Motive Recap: Overboard


Two well-heeled couples gather with a large crowd to christen a new yacht, The Luckiest Lady. The women clearly do not get along, or at least don’t feel comfortable with each other. They don’t seem hostile, just ill at ease. The one who grabs the champagne bottle to smash it against the hull is THE VICTIM.

A young catering worker, Damian, who gets called in to work the christening is identified as THE KILLER. As is often the case, he seems highly unlikely to commit murder. He’s a sweet guy who sends his mother flowers on the anniversary of some difficult event in her life and reassures her over and over that it’s going to be okay. He brushes by his victim as he comes up the gangplank, but there’s no recognition on the part of either.

The crime scene is a beach where the victim washed up. Dr. Rogers says she probably didn’t drown—she suffered blunt force trauma on the side of her head from two separate wounds. It’s a homicide. But we already knew that.

Damian, meanwhile, is hiding an object wrapped in bloody rags in the wheel well of a car trunk. Tsk tsk Damian. You know someone’s going to find that murder weapon. Later, he’s cleaning up back at the boat with the rest of the catering crew. The other woman from the christening approaches him and introduces herself as Meredith Taylor. He says his name is Calvin Higgs. She says she wants to thank him for last night and that it was a big deal to her. Of course, my first thought is that he killed the other woman for her, but that’s way too simple a possibility when we’re only a few minutes into the show. Also, why would he have done that for someone he didn’t even know?

Our new friend Officer Sung, who is trying really hard to prove herself, conducts a grid search along the beach and finds the victim’s purse. She’s Alicia Barclay, age 27. Time to make the home visit.

The only person the detectives find there is Alicia’s assistant. She doesn’t make Alicia sound like a bad person, but she does say the work was 24/7. She gives them the number for the assistant of Alicia’s husband, Peter. He confirms that Peter was at the party, but also says he didn’t come in to work that morning. Naturally, the detectives like him for this crime.

Flashback to the day before. Alicia and Meredith are on the boat talking about the party. It sounds like Alicia is more in charge than Meredith. Alicia also says that she and Kurt, Meredith’s husband, like the same things, even when they’re over budget. There is definitely some jealousy and possibly a power struggle going on here. Damian is on the shore, taking photos of the two women on board.

However, in the present it becomes clear that Meredith isn’t responsible for anything that happened. She is on her cell phone trying to get a hold of Alicia, whom she thought was in charge of setup AND cleanup. Obviously, Alicia isn’t answering her phone.

The detectives are on board as well, and walk right by their killer, as they so often do in the early stages of an investigation. They want to talk to Kurt Taylor, but he’s completely befuddled by what’s happened, and has no idea where Peter is. He is certain, though, that Peter didn’t do this. Meredith describes Alicia as “always the social butterfly,” but it doesn’t sound like a compliment. Forensics finds blood on the deck and red fibers matching Alicia’s scarf on the railing.

Peter’s car has been found, so the detectives knock on the door of the house it’s parked outside. A young British fellow in a towel opens it. At least the mystery of Peter’s whereabouts has been solved, and a few questions I didn’t know I had have just been answered.

In questioning Peter, the detectives learn that his wife knew he was gay, so apparently she was just a beard. He seems genuinely sad that she’s dead, not in a husband kind of way but in a friend kind of way. The detectives aren’t convinced, though, because he seems highly dedicated to keeping his preferences a secret, and she could have been threatening to expose him.

Damian’s phone is ringing, but it’s the one marked “CAL,” so that’s how he answers it. It’s Detective Lucas, wanting him to come down to the station and make a statement. “Calvin” is very eager to help in any way he can. He’s starting to emerge as a calculating person who is used to maintaining a double life.

Flashback to Calvin trying to get in on the Luckiest Lady gig. The boss says it’s full, but that he’ll be first on the sub list. So now all Calvin has to do is take out someone who already has the gig, which he does by dislocating a guy’s knee in a dark alley.

The only really useful piece of information the detectives have come up with is a rumor that one woman has heard about Alicia looking for a divorce lawyer. Hopefully Lucas has more luck when Calvin/Damian comes down.

At the party, Meredith sees Alicia and Kurt flirting and confronts Alicia about it. Alicia has obviously been down this road before because she just glares and says, “Your problem isn’t with me, it’s with your husband.”

Dr. Rogers has determined that the cause of death was, in fact, drowning. Alicia’s blood alcohol level wasn’t high enough for her to be drunk, and she was definitely struck twice by a “funky” object. She and Flynn also have some girl talk about Cross, and we learn that when he and Flynn were together, he was married. Also, her kid really liked him. So the hostility makes sense.

