A Definitive List of All the Reasons Why Women Kill in Why Women Kill Season One

TV Lists Why Women Kill
A Definitive List of All the Reasons Why Women Kill in Why Women Kill Season One

CBS All Access’ anthology series Why Women Kill has a fairly straightforward premise: Taking place over the course of three separate eras (1963, 1984, and 2019), it follows three separate women (Ginnifer Goodwin as Beth Ann, Lucy Liu as Simone, and Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Taylor, respectively) in the wake of their husbands’ infidelity. Strangely enough, every scene of the show doesn’t end with a narrator saying, “And that’s why women kill.” Due to that apparent negligence on creator Marc Cherry’s part, I knew from moment one that I had to do so for myself (and for everyone else’s benefit). Which is what brings up to this definitive list of all the possible reasons why the women of Why Women Kill kill.

Note: For the purposes of this list, some sort of structure, and tallying who had the most reason to kill, I mostly (there are a couple of exceptions) focused on the three lead women. There are plenty of reasons why Sheila (Alicia Coppola), April (Sadie Calvano), Mary (Analeigh Tipton), Naomi (Katie Finneran), and Jade (Alexandra Daddario), would also kill—especially Jade (and Alicia Coppola herself, if she’s not nominated for an Emmy) but this would have turned into chaos. Also, while there are clear motives by the end of the season as to why all three of these women killed, this list contains both that AND why these women would have a reason to kill, even if it’s not necessarily the reason why they kill. Because as it turns out, there are quite a lot of reasons why women would kill. Marc Cherry certainly had that right.

Also, Why Women Kill was renewed for a second season before its first season finale aired, which means there will be even more reasons why women kill still to come.

“Murder Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry” (Season One, Episode One)
•Every moment in the amazing opening titles that leads to a woman killing.
•Your contractor does the opposite of what you hired him to do on the remodel of your house. (Taylor)
•When you ask your contractor why he did the opposite of what you hired him to do, your contractor tells you that “it’s hard to explain”… while also calling you “sweetheart” and “sweetie,” all still ignoring what you want. (Taylor)
•Your husband Rob (Sam Jaeger) taps on his coffee mug to let you know he needs you to refill it. (Beth Ann)
•All of your friends apparently hate hearing about your perfect life, especially drunk Wanda, who doesn’t actually like you. (Simone)
•Your girlfriend Jade’s abusive ex-boyfriend Duke (Kevin McNamara) is stalking her. (Taylor)
•Your new neighbor Sheila (Alicia Coppola) is spreading gossip about your cheating husband at the supermarket. (Beth Ann)
•Rob is apparently cheating on you. (Beth Ann)
•Your loving husband Karl (Jack Davenport) is gay… and has cheated on you with many a man. (Simone)
•Your husband Eli (Reida Scott) can’t stop staring at your girlfriend and being a doofus straight man about her existence. (Taylor)
•Rob cheats on you, even “after what happened to [your] daughter.” (She died.) (Beth Ann)
•Rob has a “late” meeting with a “client.” (The client is his mistress, and the meeting is at the diner where the mistress works as a waitress.) (Beth Ann)
•You see Rob cheating on you with the waitress, April, with your own two eyes. (Beth Ann).
•Eli really likes how Jade does domestic housewife stuff (cleaning up the whole house, making breakfast and serving on the good china), which you—a lawyer and the breadwinner for the last two years—don’t do. (Taylor)
•All you do is take care of Rob, and when he dies, according to him, all you’ll be is his widow… even though you say yo “need something more.” (Beth Ann)
•All Rob cares about is that you make him “delicious dinners,” and he even says that to your face. (Beth Ann)
•Karl tries to kill himself before you can leave him penniless and in a crap shack with a divorce. (Simone)
•All your nosy neighbors watch and gossip as an ambulance comes to take Karl to the hospital. (Simone)
•Drunk Wanda reveals she was the one who left the photo of Karl with another man for you to find. (Simone)
•Rob’s mistress is actually too nice to properly confront. (Beth Ann)
•You were “in court today for 7 hours straight,” which is honestly just a long time to be in court. (Taylor)
•Eli pretends he’s letting Jade stay longer for your benefit, not his own shallow reasons. (Taylor)

