1967 / 1949


Alexandra Moltke
(as Victoria Winters)


Joe Caldwell


John Sedwick


July 10, 1967


June 23, 1967


Complete: Disc 31
Collection 2: Disc 3

We have 3 images of Dark Shadows 271

Elizabeth, having confessed to the murder of Paul Stoddard on her wedding day to Jason, recounts the story for everyone.

Synopsis Edit


My name is Victoria Winters. Like a flash of lightning in a sudden summer storm, the truth is about to strike with its fiery force into the confines of Collinwood, shattering the uneasy calm that precedes it and sending its thunders to shake the foundations of the ancient house. And only time will tell whether this frightful glare has come to illuminate, or to destroy.

The wedding is ready to start, everyone lines up on Elizabeth's half of the room except Carolyn, who has a clear shot at Jason. The judge begins and Elizabeth becomes confused when it is her turn to answer, then pulls her hand away from Jason's hand and yells "No, I can't!" When the judge asks her what she wants to say she faces the wedding party and confesses to killing Paul Stoddard with Jason's help. Everyone is shocked, most of all Carolyn, who drops the clutch with the gun in it.

Act I

Jason tries to get Elizabeth to calm down and shut up, insisting it is the stress that has made her confess. Burke tells Jason to let her talk. The judge says he needs to leave in case he is asked later to participate in a legal case because of Elizabeth's confession, and Roger insists that they call Garner before she says anything else, but Jason insists she needs a doctor. Elizabeth says she needs to tell the truth finally, particularly for Carolyn, who is still standing in shock to the side. The judge finally leaves and when Jason tells everyone they need to be calm, Carolyn tells of her plan to shoot Jason before she let her mother marry him. Burke picks the gun up from the floor. Roger tells Jason he is lucky to be alive and Victoria convinces Elizabeth to tell the whole story from the beginning. Carolyn is still in shock and Elizabeth starts to explain why she killed Carolyn's father, but gets confused. Roger wants Liz and Carolyn to go to the study with him, but Elizabeth wants to tell everyone in front of Jason and says Vicki already knew. Roger is infuriated, but Elizabeth says she swore Vicki to secrecy and would have just denied it and sent her away. Jason tries to leave, but Burke uses the gun to persuade him to stay. Elizabeth begins her story...

Flashback, 1949, Collinwood drawing room It is storming outside and Paul Stoddard is drinking in front of the fireplace...

Act II


1949: Elizabeth confronts Paul over the Collins Family money he's stolen.

(Flashback continues) Elizabeth sits on the sofa and tells Paul she knows that in his suitcase are stocks, bonds, and jewelry worth a fortune... everything that was in the safe. She tells him she doesn't care if he leaves, but the suitcase has to stay. He says she should consider it to be their settlement, but she says it doesn't belong to him, that it belongs to Carolyn also. He tells her he has to go because he has an appointment and she tells him she knows all about Jason, who will sell the bonds and jewels. Elizabeth threatens to call the police, but Paul says she would never risk a scandal and would prove nothing. He takes the suitcase and starts to walk away and Elizabeth grabs a fire poker. He tells her that she looks ridiculous and orders her to put the poker down, but she stands her ground. He goes to leave and when his back is turned she rushes up and hits him over the head, dropping the poker as she does. She leans over Paul, but does not touch him, then stands up and says weakly "Help me, somebody help me".


(Flashback continues) Elizabeth leaves the room, closing the doors behind her when Jason McGuire shows up. Elizabeth asks him to call a doctor and says she didn't mean to do it, but he was leaving. Jason tries to mutter something and she tells him not to say he didn't know. Jason goes into the drawing room to investigate, insisting Elizabeth stay in the foyer and not tell anyone while he checks Paul. A few moments later Jason comes back and tells Elizabeth Paul is dead, but keeps her out of the drawing room. Elizabeth tells Jason to call the police, but he has a different idea saying no one need find out and Elizabeth should think of Carolyn, who has just lost her father, there is no sense in her losing her mother too. Since everyone in town knows Paul was planning to leave, he can get rid of the body... for Carolyn's sake, of course. Elizabeth begs him to do it.

Act IV

(Flashback continues) Elizabeth stands in the foyer, recalling that she told Jason where he could find an old trunk and a room in the basement. Jason buried Paul in the basement and poured ink over the bloodstain so that Elizabeth could have the carpet removed. She would later have Matthew burn it 2 weeks later. Jason tells her she must come see the room before it is locked, and that once locked, no one is to ever go down there. Jason forces her to go into the room and look at the spot and tells her she can just say he ran off. They leave and he hands her the key.

