Each episode of “Accused” will present a new case in a court of law and throw light on the people and their behavior connected to the case. The episodes will progress by carrying forward the past events that led to the hearing and the hearing simultaneously, or so it seems. Episode 1, the one we discuss here, shows a father being taken to a preliminary hearing that will decide if he will stand trial for the death of his son. But there’s a lot more to the case than meets the eye. Let’s find out what.
A Red Paintball
Scott Harnon is being presented at a preliminary hearing for the death of his son, Devin Harnon. While he is being escorted to the courtroom, a person fires at him, but it turns out to be a red paintball. But the red color is enough to provoke him to think that his son’s blood is on his hands.
Dr. Scott Harnon is a neurosurgeon who is reputed for his friendly behavior with his patients. But when he receives a call from his wife Lynn telling him that they have been called by Devin’s school, he realizes that the day is about to get worse. After he reaches his son’s school (Park Ridge High School, Lake Forest, Illinois), where Lynn is already present, along with two teachers, he finds out that Devin has threatened his classmate, Sabrina Kavanaugh, on social media. She and her friends have been bullying him for quite some time, but the teachers prefer to expel Devin as this isn’t the first time he has done something like this. Lynn decides to pull Devin out of Park Ridge High without further discussion. Scott, however, cannot wrap his head around Devin’s unnatural behavior and is rather taken aback by how Lynn is taking it as lightly as she is. When they reach home, Scott watches Devin’s childhood videos, where his uncivil behavior is clearly visible. That night, Scott and Lynn have an argument about Devin. While Scott mentions that he finds Devin and his lack of empathy dangerous, Lynn holds Scott responsible for Devin’s behavior. Scott has never been there for Devin as a father, and that is why he isn’t able to comprehend his son’s behavior, thereby addressing it based on what it seems to be rather than trying to find the reason behind it and doing something about it. Meanwhile, Devin, back in his room upstairs, can hear the muffled argument and is scribbling in his journal, which also contains defaced pictures of Sabrina Kavanaugh and sketches of chopped-off legs, among other vile things.
A Death Wish
Scott cleans the red color off his face in the washroom, heads to the courtroom with his lawyer, and takes his seat. Behind him are his wife Lynn and elder son Alex, along with others. The hearing is about to begin.
The morning after the argument, Scott has a brief conversation with Devin, who yet again shows his passive-aggressiveness, being unmoved by his elder brother’s (Alex’s) arrival and enraged at Bandit, their neighbor’s dog that keeps on barking all the time, mentioning how someone should put it to sleep. That day, Scott snapped at one of his co-surgeons, Nadine, during a brain surgery, his conversation with Devin clearly irking his mind. While the surgery goes smoothly, his close friend Dr. Becker later asks him whether everything is alright with Devin. Scott doesn’t say anything and leaves, assuring Becker that he will apologize to Nadine. When he returns home, he finds a missing poster of Bandit on a tree and is taken aback, as he can’t help but think that Devin might have killed Bandit. He heads inside and overhears Devin talking to a friend about some money he needs. Upon being questioned, Devin makes it clear that he doesn’t want to talk about it. Scott then pulls out the missing poster, asking him if he has indeed killed the dog. Devin walks out of the room in a rage. Scott closes the door and looks for any object or any proof as such that will tell him more about his son. That’s when he finds the journal, and what is inside it. As he reads it in terror, Lynn walks in, and Scott shows it to her as well. Lynn too is terrified. Scott is planning a mass murder. Later on, he meets Becker, who is at his dialysis, shows him pictures of the journal that show Devin’s plan of mass murder, and tells him how Devin’s behavior and the contents of the journal have brought him to a position where, if one day he finds out that Devin has died in a car accident, it isn’t just grief that he will feel but relief as well. In other words, a weight will be lifted from Scott’s shoulders if Devin dies. As wrong as it sounds, it is the truth.