“I’d Like to Kill Ya, But I Just Washed My Hair” (Season One, Episode Two)
•Rob is most likely cheating “because of the obvious: he’s bored with his wife.” (Beth Ann)
•Karl only pretended to try to kill himself, to get sympathy from you and stop that whole divorce thing. (Simone)
•Eli is clearly trying to seduce Jade and worm his way into a threesome, which is definitely stretching the boundaries of your open relationship setup. (Taylor)
•Rob doesn’t notice your makeover—a new dress, new shoes, nails done, and a new hair color—when he comes home from work at all. He just wants dinner waiting for him on the table. (Beth Ann)
•Rob reads work files at dinner, still not noticing your makeover. (Beth Ann)
•Rob doesn’t get why you’d spend that much money on a dress, because he doesn’t notice any of that and just needs you to be “the same old Beth.” Despite the aforementioned suggestion that he’s cheating on you because he’s bored of “the same old Beth.” (Beth Ann)
•Well, Rob’s boss just saw you naked, and that humiliation will live with you forever. (Beth Ann)
•Karl threatens to torpedo your entire life as a socialite if you leave him publicly, blackmailing you to maintain your “happy” marriage. (Simone)
•Your best friend Naomi has known that Karl was cheating on you for at least two years. (Simone)
•Your best friend Naomi doesn’t consider you her best friend—only “one of [hers].” (But this is also why you choose to sleep with her 18-year-old son, in addition to a reason to kill.) (Simone)
•Eli doesn’t give either you or Jade an orgasm during the threesome. Seriously. Why was this so glossed over? (Taylor)
•You have to have secret sex with Tommy (Leo Howard), Naomi’s 18-year-old-son, in a catering van… on a futon and table clothes. Yes, a “mobile sex den” instead of a fancy hotel. Because he’s an 18-year-old boy. (Simone)
•Rob slut shames you for trying to spice up your sex life. (Beth Ann)
•Rob tries to gaslight you about the obvious facts that he’s clearly pulling away from you and that he’s unhappy. (Beth Ann)
•Rob promises that things will be different and that he’ll be better… only to immediately continue to have an affair. (After going to the emergency room, no less.) (Beth Ann)
•Eli “jokingly” always introduces you to people as “my first wife.” (Taylor)
•You’ve now met Willow (Odelya Halevi) and Miesha (Kevin William Paul) (aka “Wiesha”), who had a threesome with Jade before you and Eli had a threesome with Jade. Again, they go by “Wiesha.” They are also influencers. (Taylor)
•Wiesha invite Jade to go to Venice with them. (Taylor)
•Willow (of Wiesha) tells you to calm down and calls you “mom” when you try to bring rationality into things. (Taylor)
•Rob makes up a fake project that will keep him away “til’ the wee hours.” (Beth Ann)
•Naomi says to you, “He’s 18, she’s 32. Don’t you think that’s pathetic,” not realizing you’re sleeping with her 18-year-old son. (Simone)
•You don’t think Jade is being grateful after you saved her from an abusive relationship and let her live in your house with you and Eli. (Taylor)
•You always take care of everybody. (Taylor)
•Rob didn’t like your piano playing, and told you that you weren’t “as good as [you] thought [you were],” taking the wind out of your sails when it came to your concert pianist aspirations. (Beth Ann)
•You can only stop listening to Rob when he’s dead. (Beth Ann)
•Rob conveniently can’t find the damn olives for his martini while you’re playing the tango on piano. (Beth Ann)

“I Killed Everyone He Did, But Backwards and in High Heels” (Season One, Episode Three)
•Your husband is “working late again.” (Beth Ann)
•Your husband is playing bass guitar when you’re on the phone about a deposition you’ve already been through twice. (Taylor)
•Your husband bought a bass when he already has a guitar… and hasn’t finished a script in ages. (Taylor)
•Your husband didn’t get any work done today… but you’re “gonna say nothing, be supportive.” (Taylor)
•Your husband comes clubbing with your and Jade, even though he doesn’t dance. (Taylor)
•You have to dance with your gay husband Karl, even though you’re “still furious.” (Simone)

“You Had Me at Homicide” (Season One, Episode Four)
•Tommy’s first present to you is a Swatch. A SWATCH. (Simone)
•Tommy thinks you’re boyfriend-girlfriend and then causes a scene at the diner when you make that clear it’s not the case. (Simone)
•Your daughter Amy’s (Li Jun Li) fiancé Brad (Charlie DePew) cheats on her. (Simone)
•Jade’s abusive ex-boyfriend Duke rolls up at your house and also punks out Eli. (Taylor)
•Your new best friend April doses you with pot brownies… (Beth Ann)
•… that she only even made because your husband Rob wanted to eat some pot brownies, but then bailed. (Beth Ann)
•Duke threatens to put down Teacup, Jade’s dog. (Taylor)
•Eli thinks doing crime is the “right” way to deal with Duke and helps Jade steal Teacup back. (Taylor)
•Tommy calls you “lover.” (Simone)
•Rob fesses up to doing “reefer”… and still not to the whole affair thing. (Beth Ann)

