American Gothic: (S01E01) “Arrangement in Grey and Black”


American Gothic is a new limited summer series on CBS. It airs on Wednesdays at 10 pm EST/9 pm CST. CBS advertises it as a thirteen part murder mystery. It tells the story of the Hawthorne family. One of the daughters, Alison, married with twin girls, wants to run for mayor. One of the opening scenes is with Alison’s campaign manager briefing the family on the best way to present themselves. She says each room is too rich looking. The Hawthornes live in a huge mansion and must be rich. The family also consists of Alison’s mom Maddie and her dad Mitch. Alison also has two brothers and a sister. The sister is named Tess and her brothers are Cam and Garrett. Tess seems to be a nervous type. Cam is a former drug addict who has left his druggie wife Sophie and taken their son Jack. Cam is a cartoon artist and started drawing as a kid. His son Jack also draws. Jack wants to be a medical examiner and draws dead people. Garrett is the son who has been gone 14 years but he comes back when he finds out his dad has had a heart attack. More on that later.

The show opens with cars driving in a tunnel. The tunnel collapses. When the bridge on top of the tunnel collapses, pieces of cement are scattered all around and one of the police discovers a belt in the concrete. The belt is immediately linked to an old serial killer case called the Silver Bells killer. The serial killer strangled his victims with a belt and left a silver bell by each victim’s body. The killings mysteriously stopped back in 1992. The bridge was built by Mitch’s construction company.

Alison makes a speech saying she will find out who the serial killer is unlike the mayor before her. When she talks about the Silver Bells killer, her dad Mitch looks positively ill and in fact collapses. It turns out he has a heart attack and lands in the hospital.

Back at the mansion, Tess comes across Cam who is looking through boxes in a garage or storage room. She asks if he is looking for drugs he has stashed away. She says she won’t judge him but he has been clean for a year. They find a box full of silver bells and newspaper articles on the Silver Bells killer. The papers are from the household as they have Cam’s drawings on them. They speculate on who in the family could be the Silver Bells killer. Tess and Cam note that the killing stopped when Garrett went away. They tell Alison and Maddie about the findings but they say to put the box back and forget it.

Garrett shows up at the mansion. The whole family goes to visit Mitch in the hospital. Maddie says to Garrett, I thought you agreed to never come back. Hmmm…Why would that be? Somehow he found out about his dad’s heart attack. He leans down and whispers something in his dad’s ear. At first he says he told Mitch he was happy to see him. Later Alison’s twins, Harper and Violet, reveal to the family that he actually said I’m going to tell them it was you. When Garrett whispers in Mitch’s ear, his heart rate goes through the roof and he ends up in a comatose state.

A crazy old cat lady lives in the neighborhood and she is upset over having lost her cat Caramel. Well, guess who has Caramel? Little Jack. In fact, little Jack cuts off Caramel’s tail. He says he it was just an experiment. Cam and Jack rush Caramel to the vet to have the tail reattached. Later Cam finds a picture Jack drew of Caramel where Caramel is in several pieces. Oh boy.

Cam can’t take the stress of his dad being sick and his son having the beginnings of a psycho so he goes to his ex, Sophie’s house and they do drugs and end up in bed.

The ending scene is of Maddie sitting next to Mitch at the hospital. She is knitting. He starts to come to. Maddie slips the heart monitor from his finger to her finger. She tells him to be quiet. She bends his oxygen cord and he says he can’t breathe. She cuts off his oxygen until he dies. Now why would she do that? What does she know?

I think the show seems interesting. I look forward to learning more about this family and the Silver Bells killer. What did you think of American Gothic?