“I am the eternal God Murder, she wrote” announces that private investigator Theodora Burch (Noma Dumezweni) will challenge New Jersey patriarch Dean Brannock (Bobby Cannavale) in Ryan Murphy. The guard. But in the Netflix mystery, with her voice to identify the criminal who threatens the owners of the new suburbs with threatening letters, the PI may refer to the mystery itself.
She’s kind of Agatha Christie. She doesn’t know who she is or where she came from. You really like her, and you believe she’s telling the truth. But is she? ” asked Lou Erich, Murphy’s longtime costume maestro and series producer.
In a dark dinner, Theodora made her debut in a 70s Lanvin black turtleneck and pants with a graphic print head wrap. “She’s covered, she’s hiding,” Eyrich said. Theodora shares her colorful origin story – or rather spins a yarn – of a jazz career, rehabilitation and an addiction to true-crime documentaries.
The stunning Sermoneta spoke emphatically as her orange gloves pointed to her story. Murphy’s instruction was that Theodora’s desire was to regularly cover her hands with exquisite leather gloves. “Because you never want to leave fingerprints,” explains Rudy Mance, who designed the show with Eric. (Katherine Crabtree co-produced episodes six and seven.)
Later, Theodora’s brown gloves, with stitched seams and white piping, point her finger (sorry) at Dean as a bystander, dramatically revealing handwriting analysis evidence to his suspicious wife, Nora (Naomi Watts). But refined accessories were more of a style choice than Easter eggs – or red herrings. “It just depends on the outfit, if it needs something a little different, unique, matching or more elegant,” says Eyrich, who encourages Dumezweni to “play around” and sometimes choose her own accessories.
Theodora’s trademark head wrap, also a Murphy command, enhances her timeless beauty that doesn’t conform to specific fashion trends or eras. “So that confuses you too,” says Eric. The team sourced luxe fabrics like black moiré from Mud Fabrics and brightly printed scarves from local shops in the East Village. Key hairstylist Tim Harvey created the sophisticated braids and flourishes, while Dumezweni tied her braids with braids.
“She’s a little dramatic and grand, but without being completely over the top,” Mancey says. He and Erich – christened “Lou-D” by his staff – balanced Theodora’s decorative tones and dynamic square and round graphics to counter the Brannock family’s “new preppy” palette of lush neutrals. “Until Dean trusts her, she can’t get rid of him,” Manse said.
Strategically dressing for the occasion, Theodora, in a white and black checked pantsuit on Another Tomorrow , ironically links her pantsuit to her first solo meeting with Nora, who always wears all ivory while drinking red wine. “They mirror each other,” Mance said.
To update Dean on the horrors of new family history, Theodora turned from her casual style to a tailored dove gray coat, peeking out at a pointed python print collar. The slow-building suspense of Theodora’s narrative, and the intense closeness to Dumezweni, prove the perfect moment to show Lu-D’s beloved early Halloween from the vintage rental house. But it also adds to the overall mystery.
“If she’s a little bolder there, maybe wearing head-to-toe black underneath it will distract her,” Mance said. “it is She The guard?”
This story first appeared exclusively in the November issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, subscribe.