Secrets and Lies Recap: Doctor Whodunit

Secrets & Lies Episode 4

Instead of offering up yet another hour of How Many Ways Can Ben Crawford Look Guilty?, Sunday’s episode of Secrets and Lies did the unthinkable: It introduced not one, not two, but three characters who may have been involved in Tom’s death.

Of course, that doesn’t mean the heat was taken off Ben at all. The throng of reporters was still outside his home, albeit in a smaller group, and Detective Cornell’s attitude toward him was icy enough to make Frozen‘s Arendelle look positively sweltering. And to top it off, Ben’s initial suspicions about neighbors Joe and Vanessa led to nothing but an awkward dinner party, a tragic story of child abuse and a really unsettling incest subplot.

Before you give me your thoughts on this week’s episode, let’s break down each of the hour’s shady characters:

NATALIE | For the first time since this whole mess began, Detective Cornell arrives at the Crawford home looking not for Ben, but for his daughter. As it turns out, Natalie was not babysitting Tom two nights before he was murdered, as she’d initially stated. Instead, she got Vanessa to play nanny for her while she snuck out to a concert with Cooper. Strangely enough, Cornell doesn’t pursue Natalie as a suspect beyond that for the rest of the hour, but it’s enough to put doubt in our minds about Ben’s eldest daughter.

Oh, and by the way, it turns out Natalie isn’t pregnant after all. As her sister Abby so bluntly puts the results of the pregnancy test: “It says minus. That’s good, right?” (I have a feeling that Ben and Christy are just going to skip that whole “birds and bees” thing with their youngest girl. She already knows enough.) And despite the stress of their daughter possibly getting pregnant at 17, Ben and Christy are somehow drawn closer by the whole ordeal, at least enough to make you forget that Ben’s been sleeping on the couch for the last few weeks.

DAVE | Ben’s ex-BFF has gone back to living with his mom, but he still manages to get caught up in the mystery of Tom’s death. Case in point: That concert Natalie bailed on babysitting to attend? She didn’t go with Cooper, but with Dave, which makes me feel nine kinds of uncomfortable.

Still, Dave doesn’t remain a suspect for long this week: Natalie assures Ben that Dave has never laid a hand on her (including the night when her body glitter got all over him, the result of a comforting hug he gave her in the wake of Ben, y’know, crashing a high school party and threatening to murder a teenager). For now, at least, Dave’s is a name we can cross off the suspect list.

JOE & VANESSA | The real suspects of the hour, though, are Ben’s doctor neighbor and his wife. Vanessa informs Ben that she, too, had a young boy, named Malcolm — but he was “taken from her” a long time ago. While Vanessa’s pouring drinks in the kitchen, Ben uncovers disturbing photographs of Malcolm, who is covered in bruises. From there, Ben does a little digging — using a seriously archaic Internet browser, might I add — and learns that Joe was once a doctor in England, before getting fired for sexual misconduct, changing his name and moving to the States.

Ben’s mounting suspicions come to a head during a dinner party hosted by Joe and Vanessa. Joe finds Ben rifling through the files in his office, forcing Ben to do the sensible thing and scream, “You murdered my son, and you used my flashlight to do it!” in front of a group of strangers.

Later, after Ben and Christy return home (and we’re treated to a long scene of Ryan Phillippe running in the rain with a white T-shirt on), Vanessa follows them and explains the truth: Malcolm suffered from hemophilia, causing him to bleed internally for months without his parents knowing. When they sent Malcolm to a group home for proper care, the home’s manager beat Malcolm — so brutally, in fact, that Malcolm died before his abuser could be punished in court.

But wait! There’s more! Although Vanessa and Joe seem to have cleared their own names, Jim Fenton — Ben’s current (and only?) paint client — reveals that he’s a reporter, and he’s uncovered a massive scoop about Ben’s neighbors: They’re related. Indeed, Joe and Vanessa are half-siblings, and Malcolm’s hemophilia was a result of their incest. Uh, okay.

Still, no matter how many heebie-jeebies you get from Joe and Vanessa’s backstory, they’re still unable to surpass Ben on Cornell’s list of suspects. At the end of the hour, the detective presents Ben with a voicemail he intended to leave on Jess Murphy’s phone the night that Tom was killed, but mistakenly left for another woman with a similar phone number: “I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow,” Ben slurs on the recording, “but I just wanted to say I’m sorry.”

