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Secrets and Lies - S1E9 - The Mother

Previously on Secrets and Lies, ‘The Son’

In this week’s episode of Secrets and Lies, Detective Cornell finally decides to analyze the evidence to determine a suspect, rather than trying to make the evidence fit her suspect.


The intensity that Cornell has displayed toward Ben suddenly takes a turn, and is instead focused on the evidence examiners. At the police station, she declares, “I don’t think Crawford killed anyone.” She pesters the blood spatter analyst, who wants it to be known that he’s not at all intimidated by her.

She revisits the crime scene with an evidence processor, who also wants her to know that he’s too busy for this good detective work. They find a toy near the river, and realize that the crime scene is not where the body was found. Blood spatter is all over the trees near the toy. Cornell deduces that Tom’s killer wanted to take him to the river so he’d drown; he was only beaten with the flashlight when he tried to run away. Her new theory is that Tom’s killer is female, because water crimes are a girl’s thing.


The first mother to fall under suspicion is Ben’s wife, Christie. Best Friend of the Year Dave tries to resist getting into Ben’s relationship drama. He knows that when people get back together, they suddenly get salty that you commiserated with them about all their partner’s faults.

Reluctantly, Dave admits that he has suspicions about Christie. He points out that Christie tipped the cops off about the flashlight via her brother Michael. She’s been hiding large sums of cash in the house. Tom was killed on the same night she found out about the Jess affair. She’s been “doing the hokey pokey” with her client, Sam. Dave thinks Christie is paying Ben’s attorney in order to look like a devoted martyr, while hiding the fact that she had both the motive and the opportunity to kill Tom. Ben is like, “Cool story, bro,” as he totally ignores what Dave said for the rest of the episode.


When Uncle Shade brings the girls by to pick up some clothes, Abby (“Monkey”) tells her dad that mom has a boyfriend named Sam. She is not worried about clothes; she wants to know if dad is in love with Jess. Abby refuses to go back to Uncle Michael’s house. He’s boring, and he’s forcing her to learn to play chess. Michael gives in, so Monkey and Ben decide to go to a fireworks display at the local fair.

Just as they’re leaving, Jess comes outside and her car won’t start. Allegedly. She basically invites herself to Ben and Monkey’s father-daughter day. Monkey had opened the door to the front seat, but Jess just slid herself on in there. Monkey had to sit in the back. Where’s a heavy duty flashlight when you need one?

Jess lurks over every parental bonding moment of the night, looking longingly at Ben. Monkey gets very upset when a lady thinks Jess is a member of the family.

Cornell is at the fair, watching them from a distance. When Abby breaks her new phone – the one she didn’t want used to take a picture of Jess - Cornell looks on with her arms crossed. Jess interrupts the moment again with some kettle corn. Monkey storms off.


After leaving the fair, Cornell crashes Christie’s date with Sam, who’s complaining about being roped into a bachelor auction. Cornell is like, “You’ve got a lot of money and that’s a pricey Bordeaux. Where’s my glass?”

She tells the lovebirds and the audience that after Christie and Ben’s fight over Jess, Christie went to the quickie mart and then to Sam’s house for some “comfort.” Cornell asks Sam what time Christie left his house. Christie says 1:00 am, while Sam simultaneously says it was 12:30. He’s adamant that it was 12:30. Sam leaves the date, saying, “I’m not doing this.”

Cornell asks, “What time did you come home the night Tom was killed?” and Christie looks away into the distance.

Monkey comes home from the fair while Cornell is still at the house. We learn that on the night of the murder, both girls overheard the argument about Jess. Monkey remembers it so well that she can quote lines from the argument. Both daughters are very upset, and Cornell walks away looking upset herself.


Ben is still jogging down that same path in the woods. He doesn’t want his attorney, Garner, to float Christie as an alternate suspect. He feels sorry for Jess, so he sleeps with her to the soundtrack of Wyclef Jean’s song “911.” In the morning, Jess lets slip that she wants them to make another baby! Listen to Wyclef, Ben. This is indeed the kind of love that your mom used to warn you about. You’re in real big trouble.

Ben sees a picture of Jess in the blue jacket, so he snoops around the bedroom while she’s in the shower. He finds medications that he later looks up on Google. Google says that Jess is bipolar, which of course says to Ben that she’s also a murderer.

Later that day, Ben watches out the window for Jess to leave home. Then he goes over to snoop again. He finds an urn containing the cremains of Jess’s daughter who died as infant. Jess returns home immediately for some reason, walking through the house so quietly that she catches Ben red-handed. He accuses her of killing both the daughter and Tom. She starts acting like a crazy woman with a really deep voice. She throws a pair of scissors at him and they land in the door frame like a ninja star.


Jess’s sister tells Ben that the little girl died of SIDS. She also claims that bipolar disorder is what led Jess’s long-suffering husband into the arms of his sister-in-law. She says that when Jess gets angry, she hurts things, not people. Like all the other bipolar people on television, Jess doesn’t like taking her medication consistently. The only reason one finds out that a character is bipolar is so you can then find out that they don’t take their medication. The sister hasn’t told Cornell about Jess’ violent fits because “she’s my sister.” You can sleep with your sister’s husband, but cooperating in your nephew’s murder investigation is just beyond the pale.


Monkey goes missing from Uncle Shade’s house after her mom refuses to let her move back home. Ben walks down his street, screaming her name loud enough to disturb all the neighbors. Jess is standing by her front steps smirking like a cartoon villain. She’s happy that Ben is missing his child just like she’s missing hers. If Monkey had accepted that kettle corn, there might have been some sympathy on Jess’ part.

Cornell gets some results from the blood spatter analyst who has the bad attitude. She says, “I was right. She killed Tom Murphy.” Doesn’t she mean, “I was right this episode, after eight episodes of being totally wrong”? How soon we forget.

About Nikki P (18 Articles)
Nikki is a fan of children’s books, graphic novels, British police procedurals, French cinema, and TV marathons.

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