Forget the official title, this episode of Secrets and Lies should’ve been called “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Being a Murder Suspect.” In fact, let’s just run with that, shall we?
Chapter One: Trying to frame a cop
One word: don’t.
After Fenton convinces Ben that Detective Cornell is abusing her badge by creating vendettas against her suspects (one of about five vendettas being created by various characters at this point), Ben takes a trip to the local prison to try to get some damaging information from the latest person whom she sent there. Surprised to discover she’s a teenager, but even more surprised to discover she’s CORNELL’S DAUGHTER, the two of them commiserate for a bit on the unjustness of Cornell’s wrath.
Jennifer tells Ben that her mother threw her in jail for 18 months for doing drugs (taking “scared straight” to a whole new level, am I right?) and Ben discloses that Cornell has accused him of killing a child. Jennifer thinks that sounds familiar and mentions the case of Seth Goring, a man who was accused of strangling a little girl three years prior, but was never convicted. She says her mother is still obsessed with him. “That’s harassment!” Ben says. “Once you’re on the wrong side of Detective Cornell, that’s where you’ll stay,” she points out.
Leaving the jail, Ben runs into Cornell (because she is everywhere), who is all kinds of pissed that he’s been messing with her daughter. Uh-oh. If Ben was already on her wrong side, which he was, what side is left? He’s about to find out.
Calling him down to the station, Cornell meets with Ben in a room filled with evidence from Tom’s murder: photos of Tom (dead and alive), photos of neighbors, a flashlight, bags of clothi—scrreeeech. Hold on. What was that? A flashlight? We all know it isn’t the flashlight. You know, the bloody one that’s wrapped up in Christmas paper under Ben’s tree. So what’s with this flashlight? Does she think it’s the flashlight? Or is she just messing with Ben’s head?
For the answer to that question, let’s move on to Chapter Two.
Chapter Two: Getting rid of evidence
After seeing the flashlight that wasn’t his amongst the other pieces of evidence, Ben runs home and confides in his trusty companion, Dave. Telling him that Cornell has another flashlight, he ponders the details of how he’ll get rid of his. Out loud. IN HIS HOME THAT WAS RECENTLY BUGGED. (Sure, it’s probably not anymore, but how can he be sure?)
Taking the wrapped flashlight to brother-in-law Michael’s Christmas party with a stack of other gifts, Ben decides to get rid of it when he drops the family off at the mall for a quick gift on the way. Leaving his car in the well-lit parking lot, he runs about 50 yards into the woods and buries it under about two inches of loose pine needles.
- Well-lit mall parking lot (most likely with surveillance cameras, it being a mall and all)
- Woods that are near a very public and populated place (a freaking mall parking lot)
- 50 yards (at best)
- Two inches of loose pine needles
- Me (and everyone else watching) shaking their heads
Coming out of the woods with the empty backpack (which still contains the sweatshirt the bloody flashlight was wrapped in; i.e., a sweatshirt that would be just as damning of evidence as that flashlight) Ben is confronted by Christy, who wonders what he was doing in the woods. Totally fair question, BTW. “I had to take a leak,” he tells her. In the woods. By the mall parking lot. Do people do that? No really, I want to know.
Christy must agree with me, because she isn’t buying it, especially when they get to the party, and Monkey, who apparently suffers from a bit of OCD, notices that there’s one present missing. They fight (with snooty BIL Michael watching) and Christy tells Ben that unless he can tell her the truth about what was in the backpack she saw him carry out of the woods, he should leave. And in his least idiotic move of the night, he does.
On his way home, Ben is tailed by a cop and pulled over by another one. Panicking that they’ll find the backpack of DNA, Ben freezes. But they’re just warning him not to mess with another cop’s daughter (which confuses me because all he did was talk to her). Totally shaken, Ben gives them about a five second head start before going out and tossing the backpack over the bridge.
Once back home, Ben tells Dave everything, including the exact location of the buried flashlight. Sigh. You guys, I can’t even.
NEXT: The idiocy continues