Mikey Madison and Natalie Portman in Lady in the Lake
(Apple TV+)

Natalie Portman Investigates a Suspicious Death in ‘Lady in the Lake’s Official Trailer

Apple TV+ dropped the first official trailer for Lady in the Lake, giving viewers an eerie first-look into the mystery thriller.

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The series is based on the novel of the same name by Laura Lippman, who revealed her book was inspired by two real-life crimes. In 1969, Lippman was a child when she heard about the abduction and murder of 11-year-old Esther Lebowitz and witnessed the profound impact her tragic death had on the Jewish community. That same year, a young African American woman, Shirley Lee Widgeon Parker, died under mysterious circumstances. However, Lippman never heard of Parker’s story until years later, and she found herself wondering why. Inspired by these events, she crafted a novel about an investigative journalist who delves into two similar crimes while navigating the racism and sexism of Baltimore in the 1960s.

Lippman’s book received high praise, including a rave review from legendary horror writer Stephen King. Now, Apple TV+ has tapped award-winning director Alma Har’el to bring Lady in the Lake to life.

Apple TV+ drops the first official trailer for Lady in the Lake

Lady in the Lake is set to release on Apple TV+ on July 19. The series will start with a two-episode premiere, after which new episodes will be released weekly. A month before the show’s release, the streamer dropped the first official trailer for the new series.

The cryptic trailer teases at dark pasts and a mysterious connection between two women. Viewers see Maddie Schwartz (Natalie Portman), a 1960s housewife, start to build a new life for herself as she investigates the death of Cleo Johnson (Moses Ingram), who was found in a lake. We get glimpses of Cleo’s life before she died, which hints that there was a sinister element to her passing. While it’s difficult to tell how Cleo and Maddie relate to one another, there are suggestions that Maddie has a dark secret and may even have something to do with the bodies discovered in the lake. With a sense of mystery, foreboding, and teases that something darker is at play, Lady in the Lake‘s trailer effectively piques viewers’ interest.

As mentioned above, Academy Award-winner Portman will lead the cast of Lady in the Lake as investigative journalist Maddie. Starring opposite Portman is The Queen’s Gambit and Obi-Wan Kenobi star Moses Ingram. Y’lan Noel (The First Purge) will star as Ferdie Platt, a police officer who enters a relationship with Maddie, while Mikey Madison (Better Things) portrays Maddie’s friend, Judith. Starring as Cleo’s family are Byron Bowers as Slappy Dark Johnson and Samir Royal as Lionel Johnson. Rounding out the cast in undisclosed roles are David Corenswet, Noah Jupe, Brett Gelman, Josiah Cross, and Mike Epps.

The official synopsis for Lady in the Lake reads:

When the disappearance of a young girl grips the city of Baltimore on Thanksgiving 1966, the lives of two women converge on a fatal collision course. Maddie Schwartz (Natalie Portman) is a Jewish housewife seeking to shed a secret past and reinvent herself as an investigative journalist, and Cleo Johnson (Moses Ingram) is a mother navigating the political underbelly of Black Baltimore while struggling to provide for her family. Their disparate lives seem parallel at first, but when Maddie becomes fixated on Cleo’s mystifying death, a chasm opens that puts everyone around them in danger. From visionary director Alma Har’el, “Lady in the Lake” emerges as a feverish noir thriller and an unexpected tale of the price women pay for their dreams.

If Lady in the Lake follows the novel’s plot closely, viewers can expect quite a few plot twists and surprising connections throughout the story. We can also expect it to provide some poignant commentary on the 1960s, race and class in Baltimore, and the lengths women will go to reinvent themselves and find purpose in their lives. With strong source materials and the talents of Portman and Ingram, Lady in the Lake has potential to be Apple TV+’s next big original series.

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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.