The deaths of Santa Barbara
The murder of Channing Capwell Junior


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When Santa Barbara begins, on July 30 1984, the opening sequence plunges us into the past, on July 30 1979 precisely. We attend a party organized by Channing Creighton Capwell, while Channing Capwell Junior, his preferred son, is murdered. It is the very first dramatic event of the show and an issue that holds us breathless for long months.

The first images show Channing Junior, being helped by his half-brother Mason, welcoming the guests of the reception. The party is a great success. In the middle of the evening, Philip, the Capwells' butler, approaches Channing and gives him a note. Of course, we cannot read the few words written in his hand. Channing read it and, intrigued, he goes thereafter to his father's study. As soon as Channing opens the door of the room, a revolver goes off in the shadows, pointed towards the person who comes through the door. Bang! ! ! A gunshot blares through the whole Capwell mansion. The noise seems to come from the study. At once, everybody, including members of the family and guests, hurry towards the office. C.C. arrives first and when he tries to open the door, he realizes that it is locked from the inside. C.C., who is helped by Mason, goes to search for keys. But, it is Kelly Capwell who manages to open the door of the office first. By pushing it, Kelly receives the shock of her life: her brother, Channing is lying on the floor, lying in his blood, obviously dead, killed by a bullet. Kelly cannot believe it: at her side is Joe Perkins, her fiancé, his hands covered with blood, still holding a revolver in his right hand...

Very quickly, an investigation is opened and concludes that Channing Capwell has been killed with a gun, shot by Joe Perkins. Joe is then judged and declared guilty of the murder of Channing Junior, mainly because of the testimony of Kelly Capwell. Advised by her father and her half brother Mason, Kelly does not listen to her heart and lets only her anger speak. Moreover, a compromising detail can be added to the file: the day before the reception, Joe and Channing had a violent dispute and they began to fight. On his side, Joe, at the time of his lawsuit, did not cease protesting his innocence. According to him, he was not alone, this evening, in the office. There was another man, present in the room, at his side. Unfortunately, during the investigation, his remarks could never been checked. Moreover, Joe is unable to describe his witness, because the room was plunged in darkness. However, during flashbacks, we do not see anyone with Joe inside the office. In addition, Joe insists on another point: when he entered the office, Channing was already dead. And if he has been found with his hands full of blood, it is because he rushed on him, to try to save him. With the Capwells power, Joe Perkins is represented as the ideal culprit. Rejected by all, including by his family, disavowed by the one he loves, Joe will be finally be recognized as guilty of the murder and will be imprisoned in San Quentin prison.

Of course, as we will thereafter discover it, the murder of Channing is far from being as simple as it appears to be. And a multitude of suspects will follow one another until the real murderer could be found. And it remains very shady to explore the arrival there; the first flashbacks of the murder, far from being false, do not contain the whole truth. And it is with the succeeding episodes that the truth, slowly but surely, will be discovered regarding the murder of Channing Capwell Junior. When in this end of July 1984, Joe Perkins is released after five years in prison, he has one objective: to return to Santa Barbara in order to discover the real murderer. In his search of truth, he is quickly helped by a certain Dominic. Emerged from nowhere, Dominic, still with his face hidden behind black glasses, a long beard and a hat, introduces himself as the only person in Santa Barbara to believe in his innocence, and to be able to help him to prove his innocence. Dominic’s motivations, for the moment, remain very mysterious to us.

Very quickly the situation evolves, just as the vision we have of the murder of Channing, Joe, thanks to his meetings with Dominic, realizes that he is his mysterious witness. Absent from the first flashbacks, Dominic’s face finished by appearing to us at the time of the scene of the murder. Thus, Joe told the truth. A new detail has been just added. A question can then be asked: what if Joe lied to us about the murder?... During their investigation, Dominic and Joe quickly conclude that to discover the identity of the real murderer, they must discover some more information on Channing Junior's personality. And by analysing the last days of the victim, they hope to perhaps find a suspect for the murder. And as soon as they know the suspect, they will discover by the same occasion the identity of the killer.

This is why, advised by Dominic, Joe illegally enters the Capwell property, and succeeds in going into Channing's room, closed since his murder. In his room, he steals objects having belonged to him: his private diary and love letters which were addressed to him. Reading the letters, a new question appears: with whom did Channing Junior maintain a passionate love-affair? Joe thinks of it in vain, he does not remember who attended the Capwell heir. At the same time, Joe ends up discovering that Channing had an affair with Santana Andrade, the servants' daughter. Santana would have even given birth to his child. After having discovered the truth, Joe returns the letters that Santana would have written to Channing back to Santana. But Santana certifies to him in a categorical way that these letters have not been written by her. Then who would have written them to Channing? Progressively in his investigation, the past of Channing Junior does not seem as clear as one could expect.

