"Somebody's Dead" is the first episode of the first season of Big Little Lies. It is the first episode of the series overall. It was released on February 19, 2017 on HBO.[1]


In the affluent beachfront community of Monterey, CA, a fundraiser for the local elementary school has gone horribly wrong--someone is dead, and school moms Madeline Mackenzie, Celeste Wright, Jane Chapman and Renata Klein may have had something to do with it. Though the victim and perpetrator remain a mystery, it's clear that the battle lines leading to this fateful night were drawn at first-grade orientation a few weeks earlier, when Renata's daughter Amabella accuses Ziggy, son of new arrival and single mom Jane, of hurting her during class. Madeline, who recently befriended Jane and who has a pre-existing beef with Renata, sticks up for the mother and her little boy. Later, Madeline bristles when her teen daughter Abigail opines that her mom is still infatuated with her ex, Nathan, and his new wife Bonnie--a feeling shared by Madeline's husband Ed. Meanwhile, after Madeline's best friend Celeste fills in her husband Perry about the kerfuffle at school, the couple end up in an unexpectedly volatile argument.[2]


Detectives Adrienne Quinlan and Walt Gibson walk through a crime scene at a local school, site of an Audrey Hepburn/Elvis Presley-themed fundraiser. Gibson notes there are a number of witnesses to the crime, but "not a lot of clarity." The detectives take note of the body at the bottom of a staircase.

On the first day of school some weeks before the fundraiser, Madeline Martha Mackenzie meets single mom Jane Chapman, who is new to the community. Jane, significantly younger than the other mothers, is nervous for her son, Ziggy's first day, but is happy to see Madeline's precocious daughter, Chloe, take him under her wing. Madeline introduces Jane to Celeste, whose twins, Max and Josh, are also 6. The three women make a fast connection.

Madeline is irritated that her ex-husband Nathan is present at orientation with his new wife, Bonnie, and their daughter, Skye. Her issue, she explains, is not about Nathan specifically, but that he never bothered to be at their daughter Abigail's first day of school. Bonnie apologizes to Madeline for recently signing a petition against a show being done by the local theater where Madeline works.

Another mother, Renata Klein mistakes Jane for a nanny, but Madeline rushes to correct her. The children finish orientation, and Jane is thrilled to hear Ziggy had fun. The mood changes however, when Renata's daughter, Amabella says one of the other children tried to choke her. Encouraged by the teacher to point out the persona responsible, Amabella accuses Ziggy. Renata looks to Jane and her son for an apology, but Ziggy is so adamant he didn't do it, Jane doesn't have the heart to make him apologize for something she believes he didn't commit.

At home that evening Renata explains to her husband, Gordon, the other women at school don't like her because she has a career.

Madeline confesses to her husband, Ed, she feels she is losing Abigail to Nathan and Bonnie. Trying to connect, Madeline and Abigail share a moment at the piano. Abby says she'll get Bonnie to start a new petition "for" Madeline's play.

Celeste tells her husband, Perry, about the incident with Amabella. Perry suggests it's best the twins avoid Ziggy, but Celeste believes this might be an overreaction and tells him he's being ridiculous. Perry responds by violently grabbing her arm – something he has clearly done before.

Each woman reflects on the day's events: Renata looks out across her backyard; Celeste lies awake in bed; Jane unlocks a drawer and stares inside; and Madeline locks eyes with herself in the bedroom mirror.[3]




Also Starring

Guest Starring


Cast Notes





Cold Little Heart

Michael Kiwanuka | Spotify Apple Music
Opening credits; theme song.

The Wind

PJ Harvey | Spotify Apple Music
Madeline lets Chloe choose the song to listen to in the car on her way to her first day at school; plays again over closing credits.

Super Rich Kids

Frank Ocean | Spotify Apple Music
Madeline walks up to the car in front of her to chastise the student behind the wheel about texting and driving; Madeline's daughter is in the back seat of the student's car.

Victim of Love

Charles Bradley | Spotify Apple Music
Celeste's kids playing with Nerf guns.

Call On Me

Big Brother & The Holding Company | Spotify Apple Music
Ed and Madeline hugging after talking about her daughters and ex husband.

Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole

Martha Wainwright | Spotify Apple Music
Jane jogs on the beach, comes home and rests on her porch.

King Kong

Babe Ruth | Spotify Apple Music
Chloe playing music as family dinner is served.

You Don't Love Me (No, No, No)

Dawn Penn | Spotify Apple Music
Bonnie and Nathan talking at the yoga studio.

September Song

Agnes Obel | Spotify Apple Music
Montage before closing credits.


Episode Guide

Big Little Lies Episodes
Season 1 "Somebody's Dead" · "Serious Mothering" · "Living the Dream" · "Push Comes to Shove"
"Once Bitten" · "Burning Love" · "You Get What You Need"
Season 2 "What Have They Done?" · "Tell-Tale Hearts" · "The End of the World"
"She Knows" · "Kill Me" · "The Bad Mother" · "I Want to Know"


  1. S1 Ep 1: Somebody's Dead | HBO
  2. Search Results | HBO
  3. Somebody's Dead | HBO
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