“There’s No Crying in Murder” (Season One, Episode Five)
•The whole first scene, which proves that the men in all of these women’s lives have disappointed the little girls they once were. (Beth Ann, Simone, Taylor)
•Rob tells April that you’re forcing him to take you out to dinner, essentially meaning he’s cheating on his girlfriend with his wife. (Beth Ann)
•Your mother is going to live ‘til 100 just to spite you. (Taylor)
•April is falling in love with your husband, even though she said this would just be a fling. (Beth Ann)
•Rob is planning to go to the club to see April’s first live singing performance. (Beth Ann)
•Rob loses his temper with April and tells her he will never leave you, which is really a reason why you to both conspire to kill him. (Beth Ann)
•Eli is a drug addict and half your savings went to his cocaine habit the last time he had money. (Taylor)
•None of you ever defined the parameters of the relationship of your throuple, so Eli slept with Jade while you were out of town. (Taylor)
•The men in your life make feel like the helpless little girl you once were. (Beth Ann, Simone, Taylor)

“Practically Lethal in Every Way (Season One, Episode Six)
•Because of the snitch witnesses at the beginning of this episode, supposedly. (Beth Ann, Simone, Taylor)
•Some woman interrupts you to ask about some Lichtenstein prints when you’re talking to Karl. (Simone)
•Rob didn’t realize you lugged all of your unpacked boxes to attic so he won’t see them around the house. (Beth Ann)
•Your neighbor Mary’s husband Ralph (Scott Porter) is clearly abusive. (Beth Ann)
•Your hairdresser Hector (Philip Anthony-Rodriguez) dropped you as a client without a word. (Simone)
•Brad’s parents never shut up, with their long-winded homespun stories. (Simone)
•You find out that Hector was sleeping with Karl, and that is why he dropped you as a client. (Simone)
•Eli’s agent Lamar (Kevin Daniels) calls Jade Eli’s muse. (Taylor)
•Eli let Jade read his script before it was finished… which he never lets you do. (Taylor)
•Rob is a coward who won’t step in and stop Ralph from abusing Mary—in your own home—simply because Ralph knows he’s cheating on you. (Beth Ann)
•Brad’s parents judge you for not treating your husband nicer, not knowing he’s secretly gay. (Simone)
•Your husband says you’re not “the perfect mother,” when you have a dead daughter. (Beth Ann)

“I Found Out What the Secret to Murder Is: Friends. Best Friends.” (Season One, Episode Seven)
•Rob knocked up April. (Beth Ann)
•Eli is so high that he almost gets into a car accident with you and Jade in the car. (Taylor)
•Rob apparently shut down adopting before because it wouldn’t be his biological child. (Beth Ann)
•Jade chooses Eli over you after Eli refuses to go to rehab, and you end up moving to a hotel. (Taylor)

“Marriages Don’t Break Up on Account of Murder – It’s Just a Symptom That Something Else Is Wrong” (Season One, Episode Eight)
•Jade goes back on her word to help you get Eli drug help, because she’s getting stuff out of this (and is also the reason he relapsed). (Taylor)
•Jade is clearly using high-out-of-his-mind Eli, refusing to leave your house and keeping the car Eli bought her. (Taylor)
•Jade snitches on you and your plan to get all of Eli’s passwords to his accounts—to keep Eli from blowing all his money—and to call his dad. (Taylor)
•Jade convinces Eli to change the locks. (Though that doesn’t end up happening, due to all the insanity.) (Taylor)
•Shiela calls you out for being “sick” and wanting to take April’s baby. (Beth Ann)
•Naomi calls calls gay people “those people,” after finding out about Karl. (Simone)
•You realize that you definitely brought a woman you barely know into your home and marriage. (Taylor)
•Rob proposes to April because he thinks his marriage is ending in six months, due to your fake cancer plan. (Beth Ann)
•Her name’s not really Jade and she’s committed arson before. She’s also killed at least two people and will kill again. (Taylor)