Calvin/Damian tells Lucas that he saw Alicia fooling around with some guy on the lower deck at 10:30. This, combined with a “funky” trophy at the Barclay home, leads the detectives to suspect Peter as their killer.

Calvin/Damian sees the detectives leading Peter into the station in handcuffs, and he starts cussing up a storm. So clearly, whatever his motive, it wasn’t to take Peter down. He calls his mom. He tells her he has to stay a little longer to fix something. Then he calls Meredith and asks to meet her for a drink.

Peter is vehemently declaring his innocence. He says that he and Alicia had an agreement to be married for five years, and she was going to be very well compensated. It doesn’t make any sense that she would file for divorce beforehand. They show him a picture of the effects that were found on Alicia, and he says nothing’s missing, but that the watch in the picture wasn’t hers and she never wore a watch anyway.

Meredith and Calvin/Damian are at a bar, and she’s telling him that Alicia was sleeping with her husband. She also says that she’s not going to tell the police that, and she knows her husband isn’t responsible for Alicia’s death.

Flashback to Damian going through a desk on the boat. He finds the watch from the picture, holds it up and says, “You’ll do.”

Lucas finds out that the watch was registered to Kurt Taylor, so the detectives head back to the boat to question him. Meredith is there, and she admits that Kurt and Alicia were having an affair, but insists that he would never hurt her. There is a picture of Peter and Kurt with the trophy the detectives found, and Flynn asks if Kurt had one of those too. Meredith says, “Yes … it’s usually right there …”

Of course, now there’s a search warrant for Kurt’s car, and there’s the trophy in the wheel well. Just like Peter’s, except covered with blood. Calvin/Damian obviously planted it there, so now it’s looking like he was trying to take Kurt down, not Peter.

As they investigate Kurt, they find that Meredith is actually his third wife, and his second wife, April, drowned in a boating accident. It’s starting to look a little too tidy, and you know Flynn is going to pick up on that. She always seems to know when things aren’t quite right. Kurt’s lawyer produces a time-stamped video of Kurt giving a drunken speech on the boat, proving he couldn’t have been with Alicia at her TOD. He confirms that the watch they found is his, but says he didn’t give it to Alicia.

Watching the video again, Flynn sees Meredith enter the crowd about halfway through the speech, so now she thinks Meredith did it to get back at her husband and get out of her prenup. When questioned she says that she had just confronted Kurt about Alicia in his office. He admitted to the affair, and she went to fix her face while he gave the speech. She says the person who saw her returning to the crowd from the bathroom was Calvin Higgs.

Calvin/Damian is watching the news report on the police questioning Kurt. He seems much more satisfied with this turn of events, and toasts a picture that is stuck into the frame of his mirror. It’s an older photo of two teenagers, a boy and a girl. The jig is about to be up, though, because the detectives have discovered that Calvin is an alias and they know his real name is Damian Cutter.

They bring him in, but they don’t let him know that they know his real name. He says he doesn’t know Damian Cutter. He also says that he had seen Meredith once or twice, but they didn’t have a relationship.

Damian confronts Meredith in a parking garage and says she has to tell the police about what happened in St. Lucia, which is where April died. She looks like she has some idea what he’s talking about, but she doesn’t understand why he’s so upset.

Looking into Damian’s credit card charges, they find the flowers he sent to his mom. The card said that April will always be alive in their hearts.

The detectives grab Damian when he’s trying to go to the airport. He was on active duty when his sister married Kurt, which is why Kurt didn’t recognize him. The St. Lucia police closed the case on April’s death in 12 hours, calling it an accident. Damian says Kurt wasn’t the man April thought he was, but she wouldn’t leave him.

Now we get to see the murder scene. Turns out, Damian was trying to sneak into Kurt’s office to off Meredith. He backs out when he sees Kurt come in to argue with her. After Kurt leaves, Damian can’t seem to go through with it. Instead, he offers Meredith a tissue and a hug. He seems to feel that by comforting her, he’s offering a bit of what he couldn’t give to his sister. Then he goes off to kill Alicia, the woman Kurt really loved.

Kurt’s not going to get away with anything though. Vega finds out about the $50K he paid the St. Lucia authorities after April’s death. I guess the moral of the story is, if you must kill your spouse, do it in St. Lucia. Apparently the police there can be bought off quite easily.

Tags: ABC Motive Recap