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'Secrets and Lies' recap: 'The Father'

The secrets and lies are starting to pile up as Ben’s big secret is revealed and a new suspect emerges.

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Fred Norris/ABC

Secrets and Lies

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Ryan Phillippe, Juliette Lewis

With Detective Cornell gleefully discovering Ben’s juicy secret at the end of episode 1 (at least I’m assuming she was gleeful; the look of disgust that is permanently frozen on her face makes it a tough call), things quickly turn more complicated for our friend Ben in this second episode of the premiere.

Armed with the newfound knowledge that he’s Tom’s father, Ben visits his son’s memorial in the woods, where Jess—who also just discovered Tom’s true paternity—tells Ben she suspects her estranged husband, Scott (Benjamin Ciaramello) of the murder. It seems that Scott has been exhibiting violence toward her since returning from his last tour and she’s recently gotten a restraining order against him. Jess believes killing Tom was Scott’s way of getting back at her. Harsh.

Tom’s official cause of death is discovered to be blunt force trauma by flashlight—a flashlight just like the one that is missing from Ben’s truck (like we didn’t see that one coming). Ben is insistent he’s innocent and wants to take a lie-detector test, which his [divorce] lawyer discourages. (Quick refresher of what you already know from watching Law & Order, but that I will tell you again anyway: Lie detector tests are not always accurate and are not admissible in a court of law, so taking one can only hurt you, no matter how much you want to prove you’re not lying.) But Ben doesn’t listen to me—or his lawyer—and gets strapped up to the machine, where the administrator proceeds to pelt him with questions that trap him. “Have you lied to Detective Cornell?” he asks. Uh-oh. Ben answers “no” because really, that smallish lie of how he got home from the bar that night totally shouldn’t count as a lie… but totally does, and the machine goes crazy. The results of the test are inconclusive, but there’s one thing that is conclusive; Ben needs to lawyer up with a criminal attorney and ditch the divorce dude.

The criminal lawyer, Elliot Weston (fine, it’s not Elliot, but I will always, always see Elliot Weston when I see Timothy Busfield, who is playing the criminal attorney), doesn’t take his case (yet), but leaves Ben with this nugget of encouragement: “If they find the murder weapon and it’s yours? You’re screwed.” Yeah, I was kidding about the encouragement part. Looks like Ben is screwed.

Back at home, Ben overhears daughter Natalie on a call, mentioning Tom’s funeral and making secretive, hasty plans to meet someone at the mall later that day. When she leaves the room he hits redial on her phone: Because he’s a murder suspect and frantically trying to figure out who the real killer is? No, because he’s a dad. Okay, fine, and probably the other things, too. When a man answers, Ben is understandably suspicious, as am I. Did Natalie have something to do with Tom’s murder? She’s certainly been acting aloof and has been distancing herself since Tom was found. Things are getting so secretive!

Following Natalie to the mall later, Ben spies her meeting a man who is driving the same motorcycle he’d seen at Jess’ house in episode 1. It’s Jess’ violent, estranged husband Scott, and when he takes Natalie’s hand, Ben goes berserk and runs across the street to protect his daughter. Scott zooms off and Natalie goes berserk on her dad for spying on her.

NEXT: Who’s Your Daddy?