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American Gothic premiere recap: Arrangement in Grey and Black

Let’s get to know the Hawthornes

Posted on

Christos Kalohoridis/CBS

American Gothic

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:

If you were looking for a Boston-based murder mystery to add to your summer TV lineup, you can officially end your search. American Gothic, CBS’s new dark, family-drama/thriller, follows the well-to-do Hawthorne family as they discover evidence linking one of them to an infamous serial killer. Suspicions, paranoia, and general chaos ensue, threatening to tear them apart.

This is a rather large family to keep track of, so to help you follow along, EW has put together this handy Hawthorne Family Tree.


Here are some tidbits about our major players (so far):

  • Madeline Hawthorne: matriarch, lover of blues and neutrals, pretty scary.
  • Mitch Hawthorne: patriarch, entrepreneur.
  • Cam Hawthorne: cartoonist, former (maybe current) junkie, lacking 20-20 vision.
  • Garret Hawthorne: prodigal son, beard aficionado.
  • Alison Hawthorne-Price: type-A mayoral candidate, a politician to her core.
  • Tessa Ross (Hawthorne): public school teacher, the ultra kind sister who everyone likes.
  • Brady Ross: former cop, recently promoted to detective and looking to make his mark.

With that, let’s dive into the series’ first episode!

The family comes together to discuss crafting Alison’s campaign persona and take some press photos in the family home. By the looks of the Hawthorne abode we know that they 1) are loaded, and 2) definitely have something to hide. (Well, either they’re hiding something or they spent their fortune on ornate decor and not their energy bill, because damn is it dark and eerie.) The air is thick with mystery, from the living room to the kitchen to the unusually large shed in the backyard.

And it doesn’t help that Cam’s son, Jack, kicks off the get-together by informing everyone of his lifelong dream of becoming a medical examiner so that he can perform autopsies. Throughout the episode Jack shows off his drawings of dead bodies, and other strange things you can’t quite believe a child his age would comprehend, let alone illustrate. Definitely dark secrets in this family.

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The Hawthorne’s made their money by owning a concrete company, and Alison’s campaign manager, Naomi, concludes that despite their blue-collar beginnings, the home is too extravagant to use with the “working-class candidate” image they’re going for. Right about then, Alison receives a call informing her of the tunnel collapse we saw Tessa and Brady narrowly avoid (unbeknownst to them) in the cold open; she learns that her father’s company supplied the concrete and may be at fault. Dun-dun-dun.

NEXT: A family that kills together…