|“||No, you're not just a little tired, mom. I think something's going on with you.||”|
— Toby to Marion
She died on October 24, 2000.
She first appeared during a flashback in the first episode of Season 4. It was initially believed that her death was a suicide, but in Season 4, Toby and Spencer discover that Radley falsely claimed that to protect another patient who was with her. Currently it is accepted by Marion's family that her death was an accident, but there is evidence suggesting there is still more to the story. During Toby's visit with Dr. Palmer about his mother, Dr. Palmer reminds Toby for his mother to stay away from 'that blonde girl', stating there's something wrong with the air around her. She was killed by Bethany Young, who then later blamed it on Charles/CeCe, because she knew that nobody would believe the boy in the dress. Jessica DiLaurentis later bribed Detective Wilden to rule her death as a suicide, to keep Charlotte safe.
Spencer defaces Marion Cavanaugh's crypt by carving Toby's name on it after she learns he is a real member of the A-team.
Marion makes an appearance in Toby's flashback. Toby is at his home with Alison and is about to kiss her when Marion walks into his bedroom, surprised to see him home from school already. He realizes she just woke up and tells her that it's four o'clock. Marion claims she was just tired when Toby asks if she's all right. He tells her he thinks something is going on, but Marion dismisses his concern and leaves to make him a snack. Toby tells Ali he's worried about his mom, but Ali responds only with a disgusted-sounding, "Yeah, lazy much?" Toby immediately tells her to leave, much to her surprise.
Toby reveals to Spencer that his mom killed herself, by stealing a key and jumping out a window at Radley. The details of her death, and the day leading up to it, are documented in a report written by her therapist at Radley. According to the file, Marion felt that the brightest spots in her life were Toby, the time they shared when he visited her, and his kind and loving patience as she struggled to get well. She also discussed her intentions to repay everyone who had supported her through her difficult time. Toby believes this report contradicts the conclusion that Marion's death was suicide, as they have been led to believe. Toby hopes that the new evidence A has given him will provide them with answers.
Spencer and Toby sneak into Radley and find the window Marion supposedly jumped from. Spencer notices a wide ledge encircling the building that would have prevented Marion from falling to the ground. Spencer thinks she must have jumped from somewhere else, on a higher floor.
Toby decides to visit Dr. Louis Palmer, who treated Marion at Radley. He goes to a medical clinic outside Saratoga, NY, to question him about her supposed suicide. Dr. Palmer reveals that he, too, experienced denial over her suicide verdict. Dr. Palmer tells Toby that Marion loved him very much, but the “air was too heavy” for her and that she just couldn’t take it. He then reveals that he studies the heaviness of air, and Toby realizes that Dr. Palmer has some form of dementia and is now a patient at this hospital. As Toby leaves, Dr. Palmer tells him to tell Marion to "stay away from that blonde girl,” and he comments, "There's something wrong with the air around that one."
Spencer finds Wilden's notes on Marion's death in one of her mother's boxes of evidence, and she hides it in a cookie box and goes to Radley to visit Eddie Lamb. Spencer asks Eddie about the night Marion died, when he talked to the police. She reads the statements made in the report, and tells him that Darren Wilden wrote that Marion Cavanaugh's body was found to have fallen from the roof, while the official reports say she was found below the window. Eddie says it makes no difference, but Spencer thinks Wilden was lying for a reason and may have been paid off to cover someone or something. Eddies implies that there was a reason he was promoted to detective so quickly.
Toby receives the sheet music for a song called "Any Time" with a note from A that says, "Leave The Lamb alone and go for The lion. Kisses, -A," which Spencer interprets as instructions to talk to Dr. Palmer more instead of Eddie Lamb. Toby tells her that Marion used to play the song on the piano all the time. Spencer and Toby go to Saratoga to visit Dr. Palmer. He doesn't recognize the sheet music until Spencer begins to play it on the piano, which causes him to mistake Spencer for Marion. He begins talking to her as if it were one of his normal sessions with Marion, asking about Toby and suggesting he would love to hear that she's "enjoying her music again." Spencer plays along with Dr. Palmer and asks him about the blonde girl he'd warned her to stay away from. Visiting hours end just as he seems to realize who Spencer is referring to, so she quickly asks if the blonde girl is CeCe Drake. He does not respond to her, but it triggers him to tell the orderly to "please show Mrs. DiLaurentis to my office?"
