Deborah Mailman in The Secret Life of Us: Break-up
The Secret Life of Us (2001–2005) was a popular TV drama about a group of 20-somethings living in an apartment block in the Melbourne suburb of St Kilda.
Deborah Mailman played one of the main characters in the show, Kelly Lewis, who shares an apartment with writer Evan Wylde, played by Samuel Johnson.
In this excerpt from season 3, episode 12 we see how Kelly copes after being the victim of a brutal assault in her apartment by a friend of Evan’s. The trauma of the assault, and her boyfriend’s insensitive way of dealing with it, forces her to reassess their relationship.
This clip also features Sibylla Budd as Gabrielle and Torquil Neilson as Jake. The episode was directed by Cate Shortland (Somersault, 2004; Black Widow, 2021).
The Secret Life of Us was a landmark series in the way that it dealt with serious subjects and for its honest depictions of life for young adults in an inner-city melting pot of messy relationships, sex and sexism, drugs, drinking and violence.
It helped to cement the careers of a number of rising stars like Joel Edgerton and Claudia Karvan and also attracted some famous names as recurring guest stars including Ben Mendelsohn, Susie Porter, Vince Colosimo and Rhys Muldoon.
Mailman starred in The Secret Life of Us for its entire 4-season run. It was not only a breakout role for her career, but a significant one in terms of Aboriginal representation in mainstream television drama, following in the footsteps of Justine Saunders.
Mailman won two Most Outstanding Actress Logie awards for her role as Kelly, in 2002 and 2004.