At the reading of his private diary, a new facet of Channing's face is drawn. And Joe thinks of approaching the identity of the real murderer. In his diary, Channing thanks Warren for having brought him the mean of definitively destroying the Lockridge renown. During their schooling, Channing and Warren would have been friends in spite of the terrible war which opposes their two families. And an event that everyone ignores would have put an end to this friendship. Moreover, in his diary, Channing declares to know the identity of the robber of his family coins. Indeed, a little time before the murder of Channing, the Capwells had a burglary. During the theft, the burglars only seized a collection of old Spanish coins, in gold and of value. For Joe and Dominic, this theft could be closely linked with the murder. Because who more than the robber would be a better suspect to kill Channing, the only one to know his identity. Joe then believes in hope again. And Dominic is happy that the investigation is directed in the direction of the Lockridges, even if according to him, it is not the good member of the family who is emphasized.

Whereas Joe seems to be closer than ever to the truth, a terrible earthquake shakes the town of Santa Barbara and comes to disturb all the cards. The events will then follow one another in unrestrained intervals. Peter Flint is very seriously injured, following the shake. At the hospital, believing himself about to die, Peter clears Joe of the murder of Channing. And a new surprise, he declares to know the identity of the murderer. It is Mason Capwell, his half-brother. If for Kelly and Joe, things are arranged, it is not the case with Mason. Suspected of the murder of his brother, he is at once disinherited and driven away from the family mansion. According to Peter, Mason hated his brother and would have profited this evening to shoot him. And if Mason admits hating his brother, he categorically denies to be implied in his death. Mason then starts to speak about Channing, and the portrait he makes of him is very far from that of the ideal son whom C.C. depicts. According to him, Channing would be cold, calculated, and ready for everything to arrive at his end. It is too much for C.C. who disavows him. Between father and son, the rupture seems definitively consumed.

But Peter, who seems to know many details about the murder of Channing, makes a new declaration. And whereas he is about to die, Peter prefers to avow the whole truth. Very quickly, he clears Mason and acknowledges to have diverted the suspicions on him because he hates him. Unfortunately these new avowals come too late to reconcile C.C. and Mason. But then, even if Peter claims it, it is nor Joe nor Mason who shot Channing, who can it be? The investigation starts again and it sets out again on new base. Convinced that the murder is closely linked with the theft of the coins, the research is centered on the burglar. And thus the worst fear of Augusta Lockridge seems to be realized. Very quickly, Warren Lockridge is in trouble, because it is discovered that he is in possession of the Spanish coins. Although he did everything to hide them, the coins are found and Warren is suspected of murder. Warren then tells us his version of the facts. And once again, the image we had of Channing, of his murder, appear to us quite different today. Warren recognizes being at the origin of the burglary of the Capwell mansion. He wanted to seize the gold coins in order to protect his father. Indeed, these coins have been offered by his father, Lionel, to the second wife of C.C. Capwell, Sophia, Channing Junior's mother. Warren wanted to take these coins again, because Channing wanted to reveal to everyone that Lionel was responsible for Sophia's death.

But Channing did not want to stay to that point. He very quickly understood that Warren was at the origin of the burglary. He was the only one who could establish the link between the collection of coins and the murder of Sophia. This is why he invited him in the afternoon of the reception in order to propose to him a curious transaction. From there, Channing detained all the cards to destroy the Lockridges: Lionel by accusing him of the murder of Sophia and Warren by accusing him of the theft of the coins. Well quickly, the tone went up between Warren and Channing. Mad with anger, Warren left the Capwell mansion and regained the property of his family. There, he seized his father's weapon and gets himself ready to go back to the Capwells, decided to put an end to the detestable blackmail that Channing was exercising on his family. And he gained access to the Capwell mansion thanks to an underground tunnel connecting the two properties. On the Capwell side, the tunnel emerges in the office; the door is the heavy side of the bookcase. And when Warren pushed the bookcase, he discovered a quite strange scene. Channing was laying bathing in his blood, on the floor. There was a revolver at his side. When he approaches him, he heard him murmuring the words: "Ferra Ma". Afraid of being accused of the crime, Warren went back the same way, relieved because this murder put an end to the threat which was weighing on his family.

The portrait of Warren which starts to appear to us is far from the image C.C. had of his son. Warren's remarks rejoin those of Mason. Channing only wanted to please his father, to be the best in everything, and he did not worry about the evil he could make around him. In his eyes, the purpose always justified the means. Of course, C.C. does not believe a word of it. He knows Mason has always been jealous of the affection he testified to his son. He knows that he is jealous to have given him his first name, whereas he is only his second child. In his eyes, Channing was the ideal son, the one who could totally answer all his dreams... But Mason does not want to stay to that point. Even beyond the grave, he wishes to finally obtain his revenge on this brother who never liked him and who took his place in the heart of their father. Having investigated a little, Mason quickly discovers that Channing was victim of blackmail. His private diary besides confirms his ideas. One or more people seemed to know a detail of Channing's past, and he was ready to hide everything so that it remains secret. This is when Mason presents Lindsay Smith to his father. Lindsay, who went to college with Channing, would be the author of the blackmail. Lindsay avows, but he says he obeyed the orders of Peter Flint. Injured in his flesh and blood, C.C. drives Mason out of the property once again. Of course, we ignore what Channing's terrible secret is.