“I Was Just Wondering What Makes Dames Like You So Deadly” (Season One, Episode Nine)
•This unhinged episode-opening voiceover from your dead daughter: “She’s not happy. But daddy doesn’t know. Because she keeps smiling. Momma is very angry with him. And I have a feeling that she’s gonna do something awful.” (Beth Ann)
•Somebody (it was Naomi) has sabotaged you all around town (because you’re sleeping with Tommy). (Simone)
•You see that Ralph gave Mary a black eye. (Beth Ann)
•Naomi shows up at your house and destroys every gift you ever gave her, because you’re sleeping with Tommy. She claims you “seduced” her son. (Simone)
•Ralph like to threaten Mary “with a loaded gun he keeps in his bedroom drawer.” (Beth Ann)
•Jade (real name Irene) went into Eli’s phone and blocked your number. (Taylor)
•Drugged up Eli claims that you’re “the only one with a problem.” (Taylor)
•You realize that Rob was cheating on you even BEFORE your daughter died. And that his mistress must’ve unlocked the gate at your old house when she snuck out, because you did lock it. So you weren’t responsible for your daughter’s death. (Beth Ann)
•Naomi tells everyone you know that Karl has AIDS. (Simone)
•Amy chooses “cowardly bigots” over the man who raised her being at her wedding. (Simone)
•Someone grafittis “DIE AIDS FAGGOT” on your house and no one will help you when Karl collapses on your lawn. (Simone)
•Rob spends his lunch break at April’s apartment and you learn his secretary knows about the affair. And all the affairs, “For years, with all sorts of women.” (Beth Ann)
•Rob’s secretary confesses to being one of the women. Then confesses to being the woman that day your daughter died. And then reveals that Rob knew it was her who left the gate open. (Beth Ann)
•That “Tainted Love” music cue actually kicks in as Duke and Jade are fighting to the death. (Me)

“Kill Me as if It Were the Last Time” (Season One, Episode Ten)
•In a flashback, Rob tells you to stop talking about your dead daughter, because it’s been “over a year” and you “need a fresh start.” (Beth Ann)
•In a flashback, Rob promises to spend every day “trying to put the smile back on your face” if you agree to buy the mansion in Pasadena. He did not live up to that promise. (Beth Ann)
•In a flashback, you only even moved into your house because you wanted to be close to Naomi. Now she’s trying to run you over because Tommy got your face tattooed on his butt. (Simone)
•In a flashback, it’s clear Eli only wanted to buy this house because he was high as hell. (Taylor)
•Because while God won’t understand, “God’s wife will.” (This is actually true, if you’ve ever seen Lucifer). (Beth Ann)
•The art gallery folded after Karl’s secret and sickness came out, so you lost your health insurance, and now you have to sell your personal pieces to pay the mortgage. (Simone)
•Sheila rats you out completely to April. (Beth Ann)
•Jade returns to your home and pretends nothing ever happened, (Taylor)
•Jade attempts to extort you ($10,000) to get her to leave for good. (Taylor)
•Rob is disappointed you ordered Chinese takeout, instead of making MEATLOAF. (Beth Ann)
•Rob continues to try to gaslight you about the gate, and then he tries to avoid talking about it, refusing to tell you the truth when you give him one last opening, making “this all so much easier.” (Beth Ann)
•I mean, Ralph is filmed at dutch angles, so… he had it coming. (Beth Ann)
•Ralph is the kind of guy who yells, “Bring me a beer! And I want it in a mug this time!” when he gets home. (Beth Ann)
•Rob, who didn’t even want Chinese food, complains about the Chinese food not being there. (Beth Ann)
•April shows up at your door, right as you’re in the middle of your murder plan, asking for an explanation. (Beth Ann)
•Rob gets upset you don’t really have cancer. (Beth Ann)
•Duh—self-defense. (Taylor)
•Karl wants to die in peace instead of at the end of a long fight with AIDS, and you don’t want to see him as sick as his friend, “connected to tube, wasting away.” And he can’t do it by himself. (Simone)

Tallying it all up, at the end of of Why Women Kill’s first season, Beth Ann had 57 reasons to kill, Taylor had 44 reasons, and Simone had 33 reasons. While Simone very clearly had the most shallow reasons to kill to begin the season, she ended up having the most altruistic one in the end. (Both versions of Simone deserve an Emmy nomination for Lucy Liu though.)

If you were to guess at the beginning of the season who would have the most reasons to kill—and I did—Beth Ann would obviously win by a landslide (the coffee mug-tapping alone!), as she did here. But as the series has proven, especially in the final scene, the reason why women kill—at least here—are apparently clear: This Pasadena house in which this is set is a murder house, and Marc Cherry pulled a stealth Ryan Murphy.

The full first season of Why Women Kill is available to stream on CBS All Access.

Despite her mother’s wishes, LaToya Ferguson is a writer living in Los Angeles. If you want to talk The WB’s image campaigns circa 1999-2003, LaToya’s your girl. Her writing has been featured in The A.V. Club, Indiewire, Entertainment Weekly, Complex, Consequence of Sound, and Flavorwire, among other publications. You can find her tweets about TV shows, movies, and music you completely forgot about @lafergs;.

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