8 Binge-Worthy TV Shows Based on Betrayal

Scheming, cheating and lying are all things sensible people go out of their way to avoid in daily life. But when dramatized, these low-down, dirty characteristics can make for some high-quality TV. However it's spun, betrayal of any kind is compelling to watch.

Check out eight shows we binged, slack-jawed, that revolve around some sort of terrible treachery:

1. Doctor Foster


Dr. Gemma Foster, played by Suranne Jones, finds a long blonde hair on her seemingly loving husband's (Bertie Carvel) jacket. It could have come from anywhere... but, she just can't let it go. His assistant has blonde hair. Their family friend has blonde hair. She thinks she's losing it, becoming so paranoid. But when she learns the truth, the deceit is actually way worse than what she could have imagined. Even so, Foster keeps it together and continues to run her practice, caring for her patients, and is a good mom to her young son. But, one can only take so much before breaking... The first season is five episodes long and available over at Netflix. You can also look for BBC America's forthcoming Killing Eve's Jodie Comer (and yes, she does have blonde hair, too) in Doctor Foster.

2. Ozark


Financial advisor Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) moves his family from the hustle and bustle of Chicago, IL to the sleepy town of Lake Ozark, MO. Why? Oh, because it will be easier to stay under the radar and launder money from there. He desperately needs to pay back the leader of a drug cartel so he can keep himself and his family alive. His wife (Laura Linney) isn't too keen on uprooting everything, but, considering she was having an affair, which Marty learned about, she doesn't really have a leg to stand on. Ozark is a Netflix original, currently available for binging.

3. Damages


Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne) is a recent law school graduate. She's recruited by a top litigation firm, Hewes & Associates, but she has to decline the interview because it's the same day as her sister's wedding. Patti Hewes (Glenn Close) herself shows up to the wedding and conducts an impromptu interview in the ladies' room. When there are plenty of qualified candidates, why is Ellen Parsons being sought out? Oh, because Parsons, unknowingly, is indirectly attached to Hewes' class action lawsuit against an alleged financial scammer (Ted Danson), which has a multi-billionaire dollar payout, if she wins. But, it's Parsons who will be paying the ultimate price, as we learn in the season opener, with the series moving back and forth in time, gradually filling in the gaps. Damages originally aired on FX, and is now living over at Netflix.

4. Big Little Lies


A young single mom, Jane Chapman (Shailene Woodley), moves to a new town with her six-year-old son, hoping for a new start. She lands in a well-to-do Californian suburb, where she's befriended by supermom, Madeline Mackenzie (Reese Witherspoon). It's clear that Chapman is rattled, and running from something, but we had to binge through a few episodes to find out exactly what. Nicole Kidman's character, Celeste Wright, offers moral support, too, helping the young woman acclimate to the affluent neighborhood and the mean girl mom-bots. She can only be there so much, though, because Wright is dealing with a type of betrayal of her own. Big Little Lies is available for streaming on Amazon Instant Video or via HBO subscription.

5. Broadchurch


We just finished the third and final season of the crime thriller Broadchurch, which aired on BBC America. But, going back to the beginning, the series revolves around the worst kind of betrayal: the murder of a defenseless child. And, as anyone who watches Law and Order knows, statistically, the victim typically knew the assailant. David Tennant and Olivia Colman star as detectives in the close-knit seaside town of Broadchurch, England, working to find out how such a thing, the murder of Danny Latimer, could happen. Full episodes of Broadchurch are available at BBCAmerica.com or BBC America via iTunes. 

6. Top of the Lake


Elisabeth Moss, who recently starred in The Handmaid's Tale, portrays an inexperienced detective who moves from Australia to Queenstown, New Zealand. While still a rookie, she is an expert in child protection. She's assigned a case, which is centered on a young girl, around 13, who's pregnant. The child herself doesn't know how this has happened, never having had sex, at least knowingly. Moss's character knows straight away that something is wrong. Very wrong. When the girl goes missing, the town is on red alert. Top of the Lake originally aired in the U.S. on SundanceTV and is now available for streaming via Hulu or Amazon Instant. 

7. The Politician's Wife 


Before there was The Politician’s Husband, starring David Tennant and Emily Watson, there was The Politician’s Wife. It revolves around a successful politician (Trevor Eve) who is found to be having an affair with a former escort (Minnie Driver). The show is driven by the reaction his wife (Juliet Stevenson) has to the misdeed. You can find The Politician's Wife over at Acorn Media or via Amazon Instant. 

8. The Girlfriend Experience


Christine Reade (Riley Keough) is a second-year law student. She's not all that interested in dating, but she does like sex. And while the whole courting thing is kind of a snore, she spots a possible money-making opportunity and gets into the high-end call girl business where clients pay, not just for sex but an entire "girlfriend experience." Reade may have betrayed herself, abandoning her studies to trade sex for money, which is a dangerous line of work — no matter what level it's at. The Girlfriend Experience is available via Amazon Instant.

Why do you think betrayal is a theme regularly seen throughout TV?