Toby starts his truck and finds that A has put a CD with recordings of Marion singing. A note written on the CD says, "There's more where this came from. -A," and there is a label showing it is from one of Dr. Palmer's sessions with Marion at Radley. Toby is eager to go talk to Dr. Palmer again and find more recordings, but Spencer is beginning to worry that A's clues are a trap and tells him he shouldn't accept anymore of A's "gifts." A's next message for Toby is an image of a car, supposedly Dr. Palmer's old one, and an address. Toby follow's A's instructions, thinking the recordings will be in the car. As Spencer warned him, the police arrive when he starts trying to break in, but he manages to run away.
Toby arrives home from a trip he took to do more research on Marion. He shows Spencer a list of people from a visitors’ log who may have known about Wilden paying off Radley and Marion’s non-suicide. Toby says that he was able to reach most of the people from the list, and they wanted to talk but were afraid of getting into trouble. It is revealed that Radley is owned by Declodyne, a healthcare company, and it is believed that they covered up Marion’s accident. Toby's main interest is getting the company to admit Marion's death wasn't a suicide, so Spencer and Toby visit Declodyne’s headquarters the next day and speak to Mrs. Mainway, the head of the company, and she gives in to their demands when Spencer threatens to spread the news about Radley online. At Spencer's house that night, Toby and Spencer look over the document stating that Marion’s accident was not a suicide. Toby tells Peter Hastings about it when he gets home, and he believes they could take the issue a step further and have Radley shut down.
Peter tells Spencer that he cancelled his meeting with Toby because Radley informed him that Marion’s death was an accident, not a murder. Apparently Marion did accidentally fall from the roof, but there was another patient on the roof with her, so Radley covered it up to protect the fragile patient’s identity.
Peter tells Toby there's not enough evidence to shut down Radley forever, so Radley wants him to sign settlement papers for the cover-up involved in Marion's death. Peter hands Toby the papers for the settlement telling him he needs Toby and his father's signatures for the settlement to got through. Spencer looks over the agreement and sees that if Toby does sign the papers, he can never talk about what happened to Marion at Radley again, or else he will have to give back all the settlement money from Radley. Spencer warns Toby he needs to be absolutely sure of everything before signing the papers. When she gets home she notices Peter's briefcase and decides to look through it. She sees a file on Marion Cavanaugh. She sees on another file that Jessica DiLaurentis is on the Radley Board. She gets upset and tries to stop Toby, but he tells her it's too late and he already signed the agreement. Toby says he believes Marion died by accident, and he refuses to continue the investigation any further, even though Spencer is convinced there is more to the story of Marion's death.
Bethany Young drew a picture of a woman falling off a building. Spencer and Aria believe it's Marion and that Bethany knew something about the incident.
Bethany would remark that Marion was a "goody two shoes" after she enters on the roof and would have to distract Marion from finding Charles dressed as a girl. She and Bethany would have an unknown conversation that would lead to Bethany pushing her off of the roof, while Charles hides.
Bethany blamed it on Charles and everyone believed it. Jessica DiLaurentis asked Darren Wilden to cover up the story and say it was a suicide.
Spencer reads Marion Cavanaugh's obituary in the Rosewood Observer online in "Turn of the Shoe." It reads:
The passing of Marion Cavanaugh is a great loss for many in Rosewood. She left us too soon, off to some new adventures, something the rest of us could not see. Although she was not a rich woman, not famous... She was Mom and Friend and Marion. She was a kind soul and a bright spirit. She will be surely missed.
A life long resident of Rosewood, Pennsylvania, Marion Cavanaugh was beloved by many. Having grown up in the small community, she had forged a lifetime of friends and touched many lives.
After attending Rosewood High, Marion went on to Nursing School at Hollis College and graduated as an LVN. She soon took a full-time job working for local Pediatrician, Dr. Laura Sylvester. Marion loved her work and would regularly express how fortunate she felt to have found a job where she could help children become the healthy, successful people they would become.
In her private time, Marion loved the outdoors. Hiking and camping were passions of hers in her younger years and even when the pressures of live prevented the exclusive trips she never took, she would make a point to get into the local wilderness as much as possible. Bird-watching became a hobby and she would spend hours cataloging her sightings.Marion is survived by her husband, Daniel, and son, Toby.
Season 4 (1/24)
Season 6 (1/20)