Ah, and just when he was beginning to look innocent…ish.

OK, your turn. What did you think of Secrets & Lies‘ latest episode? Hit the comments with your thoughts and theories!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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30 Comments
  1. Hillchics says:

    Ben and Christy were awfully calm considering their teenage daughter was possibly pregnant, no?

  2. Natalie says:

    Couldn’t he just be referring to the fact that he told his wife Chrissy about the affair before he went out to the bar?

  3. Fred says:

    This show keeps me at the edge of my seat for the whole hour. Kudos to the writers for the twists and turns. All look so guilty.

  4. whoanelly says:

    Did anybody catch what sounded to be an F-bomb when Dave was outside of the guest house talking to Ben? I just had it on waiting for Revenge to come on and I had to rewind it like 3 times. Sounded like he said “It’s just a f-ing hatchet”

  5. N says:

    This show is very tricky! I keep thinking everyone is guilty,,,, even Abby!

  6. Brianna says:

    Hemophilia is not a result of incest and to know this site along with others is continue to spread this statement is completely hurtful and offensive!!! I am a mother of a son who has Severe Hemophilia Factor 9 and when I saw the comment that was made on the show last night I was completely disgusted. Hemophilia is a rare bleeding disorder where the blood does not clot the way it is suppose to. It is a genetic disorder passed from mother to son. In some cases, like my son’s, it is a mutated gene in the DNA. This has not only upset me and my family but has upset A LOT of families who deal with hemophilia every day. HEMOPHILIA IS NOT FROM INCEST!!!! AND THE FACT THAT ABC HAD THE NERVE TO SAY SUCH A THING WITHOUT KNOWING THE FACTS IS DISGUSTING!!!!

    • Kevin says:

      You should probably do some research before you go getting all self righteous. Children of incest most definitely do tend to have afflictions such as hemophilia more often than not. No one on the show said the only way you get hemophilia is to be inbred, but for them to have a storyline about a child of incest having it is factually accurate.

      • Carrie says:

        Hemophilia is a genetic trait. If a child of incest has hemophilia, it is because the mother was a carrier, etc. Incest itself does NOT produce hemophilia.

      • Gloria Rangel says:

        When your life has been affected the way our Hemophilia families have then we can talk about it. This is a hurtful statement made by ABC’s producers/writers etc…We in the hemophilia community have come so far as to not link our disorder with negativity and to be knocked back down in a negative way pushes us back. This does affect our community. To say that Hemophilia is a nasty by product of incest is a negative comment towards Hemophilia and everyone affected by it.

      • Cheryl says:

        As a hemophilia mom, I certainly have done my research. Ad nauseam. From the moment I became pregnant because I am a carrier. No, there was no incest in my family. Incest may cause afflictions – hemophilia is not one of them. Hemophilia is caused by a mutated X gene carried by the mother…if a child is born with hemophilia, it doesn’t matter WHO the father is, since it is genetically passed. Kevin, I am heartbroken that you perpetuate this myth. My 12 year old son advocates for and educates people people about hemophilia on an every day basis. The last thing he needs is to have ABC negate his advocacy of truth to 7 million people in less than 5 seconds – and in addition, attach a stigma to a disorder he had no control over inheriting. This puts a target on the back of every person that has hemophilia. Congratulations, ABC, for throwing 20,000 of us under the bus to improve your ratings.

      • Marie says:

        Hemophilia is passed down from the mother. It’s carried on the X chromosome. Them being brother and sister has nothing to do with the child having hemophilia.

      • you should do some research kevin.

      • mrsmesh says:

        Kevin, the ONLY way a child will have hemophilia is if the mother is a carrier of hemophilia. (X-linked recessive) It has nothing to do with the father of the child. Since the child was diagnosed in the show, the mother would know that she is a carrier because that has been the protocol for the past thirty years. Any competent physician would know this. Of course, there are bleeding disorders that affect girls but they all come from the mom.

        Anyway, incest produces autosomal recessive gene disorder, of which hemophilia is not one. Both parents pass on defective genes, which makes the child – girl or boy – severely defective and die early in life.