A Push For Help
Dr. Becker is the first witness at the hearing. He admits that Scott did essentially mention to him Devin’s plan of mass murder and that Scott decided to do something about it by himself after not receiving any help from the police. Then the District Attorney drops the ultimate question: Did Scott take his son to Deep Gorge in Chicago so that he could kill him? A silent Becker turns to look at his friend Scott, who is lost in thought.
Scott is checking the news on his tab, which tells of the death of a hiker at Deep Gorge. Later, when Devin returns from school, he apologizes to Devin for pinning the dog’s death on him and asks if they can start over by spending some time together, just father and son. He offers to take Devin to Deep Gorge, where he took Devin and Alex when they were kids for hiking. Devin agrees. Later on, Scott tells Lynn that he gave Devin the money he needed, which acted as an incentive for him to agree to the trip. Lynn is glad that Scott and Devin are working things out, which is a good sign. Scott and Devin arrive at State Park, and with the sun setting, they camp at a distance from Deep Gorge. They will resume their hike the next morning. The next day, they wake up, reach the cliff of the gorge, and begin their hike through a narrow pathway carved along the gorge. If someone slips, it’s a fall to death into the cold waters. Scott extends his hands to push Devin down the gorge but fails. They both are about to reach the end of the pathway to safe terrain when Devin, who was ahead, turns and tells Scott that he knows he read the journal. After they come down the cliff, Devin tells Scott that he needs the money to go to Iceland for 2 months with a friend, and it might just help him get better. Night has fallen by the time they return home. Scott tells Lynn that Devin is open to receiving professional help. Lynn is overwhelmed and goes inside. Devin breaks down while unpacking from the car. While his son was looking for help, he’d wanted to kill him only so that he could get some relief.
A Complicit Hostage
The DA calls the next witness, Jasper Sind, AKA Jax, Devin’s friend, with whom he said he would go to Iceland. He is the one whom Scott overheard Devin speaking to in his room.
Scott and Becker are having coffee at the hospital cafeteria. Scott tells Becker that things are looking good with Devin, who has also promised to seek the help of a therapist as soon as he returns from his trip. That’s when Scott notices something on the news, and the expression on his face tells him that his worst nightmare has come true. There has been a shooting at Park Ridge High School. It is Devin’s school. Scott reaches the spot, and the negotiators immediately get him in contact with his son Devin, who has killed seven students and is holding eight more hostage. On the phone, Devin tells his father that he lied about Iceland. He also knows that his father took him to the gorge so that he could kill him, and he asks him why he didn’t do it. Scott answers with a heavy voice that it is because he is his son. He couldn’t possibly kill his son, even if he wanted to. But it’s too late for Scott because, even by not pushing him off the gorge, he has pushed his son to the point of no return. Devin puts the muzzle of his rifle inside his mouth and pulls the trigger. All that Scott hears is a round of gunshots.
‘Accused’ Episode 1: Ending Explained – Is Scott Harnon Found Guilty Of His Son’s Death?
Jax states that with the money Scott gave Devin, he and Jax bought all the weapons, ammunition, and vests. He also says that Devin believed that his father would pay him anything just to have him disappear from his life, and that is what he took advantage of. Jax is then taken away. The DA states that since Scott gave Devin the money ($10,000) despite knowing that he was planning a mass murder, he is complicit. However, the judge finds that since Scott didn’t encourage or assist the mass murder in any way, his behavior, albeit negligent, isn’t criminal. Scott Harnon is thus free to go. Outside the courtroom, when Scott meets Lynn, with tears in her eyes, she tells him that he should have killed their son at the gorge.
Devin is no more, but his death, unlike what Scott had hoped, has brought about a sense of pain and loss that Harnon can never come out of. What adds to it is the fact that Scott himself wanted to kill Devin. Will Scott be able to live with this, especially after knowing that it was he who pushed his son to kill himself? He has to, and that’s his punishment.