Memorable quotes Edit

Elizabeth: I killed Paul Stoddard. And that man (pointing to Jason McGuire) was my accomplice!

Roger: Liz did you a favor. If she hadn't stopped the wedding you'd probably be dead now.
Jason: But I haven't done anything wrong!
Elizabeth: Wrong? You said you were going to help me, and you buried him, and then came back to blackmail me.

Elizabeth: I looked at the key that I held in my hand and I knew that from then on, I was a prisoner of Collinwood, forever.

Dramatis personae Edit

Background information and notes Edit

Production Edit

  • House Jameson is simply credited as "Judge".
  • First appearance of Paul Stoddard. This is the only episode where he is played by Joel Fabiani. He will be played later in the series (888) by Dennis Patrick, who is seen in this episode playing Paul's friend Jason.
  • In Act I, Elizabeth starts telling her story "live", but soon after the camera is off of her, the narrative switches to a pre-recorded voiceover, and the camera rests on the windows of the drawing room, to give the cast time to leave the set before the camera pans over to Paul at the fireplace.
  • Paul's face is never seen, which may mean the producers, knowing that the character wasn't really dead, thought there could be future stories to tell involving Paul, and they did not want to limit themselves as far as how Paul looked.
  • This episode evidently ran short, as it concludes with a very slow credit sequence. The theme music comes to an end while the credits are still rolling, resulting in almost a half minute of creepy silence before Bob Lloyd's closing announcement.
  • When MPI Home Video first released the series on VHS in 1989, this was the first episode released in its entirety on "Volume 9". MPI had decided to release their first 8 tapes with only those scenes of the last 60 episodes (210 through 270) that contained Jonathan Frid as Barnabas. Any episodes during that time that he did not appear in were left out. Starting with this tape, they released 5 complete episodes per tape except for the last one (Volume 200) which contained only 4. In 1995, MPI began a second series of 54 VHS tapes called "The Collectors Series" which contained 5 complete episodes per tape from episode 1 through 270 (this time releasing complete copies of the previously reedited episodes 210 through 270). Since the last Collectors Series tape (#54) was only to contain 2 unreleased episodes, MPI filled in the tape with 3 previously released episodes only this time they included ABC's original commercials with them.

Story Edit

  • Legally, Judge Crathorne did not have to leave. As he had already heard Elizabeth's confession and her accusation against Jason, if this had gone to trial, the defense lawyers would undoubtedly request he recuse himself, a request he would have to grant. He most likely left Collinwood because even though he heard the confession and accusation, there was, as of yet, no evidence of a crime. If he had stuck around, he may have thought such evidence might present itself, and at that point, as an officer of the court, he would be legally required to call the police despite his friendship with Elizabeth.
  • FLASHBACK: Elizabeth remembers Paul's death, 18 years ago.
    • Paul speaks of having to put up with Carolyn for the last 2 years. Previously Carolyn's birth had been established as being 6 months after Paul "left", and then later Elizabeth told Carolyn she despised the way Paul ignored his daughter, so that pushed her birth up before this event, but not by any known amount. The family Bible says that Carolyn was born July 16, 1946 which would be almost 21 years previously when Elizabeth had been 29 years old, Elizabeth was born February 28, 1917 according to the same document.
    • In Shadows on the Wall, the series' bible, it was originally planned to be at this point where Victoria would have learned the truth of her heritage. During the 1949 flashback sequence, Paul would have cruelly informed Elizabeth of his affair with another woman, possibly that of Betty Hanscombe, which produced Victoria. It should also be noted that the Jason McGuire blackmail storyline was originally envisaged to follow the Burke Devlin manslaughter storyline which was to have concluded 13 weeks into the series run with the death of the culprit Roger.

Bloopers and continuity errors Edit

  • When the camera first pans to Paul at the fireplace, you can see some of the wedding flowers on the right of the screen. The camera pans up for a minute, and when it pans back down, the flowers are gone.
  • When Elizabeth, holding the poker, confronts Paul, Joan Bennett flubs, "I can't take you... let you take what rightfully belongs to Carolyn."
  • When Jason and Elizabeth leave the storage room, there's dirt strewn everywhere and a shovel is left in plain view... so much for hiding the body.

External links Edit

Dark Shadows - Episode 271 on the IMDb

Dark Shadows Everyday - Episode 271 - I Killed Paul Stoddard

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