      • Kevin,
        This deficiency has debilitating & it can cause many afflictions that are devastating. I do not know Brianna full story, but I think she like most were upset that the episode was insulting because it put it in viewers heads that myself and our children are a by product of incest which made it seem like in today’s generation we are sleeping with our cousins/family members with similar DNA…therefore making people think that now we have to let people know our children are not a Hemophiliacs in 2015 due to invest.
        So I think calling someone who is expressing her feelings and HER knowledge of Hemophilia is her personal expression on the matter so calling her “self-righteous” is just not necessary while expressing your opinion. Try to be a little more empathetic and THANK GOD (OR whoever, whatever, wherever or however you believe your child was created (other than sperm and an ovary) you do not have this hereditary disorder in your family so just be THANKFUL. I’m not trying to upset you I think we can debate/get our point across without saying things like that about someone you do not know sweetie. :) Have a good day.

  7. darrell says:

    Im thinking it was the brother of the kid with mental illness cuz he suppose to not be there yet

  8. raymond garcia says:

    What was said about hemophilia on this show is an untrue statement. Abc and and the writers should b ashamed of themselves for lying and creating such a nasty rumor about hemophilia. Hemophilia is in no way associated with incest. The writers of this show are a disgrace.

  9. Katie says:

    I’m a mother of a 9 year old with hemophilia and loved this show until last night, I couldn’t sleep got on the internet, everything. I’ve was w genetic counselors while u was pregnAnt and have been to numerous clinics at Cincinnati children’s hospital, I have NeVER heard this incest crap!!! I want an answer from ABC and will go forward, please go with me!!

  10. Jennifer Ancky says:

    Shame Juliette Lewis real life boyfriend James Wesley Samb of Janesville WI & Rock band CORE® who has been working with producer Sean Beavan since 2008 is Guilty of Human Trafficking. Support this show & you are supporting those who prey on women. This has been officially filed with the Polaris Project FBI & Homeland Security with Evidence submitted

  11. Callie says:

    As said in many other comments, hemophilia is not caused by incest! It is carried on the mothers’ X chromosome and shared regardless of who is the father. I have a child with hemophilia, my father has hemophilia and I and my grandmother are carriers. I, along with the hemophilia community across the world, are disgusted and offended that the writers of the show would place this stigma on this disorder that has been struggling for so long!

  12. Hemophilia is not a result of “incest”. To say so is very disrespectful to those that are living with Hemophilia. It’s a hereditary blood disorder. Glad I don’t watch this show! I hope people are smart enough or to do the research about Hemophilia.

  13. mrsmesh says:

    the only way for any child to get hemophilia is the mother knowing she carries the defective X chromosome because her father is a hemohiliac or the child spontaneously mutates, which happens in about a third of new hemophiliacs. It is diagnosed by blood tests because the bruising/uncontrollabe bleeding could also be leukemia. Incest results in very different genetic diseases that have nothing to do with bleeding – mostly development. I really wish anyone would have taken the time to research facts and not presented a fallacy. Queen Victoria could have married any other royal and still birth hemophiliacs, as could the Romanov’s matriach. Anyone who has the defective X chromosome has a bleeding disorder.

  14. Janet says:

    Hemophilia…the info could have come from the fact that Queen Victoria married her cousin. Okay, but she carried the gene in one of her X chromosomes and with a 50/50 chance of passing either chromosome she passed the affected gene to 2 of her daughters and one son, Prince Leopold. This means her cousin marriage had absolutely nothing to do with the hemophilia gene that she carried and passed on. This is not a disorder of incest. It is absolutely offensive to all of the 20,000 affected in the US, their families, the carriers of it and more. ABC needs to make this right for our community. This stigma has devastated us.

