Agent Cornell is back on the case — and there are plenty more secrets and lies

By Danielle Jackson
September 25, 2016 at 11:34 PM EDT
ABC/Mitch Haddad
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The second season premiere of ABC’s murder mystery, Secrets and Lies, has no shortage of secrets. The jury is still out on the lies. The first thing to note about this season — aside from the fact that Ryan Phillippe has made his exit from the series and left us with Juliette Lewis and her character’s stark facial expressions — is that the plot of season 2 is less about “Did he or didn’t he?” and more about “If he didn’t do it, who did?”

The episode throws us straight into a frantic Eric Warner (Michael Ealy) racing through the stairwell of a building, only to get outside to discover the lifeless body of his wife, Kate (Jordana Brewster). Kate fell from the roof while she, Eric, and a group of their coworkers were at a party celebrating Eric’s dad, John (Terry O’Quinn), passing the torch and giving Eric the key to his private equity firm.

Rushing outside right behind Eric is his father, his sister Amanda (Mekia Cox), his brother Patrick (Charlie Barnett), and Patrick’s wife, Melanie (AnnaLynne McCord).

As Eric sits on the ground with his arms wrapped tightly around Kate’s body, our trust ol’ Detective Andrea Cornell arrives on the scene along with her pantsuit and her overly aggressive mean mug. The first words she utters are “Who let the grieving husband contaminate my crime scene?” Nice to see that some things don’t change.

Once she’s able to get over the inconvenience that a man is grieving over the loss of his wife, or rather “her victim,” Detective Cornell brings Eric and family back into the lobby of the building to ask them a few questions. In the beginning, she questions the possibility of Kate’s fall actually being a suicide, to which Eric reveals that that’s impossible because Kate was pregnant with their first child. After the detective leaves, Amanda provides us with some obscure statistics and lets Eric know that Cornell is going to investigate Kate’s death as a murder in which he’s most likely the prime suspect.

Some quick notes on Amanda:

  1. She’s a public defender who was also Kate’s classmate in law school and the matchmaker who introduced her to Eric. She makes it clear multiple times that she doesn’t want anyone (mainly Eric) talking to Detective Cornell about the case without her present.
  2. Kate hadn’t even been given an autopsy before Amanda became dead set on making Eric think that he’s the number one suspect here. Cue Eric’s paranoia and me being skeptical of Amanda’s intentions.
  3. When Eric can’t sleep, Amanda digs through her purse, which is full of prescription bottles that she claims are for “woman issues,” and offers him a drug to help him get some sleep. Hmm.
  4. The next morning, the trio completely ignores Detective Cornell’s order to stay away from the office; they pull up to the scene of the incident to find her throwing dummies off the roof in front of a crowd of people. But she’s also there to question some partygoers.

    Eric isn’t included in the list of people Cornell has questions for, but, since he’s sure she’s pegged him as the suspect, he continues to be overly defensive and not help himself out at all. He follows Cornell out to the lobby, so she asks if he was on the roof with Kate. Instead of answering the question, he makes this his opportunity to assert his innocence. You know, the innocence that really isn’t even in question yet. Cornell does that thing where her gaze gets really intense and sort of sadistic right before she says something snarky and a little accusatory and she lets Eric know that, either way, she’s going to find out if he was up there.

    NEXT: Kate has a few secrets

    Later that day, Eric decides to do some snooping in Kate’s office and finds out three things: 1. Someone was in her office the night of the party, 2. Kate had a secret P.O. box that a package was just delivered to, and 3. Kate had a secret iPad hiding in her desk, which Eric tries (and fails) multiple times to unlock. After Amanda convinces him that the first of those three things isn’t worth telling the cops, the gang heads to the morgue for Kate’s autopsy results. In a not-so-surprising turn of events, the results of the autopsy have revealed that — dun dun duuuun — Kate was murdered. And, not only do we discover that she was murdered, but she also had gaven birth to a child that isn’t Eric’s, a secret that Detective Cornell was all too eager to disclose.

    A few days later at John’s house, the family holds a funeral for Kate that really seems like it’s more of a competition to see which of Eric’s coworkers can say the most obnoxious thing. Eric, Patrick, and Amanda are sitting in the playroom talking about how ridiculous everyone is being when Patrick asks his siblings if they’ve checked on their mother, who’s been brought up a few times throughout this episode though it was never made clear if she’s still alive or not. Once Eric and Amanda tell him hell no (essentially), Patrick clears up the confusion by saying, “It’s not like she’s dead or something.” That’s one secret down.

    The three of them go back outside to mingle with their guests when Eric and John notice Detective Cornell pulling a typical Detective Cornell move and questioning the guests at the funeral. When John asks her to leave, Eric inserts himself into the conversation to, once again, let the detective know that he didn’t kill Kate. (It was at this moment that I yelled “ERIC, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!”)

    Cornell fires back at him with some dirt she was able to dig up on his past. It looks like, before he was on top of his game at a private equity firm, Eric spent six months in juvie for killing someone, a crime that our protagonist claims was an accident. And, on that note, episode 1 concludes. It consisted of a boatload more secrets than lies but here’s what we’re still questioning:

    • What’s inside the mystery package that was delivered to Kate’s secret P.O. box?
    • Whose baby did Kate have and what happened to it?
    • What were Eric and Kate doing on the roof?
    • What’s going on with Eric’s mom and why does she no longer communicate with him and the rest of the family?
    • Episode Recaps

      This ABC drama—based on the Australian series of the same name—is about a man (Ryan Phillippe) suspected of murder being hunted down by a detective (Juliette Lewis). Sound familiar?
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      • 03/01/15
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