Accused of the theft and the murder, Warren continues to plead his innocence: in any case that is was not him who shot him. He indeed went to the Capwells in order to kill him, but somebody preceded him. Whereas everything seems to accuse Warren, a surprise diverts the suspicions. Cautiously Dominic, finds at the Lockridges, in addition to the collection of gold coins, the note received by Channing the evening of the murder. And it is not Warren who is accused anymore, but Lionel. Thus, Lionel, present at the Capwell reception, would have assassinated Channing, in order to silence him and to prevent him from proving his implication in the murder of Sophia Capwell. Lionel is then arrested for the Christmas feasts of 1984.

However, the intrigue does not stay at that point. Lionel had indeed the possibility and the envy to kill Channing Capwell Junior, but it is not him who wrote the note. And contrary to everybody in Santa Barbara, he understands the last words pronounced by Channing. These words do not have anything to do with the identity of the murderer. And Lionel knows it. Because "Ferra Ma" evokes something for him. And it is not the only one to be disturbed by these words. "Ferra Ma" is the name of the island where Lionel Lockridge and Sophia Capwell dreamed to end up at the time of their love-affair.

Revelations after revelations, some zones of the past appear increasingly clear to us, and the image we have of the murder of Channing differs from the one showed to us in the first episode. And it seems that in addition to Peter Flint, another character seems to hold much more information on the murder of Channing. Because the note, which is five years old, did not arrive by chance in Lionel's place.. We know that it is Dominic who hid it there. His motivations to find the real killer of Channing appear increasingly obscure to us, just as we do not know why he seeks so much to be avenged from Lionel, by accusing him of the murder.

Understanding that his safety is located in Dominic's hands, Lionel, after his release under bail, looks for Dominic. And on a train which leads him to Anchorage, he makes a surprising discovery. Lionel receives the shock of his life. Dominic is a woman and not any woman since he turns out to be Sophia Wayne Capwell, Channing's mother, C.C. Capwell's second wife, but also his former mistress that everyone believes is dead. After a violent discussion between them, we learn that Sophia returned to Santa Barbara to be avenged from Lionel so that he takes responsibility for her boat accident, fifteen years earlier. Lionel does not believe what he sees. And he explains to her that it was an accident. He would have never done any evil to her. Finally, Sophia agrees to believe him and she asks him not to betray her secret: she wants to announce the great news to her family herself. Thus Dominic definitively disappears from the show. But Sophia stays in Santa Barbara under the features of her new and real identity: the Countess Armonti. She goes back to live in Santa Barbara accompanied by her stepson, Marcello Armonti, a psychiatrist internationally known.

However, the reappearance of Sophia does not prove Lionel Lockridge innocence. And just like Joe a few months earlier, Lionel only owes his safety to Peter Flint. Become a serial-killer, Peter ends being killed by the police. And while going to search in his apartment, Cruz Castillo discovers a letter, typed on a machine, left by Peter. In this letter, Peter admits being the carnation killer, but also the murderer of Channing Capwell Junior. He does not bring any evidence being able to justify his crime. However, for Cruz Castillo, this confession sounds false. Something troubles him and he is not able to say why. Once the letter being analyzed by a specialist, it is discovered that the last lines, those relating to the murder of Channing, have been added thereafter, by another person who is not Peter Flint. The investigation rebounds again.

And the new suspicions of Cruz head towards Countess Armonti' s stepson who seems, just like Peter Flint, to hold many secrets about the murder of Channing Junior. Because Cruz quickly ends up discovering that Marcello Armonti is tightly implied in the past of the Capwells. And Marcello ends up acknowledging that it is him who added the few lines relating to the murder of Channing in Peter's confession. He avows to have done it for the good of the Capwells. And then just like Joe Perkins and Lindsay Smith have implied it, Peter had enough suspects to kill Channing. Channing would have perhaps been able to discover that behind his blackmailer was Peter Flint hidden. But the real motivation of Marcello is to relieve Sophia Capwell, Channing Junior's mother, forever. And because of the lack of other potential suspects, all the suspicions then go towards Marcello Armonti, who admits having been present the night of the murder at the Capwell mansion.

