|Season 1, Episode 1|
|“||I can't remember anything about last night.||”|
— Ben Crawford
Ben is out for his usual morning jog when he comes upon the body of young Tom Murphy. After the news begins to spread throughout town, Detective Cornell, who's been assigned to the case, pays Ben a visit for routine questioning. In the blink of an eye, Ben quickly turns from Good Samaritan to murder suspect.
Ben Crawford runs frantically through the woods in the pouring rain in the early morning hours. Coming upon a neighborhood, he desperately yells for help. He stops at his house, ringing the doorbell and banging on the door, yelling for his wife Christy to open up. Later, authorities confirm the death of 5-year-old Tom Murphy who was found in the woods. Returning home, Ben is greeted by Christy and their 16-year-old daughter Natalie. But they aren’t alone: Detective Andrea Cornell wants to ask Ben some questions. It’s clear she thinks Ben is guilty of killing Tom. News travels and the media stake out the Crawfords’ home in connection to the murder. Natalie is especially affected, try as Ben may to downplay it. He confides in childhood best friend and current guest house tenant, Dave Lindsey. Ben attempts to reach out to Tom’s mother, Jess Murphy, but his call goes unanswered. As they settle in for the night, Christy inquires about the morning’s events and Ben is curt; it’s apparent the couple is in the beginning stages of a separation. In the morning, the family is bombarded by the media, while Ben is summoned by Cornell for more questioning.
At the station, Christy’s divorce lawyer comes to Ben’s aid. Cornell requests a DNA sample, but the lawyer advises against it. When Ben comes home, Christy’s brother Michael is there to help babysit, as Natalie is too upset to do so herself. Photos of Ben getting summoned by police have made its way to the Internet and the comments are horrendous. Ben and Dave go boating; Ben reveals Christy is leaving him and she wants the girls. Dave realizes that’s why he wanted to go out the night before – the night he found Tom.
The Crawfords are cleaning up after dinner when Cornell comes over with more questions for Ben. She shows him a series of photos of various kinds of flashlights, asking if he has any of them. Christy points out one in particular that she got him a couple of years ago for his birthday. When they go out to his truck to show Cornell the flashlight in his kit, it isn’t there. Later, Ben questions Christy’s loyalty.
Ben takes Cornell on the route he took the morning he found Tom. She continues to question him, taking jabs at his memory and inquiring about his calls to Jess. She also presses him on why he refuses to take a DNA test, causing him to walk away abruptly. He returns home to find a swarm of police searching his property – his walk with Cornell was her ploy to get him out of the house. When he inquires about a search warrant, she didn’t need one, as Christy gave them permission.
Ben and his younger daughter Abby run an errand. Upon returning home, they are bombarded by reporters and cameras, causing Abby to burst into tears. Ben brings a distraught Abby back to the car and down to the station – he knows what he needs to do. On his way to the car the next morning, he discovers the words “CHILD KILLER” painted in red on his white fence.
At his job, his client pays him off even though Ben hasn’t completed the painting yet. Ben makes calls to his clients to ask if they need any work done, but they all decline, saying they’ve been done. It’s becoming evident that Ben’s connection to the murder is making him a social as well as a professional pariah. After a blow-up on the phone with Cornell, Ben has a vivid memory of teaching Tom to swim, causing him to break down. Later, he sits down with Cornell, who continues to interrogate him as well as deliver some knowledge served up by the DNA test: Ben is Tom’s father.
A complete overview of this episode's crew can be found here.
Notes and Trivia
- This episode was filmed in early March 2014.
- All the main characters (except Detective Cornell) had their last names changed during production.
- Ben, Christy, Natalie, and Abby's last names were changed from Garner to Crawford.
- Jess and Tom's last names went from Mullen to Murphy.
- Dave's last name went from Carlyle to Lindsey.
A more complete gallery with pictures of The Trail can be found here.
A complete transcript of this episode can be found here.