Who killed Colleen Brady?
I love the flashbacks. I love the old-fashioned romance, and the intrigue of knowing Colleen dies tragically but not yet knowing the details. (And I love Ali Sweeney in that habit! Those freckles! That one escaping lock of hair!) On TWoP we’ve been having fun speculating about what happened and how it all ties into the vendetta against the Bradys.
So, borrowing some ideas from my fellow TWoPers, here’s my proposed scenario for Who Killed Colleen:
Colleen and Santo fall deeply in love and begin having an affair, which consists of stolen moments whenever he can get to Ireland. After a year or two of this, Santo says he wants to leave his wife and marry Colleen. She tells him he can’t, he has obligations to his wife and child (children?). He gets upset and accuses her of not loving him enough. “I love you more than my life, but a child has to come first,” Colleen tells him. They fight and leave on bad terms. He goes on an extended trip to America.
Sometime later Colleen discovers she is pregnant. She hides the fact as long as she can (that voluminous habit) and then seeks out sister Rose’s help. Rose says she will help deliver the child and place it with a family (keeping the secret from the rest of the Brady’s), but on the condition that Colleen give up Santo and not tell him about the child. Colleen hears the echo of her own words (“a child comes first”), and reluctantly agrees. She writes to Santo, breaking it off, and goes into a cloister to await the birth of her child.
In the meantime, the character of Mrs. DiMera, Santo’s wife, is introduced. She is a handsome, sensible, slightly older woman, who nevertheless loves her husband passionately and obsessively. She is constantly jealous and paranoid about Santo having love affairs, and is always searching for evidence. However, knowing he views her only with affectionate respect, she hides her feelings and shows him only the same. The strain of all this leaves her vulnerable to illness.
The priest, having sold the handkerchief for a goodly sum, writes to thank Mrs. DiMera, casually mentioning Santo’s bump on the head and the way the novice Colleen took care of him. Mrs. D puts this together with a comment or two from Stefano, and decides that Colleen is a serious threat. Soon after the letter arrives from Colleen, the one that breaks off the affair. Mrs. D notes the address, but before she can open it, a servant forwards the letter on to Santo in America.
When Santo finally gets the letter he hightails it to Ireland, and Mrs. D decides to go there as well. She travels there secretly, bringing Stefano along (she thinks she can use him to remind Santo of his family obligations). In Ireland she leaves Stefano at a hotel and surreptitiously finds Santo and trails him.
An agitated Santo finds Pete Brady and asks to see Colleen. Pete has been suspicious of their relationship, and Santo’s manner confirms that something inappropriate has been going on. The two men fight, culminating in Pete saying Santo is a lecherous bastard and he’ll kill Colleen himself before he lets her shame the family any further.
Santo is now desperate to find her, both because he loves her and he is now afraid Pete will kill her. He finds Shawn, who has known about their affair and kept it secret. Being an inquisitive child concerned about his sister, he knows where Colleen is staying. Pressured by Santo, Shawn tells Santo where she is.
On his way to go see her, Santo is delayed by seeing Stefano, who has sneaked out to find his childhood pal. Santo had no idea Stefano was even in Ireland. Upon hearing he came with Mrs. DiMera and Mrs. D is even now staying at a nearby hotel, Santo is shocked, but he doesn’t let go of his purpose. He says he’ll deal with them later and dashes off.
When he gets to the cloister, he creeps in and sees his beautiful Colleen sleeping in a massive four poster bed (with white drapes fluttering in the breeze from an open window). Quietly, quietly, so as not to startle her, he gently touches her cheek. He turns her face toward him only to see blood on her cheek. He pulls back the covers and sees the bedclothes soaked in blood. She is dead. He clutches her lifeless body to him and cradles and caresses her. He vows vengeance against Pete Brady, against all the Bradys.
Shawn has followed Santo and sees him tearing out of the cloister covered with blood. He runs back to his family’s house for help. When they get back there they find Colleen dead, and one and all believe Santo killed her.
Santo is intercepted by none other than Mrs. DiMera and Stefano. She tells him she knows all about the affair and pleads with him not to do anything else to hurt their family. If he kills a man, if he goes to jail, what will become of them? Think of her, or if not her, Stefano. Think. Think.
Confused and distraught, Santo allows himself to be convinced. He goes back to Italy with his wife and son. But he is never the same. He slips further and further into a dreamworld, brooding over his lost love and his lost vengeance. His relationship with his son is never the same, because he can’t help blaming him for delaying him when he possibly could have saved Colleen’s life, and being the reason that he couldn’t wreak vengeance on Pete Brady.
Mrs. DiMera too is never the same. Her health deteriorates further. She becomes a bedridden invalid, obsessed with how Colleen ruined Santo’s life, ruined her life.
This is the household Stefano grows up in, tinged with melancholy, sickness, obsession, and madness.
The present day Salemites finally dig up most of this story. Stefano says Pete Brady killed Colleen, Shawn says Santo did it. Our heroes travel to Ireland to uncover the truth. There they discover the priest, now old, who tells them that he suspects that Colleen was perhaps pregnant. Then at last they find an old, wizened woman who tells them she knows the truth of what happened.
This is sister Rose, and we see the last flashbacks with some details added. The same night Santo arrived in Ireland Colleen went into labor. She gave birth to a boy, and she and Rose were discussing the child’s future when there is a knock at the door. Rose takes the sleeping child and hides in the closet. She sees Mrs. D, who confronts Colleen about the affair. Colleen apologizes and says it’s all over, but Mrs. D doesn’t believe her. Rose watches helplessly, child in her arms, as they begin arguing, culminating in Mrs. D pulling a knife, stabbing Colleen, and beating a hasty retreat through the window when she hears her husband at the door.
Final shot: a weeping Rose looking down at the sleeping child, and whispering, “I couldn’t save your mother, but I can save you.”