Pieces of Her is the latest Netflix thriller released today on the streaming service. Starring Toni Collette and Bella Heathcote, Pieces of Her is based on the book of the same name by Karin Slaughter. The story begins with a terrible act of violence committed in the small town of Belle Isle, Georgia.
This violent act sets an entire chain of events into motion, as Andrea “Andy” Oliver (Heathcote) realizes that her mother, Laura (Collette), has been keeping dark secrets for more than 30 years. Andy must embark on a chase across multiple states to find all the answers.
Pieces of Her season 1 episode guide: Complete recaps for episodes 1-8
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The following article contains heavy SPOILERS, so keep that in mind while you’re looking through it! We’re breaking down each episode of the show’s first season, so if you have questions or want to learn more about the show, start reading!
Andy Oliver is a 30-year-old 911 operative living with her mother, Laura, a recovering breast cancer survivor. When Pieces of Her begins, it’s Andy’s birthday and she and her mom plan to go into town to have lunch. Notably, Andy goes after a work shift and opts not to change out of her uniform (which will become important in a minute). It’s at the restaurant that things take a decidedly dark turn as a random act of violence sets our story into motion.
An angry gunman opens fire in the restaurant, taking aim specifically at his ex-girlfriend but also killing several others who try calling for help. Seeing Andy’s police uniform, he assumes she is a cop and will shoot him to death (he planned to commit suicide by cop). But unbeknownst to him, Andy isn’t carrying a weapon since she’s not a “real” police officer, just a phone operative, severely messing up his plans.
Sensing her daughter is in trouble, Laura throws herself between Andy and the gunman. He whips out a knife and stabs Laura straight through the palm when he runs out of bullets. Shaken, Laura flips her hand and slices the man’s neck with the blade.
Someone happens to record the entire incident, and within a few hours, Andy and Laura have gone viral. The news hails Laura as a hero for stopping the gunman and saving countless lives. Laura warns Andy not to talk to the cops while she gets her hand fixed at the hospital.
In the interim, we meet Andy’s stepfather and Laura’s ex-husband, Gordon Oliver (Omari Hardwick), who arrives to take care of Andy and check on Laura.
As soon as Laura leaves the hospital, she starts talking about how Andy needs to move out immediately. She tells Andy to pack her things and stay with Gordon for the night because she wants her to start her life. There is more to it than that. Laura appears distracted and unnerved by her face being all over the news.
It turns out she has a good reason to worry since that night, a man breaks into the house and tries to kill Laura, tying her to a chair and suffocating her with a plastic bag. Andy sneaks in to save her mother and overhears the man, and Laura refers to a woman named “Paula Kunde” and an unnamed man who “doesn’t want [Laura’s] money.” Andy fires off a quick text to the cops and then manages to get the jump on the assailant and disarm him, shoving him into a wall and knocking him unconscious.
Surprisingly, Laura isn’t thrilled that Andy contacted the police, forcing her to clean up the mess quickly. Laura instructs Andy to find the man’s car and drive to Carrolltown, where she keeps a secret storage facility with a getaway car. Laura tells Andy to take the car and go to Maine, find a motel and stay there until Laura calls her on a burner phone and lets her know it’s safe.