Sophia Capwell's return to life seems to bring a new breath to the investigation. Because, of all the characters present in the office, this special evening, she is the only one who still can make new revelations. And in order to see who is arrested for the moment with the murder, Cruz convenes all the characters to a reconstitution of the crime. This is at this time that we will really know what happened in the office that night. It begins with the confession of Lionel. Lionel Lockridge recognizes having had that day a violent argument with Channing Junior. Channing reproached him for the murder of his mother, he wanted to destroy the Lockridge family for ever. Lionel admits having left the mansion full of anger and that he was expecting the worst things for his family in the evening. Then, Warren, his own son, reports his discussion with Channing. Channing invited him to join his reception, because he wanted to accuse him in front of everyone of the theft of the gold coins, otherwise he would reveal that Lionel is the murderer of Sophia. Warren, after his talk, returned at home to seize his father's weapon, decided to put an end to the detestable blackmail Channing was exerting on his family. He thus came back to the Capwells armed, by using the tunnel which joins the two properties. While opening the door of the bookcase, he arrived in the office. He was alone in the room, with Channing laying on the floor, murmuring the words: "Ferra Ma". Understanding the drama that had just happened, Warren went back the same way.

At this point in time, Sophia begins her confession. She then remembers to be also present, that evening, at the reception given in honor of her son. She had put on the disguise of Dominic. She had come that evening with the firm intention to be avenged from her former lover, Lionel Lockridge. This is why, that evening, she wrote a note on which she asked him to join her as fast as possible in the office. Understanding what was going to be said thereafter, and certainly because he knows the truth, Marcello stops Sophia's confession. He finishes at her place. As soon as he had the certitude that Channing Junior had received the note, he ran in the office and waited for him. His wait was very short, because Channing went to join him. There, they spoke about Sophia and Channing, full of hate, acknowledged that he did not want to see her again. Then, in an excess of rage and anger, Marcello shot him. At once afterwards, he locked the door and hid himself in the room. He left his hiding-place only when many people came to rejoin Joe in the office. Thus, it would be Marcello is the culprit. But only one question remains without answer: why did he kill him? Because his explanation is not believable.

Seeking to obtain all the answers, Cruz then requires reproducing the scene such as it happened five years earlier. And there, a new rebound makes the intrigue start again. Sophia, dressed with Dominic's clothes, remembers to have given the note to a maid so that she gives it to Lionel Lockridge. The note then went between the hands of Philip, who gave it to Channing Junior. And this is why it was Channing who went to the office instead of Lionel. She was standing in the dark, in the office, and when the door opened, she really expected to see Lionel. Then, she pointed the Capwells revolver on him. She just wanted to threaten him, to oblige him to recognize that he was responsible for Sophia Capwell's death. Before shooting, she spoke to him about their love-affair and of Ferra Ma, the island where they dreamed to end up in... And before Channing could say a word, she pressed the trigger. And shot. What she does not understand is that normally the weapon would not have been loaded. Moreover, she had come the day before, to discharge it so that her plan proceeds perfectly. And after having understood that she had just killed her son, Dominic lingered a little in the office. When the door of the tunnel opened and she saw Warren Lockridge appearing, she hid herself in the dark. She saw Warren approaching Channing and she saw him go back by the tunnel. A little second after, Joe entered the room. This is at this time, to retain the other guests, that she closed the office with the key from the inside. Joe hardly noticed her reflection in a mirror. Because immediately, Dominic ran away by the tunnel, letting Joe be accused of a murder he did not commit.

For the Capwell family, it is a real drama. Just as if they were living the murder again. Eden, Ted and Kelly had just found their mother and learning that she is responsible for the death of their brother. Sophia collapses, reviving the drama for the first time since this terrible evening. C.C. takes her in his arms to comfort her. All the Capwells unite against Cruz to not let Sophia be arrested. And then C.C. begins to speak. He comes at his turn to bring a new element. The day before the murder, he did not sleep and heard a noise coming from the office. He gets up and went to the office in order to reload the weapon he had just found empty. Thus, the story is completed. Sophia had indeed come to withdraw the bullets of the gun, but unfortunately for them, C.C. had meanwhile reloaded it. Of course, Sophia will not be imprisoned for the murder. Defended by all the Capwells, she will have the only punishment of continuing to live with in her mind the responsibility of the murder of her son. Responsibility C.C. also proposes to share, because he estimates himself as guilty as her, since it is him who reloaded the weapon of the crime.

And the starting point of the intrigue of Santa Barbara is thus concluded. But the shade of Channing junior will continue to haunt the show. He will first continue to live under the features of Brandon, his son, then under those of Brick Wallace, the real Channing Capwell Junior, resulting from the love-affair of Sophia Capwell and Lionel Lockridge. And, moreover, at the time of the Eden Capwell's departure, it is his spirit who will come to haunt her. Eden, possessed by the spirit of her brother, will shoot her mother to avenge his death. Then, although only present in the first episode, Channing Capwell Junior is certainly the character who will have marked the most history of Santa Barbara.

Text written for this site by Lilian

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