Within the first five minutes of Secrets and Lies‘ March 1 premiere, we were made aware of Tom Murphy’s tragic death.
In the nine weeks since then, the ABC drama has thrown so many plot twists at its central murder mystery, you might as well have believed that Detective Cornell herself was responsible for the child’s death.
So, if you’re reading this recap, you want to know who the culprit was — and I’m happy to get that part out of the way.
The person who killed Tom, it was revealed in Sunday’s finale, was… Abby. (Were you shocked? Did you see it coming? Was your first reaction, “Who?” Hit the comments!)
Here are the highlights: In a legitimately surprising turn of events, Ben was pronounced a free man (finally!) by Detective Cornell. After Ben was hit with yet another accusation — this time from Jess, claiming he raped her after the fireworks ceremony — Ben was brought to the police station, only to have Cornell tell him that she knows he’s innocent. Even though Ben once found Tom’s blue jacket in the woods, Cornell ultimately discovered the item in Jess’ laundry sink.
That said, Jess isn’t guilty of Tom’s murder, either. She may be a little crazy — or a lot crazy, judging by the pair of scissors she flung at Ben’s noggin last week — but that blue jacket in her home is evidence that someone’s trying to frame her.
While Cornell tries to get to the bottom of all this, Ben and his family (even Christy, whose divorce papers he signed with little fanfare) sit down for dinner… but not before Ben heads outside to drop off his painting supplies at the guest house. There, in a ventilation unit, he uncovers a pair of bloody sneakers — Abby’s. (If you called Abby as the killer, congrats on winning your office pool, but I’m a little concerned about your overall mental state.)
When Ben returns to the house, panicked, Abby insists that she didn’t want to get in a trouble, because hurting Tom was an accident. She and Tom were planning to run away from home that night — the only way to end their respective parents’ fighting, they believed — but when Tom got cold feet, Abby chased him down and whacked him with Ben’s flashlight, which she’d stolen from his truck earlier that night.
Upon hearing Abby’s story, Ben does what any dad might do: turns himself in. Once Christy and Abby have safely driven away (with Natalie agreeing to stay with Michael), Ben returns to the police station and insists his innocence was all a lie. Ben did know Tom was his son, he asserts to Cornell, and knew it was only a matter of time before he lost his family over the ordeal. “Tom would follow me anywhere,” Ben lies. “I took him into the woods and I killed him.”
Cornell, on the other hand, isn’t buying Ben’s confession. She’s convinced it was Abby — “I’m going to put Abby Crawford away,” she says, extinguishing our hopes that we might hear her say something nice — but Ben tells her where to find the murder weapon and is taken into custody in shackles. As for Abby? As she drives away with her mom, she admits, “None of this would have happened if I’d gotten Tom to the river.”
(In short: The Crawfords have a lot of problems. Don’t run away from home, kids! And don’t run with
scissors flashlights, either.)
UPDATE: But wait! There’s more! In an extra scene posted on ABC’s website — titled “14 Months Later” — Cornell tracks down Natalie and Dave, still hell-bent on getting Abby behind bars. Natalie will have to testify against her sister (which she agrees to do) in order to overturn Ben’s conviction, but there’s something more important at play in the scene: Is Ben — gulp — dead? The way everyone is talking — wistfully, and in the past tense — sure makes it seem that way.
With that, I turn it over to you. Were you satisfied with Secrets and Lies‘ finale? In the event it’s renewed, would you watch Season 2? Grade the finale in our poll below, then hit the comments with your thoughts.