Apple TV+ revealed a first look at Surface, a new thriller from High Fidelity producer and Ugly Betty writer Veronica West that stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw (The Morning Show) as a woman trying to get her life back together after a bout of extreme memory loss. This first image from the series sees Mbatha-Raw‘s Sophie appearing completely out of it and frightened while lying on a bench near a loading dock. The star also serves as executive producer on the series which debuts on the streamer on July 29.
In Surface, Sophie’s life is completely thrown off the rails after serious head trauma, presumably from a suicide attempt, leaves her with little to no memories. She leans on her friends and husband during this time, all of whom try to help her remember exactly who she is and what she’s done in her life. Through her journey, she starts to question whether what she’s told about herself actually represents the life she lived, leading her down a winding path that involves a love triangle and plenty of questions. In all, it looks to explore whether our identity is chosen or merely given to us at birth, asking the difficult question of “What if you woke up one day and didn’t know your own secrets?”
The image highlights the sort of existential crisis Sophie is going through. Trying to sort through every little thing friends and family know about you and what your truth really is can be overwhelming. Self-discovery is already an exhausting journey even without having to re-discover literally your entire life. Sophie even appears to be dressed for a special occasion, showing just how immediately she simply needed to lie down and calm down.
Surface marks Mbatha-Raw‘s first lead role in a show as she headlines an ensemble cast featuring Oliver Jackson-Cohen (The Haunting of Hill House), Stephan James (If Beale Street Could Talk), Ari Graynor (I’m Dying Up Here), Academy Award nominee Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Secrets & Lies), François Arnaud (I Killed My Mother), and Millie Brady (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies).
Apple Studios and Hello Sunshine produced the series for Apple TV+ with Mbatha-Raw’s The Morning Show colleague Reese Witherspoon executive producing alongside Lauren Neustadter. Emmy Award-nominee Sam Miller (I May Destroy You) also executive produced and directed four episodes including the pilot. Kevin Sullivan, Jennifer Morrison, Tucker Gates were also on board to direct.
Surface is the latest series to come out of the ongoing partnership between Apple TV+ and Hello Sunshine. While they collaborated on Octavia Spencer‘s Truth Be Told and the Jennifer Garner-led The Last Thing He Told Me, The Morning Show stands out for Mbatha-Raw‘s performance. It may be the reason why Hello Sunshine was so confident in the veteran actress leading this brand-new series.
Surface premieres on Apple TV+ on July 29 with new episodes coming weekly thereafter.