  15. Please let me know when you will be airing the Hemophilia episode with the name “Nasty by product of incest” again if you will be re-airing it. The episode name is very demoralising that should definitely be changed (especially the word Nasty). 😯
    There are and continue to be quite a few Hemophilia A Factor VIII difficiencies diagnosed in my family; including myself, that have Hemophilia A: Factor VIII Deficiency. And we knew about the “incest” history which was to try to keep the $ within the family. “Greed”
    The story should have Made it Very CLEAR THAT THERE IS NO DEFINITIVE PROOF THAT THIS DISORDER IS A RESULT OF HER MARRYING HER SECOND COUSIN THEREFORE CHANGING THE X CHROMOSOME WHICH IS HOW HEMOPHILIA IS PASSED ON TO NEW GENERATIONS. IT MIGHT HAVE (MIGHT HAVE) RESULTED FROM THE X CHROMOSOME MUTATING/CHANGING DUE TO INCEST, BUT THAT HAS NOT BEEN PROVEN. THE X CHROMOSOME THAT IS IN FACT WHERE THE DEFICIENCY IS AND HOW IT IS PASSED ON SO IS IT A FACT THAT INCEST IS THE CAUSE OF THE X CHROMOSOME MUTATING CAUSING HEMOPHILIA?
    FROM WHAT I KNOW FROM EXPERIENCE NO ONE IS 100% CERTAIN OF HOW THE X CHROMOSOME MUTATED. IT CAN BE TRACED BACK TO QUEEN VICTORIA…AND YES PEOPLE IT COULD HAVE BEEN FURTHER BACK TO PRIOR GENERATIONS. LIKE HIV/AIDS THEY KEEP CHANGING EXACTLY WHEN IT STARTED BEING TRANSMITTING AND CAUSUNG DEATHS. LATEST I’VE READ NOW IS IN THE 60’s. SO IT DID NOT IRIGINATE IN THE LATE 70’s to MID 80’s.

    NOTHING IS WITH 100% CERTAINTY, BUT THEN AGAIN NOT TOO MANY DISORDERS, DISEAESES, CANCERS…(too many to list here) ARE DEFINITIVE AS TO HOW, WHY AND WHEN IT STARTED AND WHAT CAUSED IT (JUST AN EXAMPLE)
    BOTTOM LINE: INCEST FROM THE ROYAL GREED CAN NOT BE BE PROVEN WITHOUT A DOUBT THAT IT IS THE CAUSE OF THIS DEFICIENCY!

    THIS DID NOT UPSET ME AS I KNOW WHAT WE ALL KNOW…(AT LEAST SHOULD KNOW UNLESS YOU ARE CLOSED MINDED AND DONT CSRE TO DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH AND NOT ONLY ACCEPT WHAT A TV SHOW STATES THAT WANT’S RATINGS AND VIEWERS)… HOWEVER, THE WORD “NASTY” (?) VERY POOR CHOICE OF WORDS FOR CONVEYING THIS DEFICIENCY TO THE PUBLIC WHO MOST ARE CLOSED MINDED IF YOU THINK THAT IN TODAYS GENERATIONS WE ARE MARRYING/HAVING BABIES WITH OUT FAMILY MEMBERS KNOWING THAT IT’S MORALLY WRONG AND IT IS A FACT THAT INBREEDING CSUSING DOINAL ISSUES, ARTHRITIS….

    “MY EXPERIENCES IS MY EDUCATION”

    My apologies for Grammar issues. Typing fast and wanted to give my 2 cents and MOVE FORWARD!
    Hopefully ABC apologizes for their very poor choice of words regarding this debilitating affliction.

    HAVE A GREAT DAY!

    AND NO I AM NOT NOR IS MY SON A PRODUCT OF INCEST. IHEMOPHILIA A CAN BE TRACED BACK TO QUEEN VICTORIA AND BECAUSE OF THAT IT IS A THEORY OF HOW IT STARTED…(HENCE THE EXPRESSION: THE ROYAL BLOOD DISEASE)…HOWEVER…RIDDLE ME THIS… WHY ARE THERE SO MANY DIFFERENT TYPES OF HEMOPHILIA IF IT’S FROM OUR ANCESTORS IGNORANCE?

  16. Shane brousseau says:

    I belive what abc was meaning as far as imbreeding creates offspring with hemophilia, is that both parents would be a carrier of the gene which would make it more likely for the offspring to have hemophilia rather than just one parent be a carrier of the gene. I don’t believe they ment to throw anybody under the bus or upset people in any way.

  17. Mo says:

    Couldn’t the distracted hemophilia crowd move over to a medical blog instead? I’m trying to figure out this pretend world and your real world is getting too much air time for crying out loud.

  18. Rob says:

    It’s the mom for sure