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Betrayal: The Perfect Husband is a new ABC News documentary airing on Hulu which tells the story of Jenifer Faison and her husband Spence Herron and Herron’s secret double life. A great teacher and husband on the surface, Herron was a sex addict whose extramarital affairs and sex with students, were hidden for years until one of his students exposed him. Faison, a TV producer, tells her wild but true story of betrayal and trauma, getting access to many of the women Herron cheated with, and speaking to her ex who still doesn’t completely own up to his behavior, despite a prison sentence for sexual assault.

Opening Shot: A woman receives a phone from an inmate at the Cherokee County Jail in Georgia. The man on the other line is her husband. As they speak, footage from their wedding and photos of better days flash across the screen as she tells him, “Every single day of our marriage, you looked me in the eye and lied to me.”

The Gist: Jenifer Faison fell head over heels in love with Spence Herron immediately after meeting him during her junior year at their small Georgia college. Widely liked on campus, Herron charmed everyone he met, including Faison and her family, and he was so beloved that her family referred to him as “Saint Spence.” The couple broke up and Herron married, had kids, and got divorced, while Faison became a successful producer for shows like Judge Judy and Extreme Home Makeover, but 20 years after they first dated, they rekindled their romance and got married in 2012. By all accounts, they were genuinely in love and Herron appeared to be a good man. The pair often spent time apart, with Faison taking production jobs out of state sometimes, and Herron working as a teacher and also being deployed as a musician in a band for the Air National Guard on occasion.

The facade crumbled one day, after seven seemingly perfect years of marriage, when Herron was arrested for the sexual assault of a student. The man voted Teacher of the Year, a beloved pillar of his community, was taken away in handcuffs and no one was more surprised than his wife, whom he showered with love notes and adoration every day. While he was in jail, Faison took it upon herself to delete his social media accounts to protect him from a public flogging, and when she logged in to his social media and email accounts, that’s when she discovered he was truly living a double life, corresponding with more than 60 women, revealing a pattern of narcissism, sex addiction, and control. A pattern Faison never once suspected the entire time she was married.

What Shows With It Remind You Of? Though Spence Herron never killed anyone, the series matches up with another movie of a similar name: The Perfect Husband: The Laci Peterson Story which sets up a similar story: a fairy tale marriage between Scott and Laci Peterson, filled with lies and deception (and ending with the death of Laci).

Photo: Hulu

Our Take: The first episode of Betrayal sets up the “perfect” relationship between these former college sweethearts and spends much of its 45 minutes letting us know what a good person Spence was. There is no single person who has a bad thing to say about him: friends of his who knew him for decades could not recall an unsavory detail about this man’s life, which is what makes the following two episodes so shocking. Of course this is just smart and clever editing and production on the show’s account, but it also goes to show that maybe you really never can truly know a person. Faison makes herself the star of the first episode: she lived with this man for seven years and never suspected a single thing, and then, to find out the double life he hid from her, and the extent of his sexual addiction and narcissism is hard to believe.

This second episode of the series then features interviews with many of the women Herron cheated with, with trauma specialists, and many who know both Faison and Herron: it’s truly comprehensive, thanks to Faison’s investigative work which stemmed in large part from her frantic research after learning about his behavior. (The show is based on a podcast Faison and her partner Andres Gunning produced, and many of the interviews featured are just audio that was also used in the podcast.) The third and final episode then features interviews with the then-16-year-old student Herron slept with and manipulated, and whose allegations against him are what sent him to jail, but who was often accused of falsely accusing Herron of his crimes. The arc of the series is well thought out, and it paints a picture of a man so skilled at deception that even he thinks he’s not so bad.

Sex and Skin: There’s mention of sexual assault and sex with minors and students and transcriptions of graphic sexts, but no sex is depicted onscreen.

Parting Shot: As the first episode of the three-part series concludes, Faison asks, “Who was this predator I was married to? I never would have imagined the scope of what he had done.” In episodes 2 and 3, the scope of Spence’s crimes and indiscretions are revealed and yeah, it’s pretty wild to think that the world’s most perfect husband could be so duplicitous and chameleon-like that he fooled everyone he knew.

Sleeper Star: While what happened to Jennifer Faison is truly awful, thanks in part to her production experience and what I assume is years of experience crafting compelling stories for TV, she is the star of this show. That’s due also to her straightforward approach: enough time has passed that she can recall her time with Spence objectively for much of the series, though she does get emotional at certain points while looking back on a perfect life that was never actually perfect at all.

Most Pilot-y Line: “He was the perfect person. He was the kind of person you wanted your daughter to marry,” Jenifer’s mother Gail explains, describing the charming college co-ed her daughter brought home to meet the family when they first started dating. How wrong she was.

Our Call: STREAM IT! Like many other sensational news stories that exist in the “terrible husband” genre (Scott Peterson, Chris Watts, etc.) there’s a tabloid-y aspect to Jenifer Faison’s story, but that’s what draws us into it, the idea that this could never really happen… except that it did happen. The thing that sets this show apart is that so much of the story is told through real video and photos and it doesn’t need embellishment or Dateline-style narration, the facts of the case and Faison’s measured approach carry us through what could have otherwise been excessive or exploitative.

Liz Kocan is a pop culture writer living in Massachusetts. Her biggest claim to fame is the time she won on the game show Chain Reaction.

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