from Her,” “Stories We Tell”), the miniseries will tell the story of Grace Marks and the controversial murder conviction that made her infamous throughout Canada. Marks, along with stable hand James McDermott (Kerr Logan), were convicted of the double murder of Thomas Kinnear (Paul Gross) and his housekeeper/alleged lover, Nancy Montgomery (Anna Paquin). There was, however, always a bit of doubt near Marks’s role in the murder: Was she a willing accomplice or simply taken along for the ride by McDermott? Much like the novel at its foundation, the miniseries will focus on the efforts of the fictional Dr. Simon Jordan (Edward Holcroft) as he works with Grace, who claims amnesia, to recall her past and the events surrounding the murder. “Alias Grace” premieres on Netflix on November 3.