A gunshot rings out. A man slumps forward and falls face-first into the sand. Guests at a huge party at nearby Grayson Manor enjoy the fireworks fill the sky of this Labor Day weekend night. It's an engagement bash for Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp) and Daniel Grayson (Josh Bowman). The only problem is the prospective groom is nowhere to be found.
Daniel's disappearance does not please his mother, Victoria Grayson (Madeleine Stowe), the reigning queen of the Hampton social scene. Her daughter, Charlotte (Christa Allen) and Declan Porter (Connor Paolo) head down to the beach to do a little skinny dipping. Moments before they arrived, Declan's brother, Jack Porter (Nick Wechsler), pulled Daniel's body from the clawing surf. A cell phone call from Emily to her missing fiance causes Jack to flee. It also brings to light the fact that someone has shot Daniel Grayson.
We jump back five months to when Emily first rents a house belonging to Lydia Davis. As she caresses the two intertwined infinity signs carved on the porch, we see through flashbacks that Emily has been here before as a little girl with her dad. In the past, however, Emily was known as Amanda.
Jack Porter (Nick Wechsler) is a blue-collar son of a dock worker who's spent his entire adult life helping his father manage the Stowaway Tavern. He also owns a boat he named "Amanda." A local social misfit/rich tech genius named Nolan Ross (Gabriel Mann) wants to buy it, but Jack can't wait to sail away from his current life. Unfortunately, his dad's financial woes force him to put those plans on hold and sell his boat to Nolan.
Emily purchases an invitation to Victoria Grayson's high-end Memorial Day party through her party-planning friend, Ashley Davenport (Ashley Madekwe). She later meets her landlord, Lydia Davis, on the beach. Lydia actually used to work for Emily's father. She testified against him in the trial that sent him to prison. Emily's dad, David Clarke, worked for Conrad Grayson (Henry Czerny), the CEO of Grayson Global.
David Clarke was accused of channeling money to terrorists who downed a plane killing everyone onboard. Emily was just a little girl when they came to take her dad away. The one face she remembers seeing clearly that night is the woman he loved. It's the same woman who framed and betrayed him: Victoria Grayson.
Conrad Grayson is having an affair with Lydia Davis. Emily just happens to be at the South Fork Inn where they are in the middle of a little liaison. Conrad collapses after clutching his heart. He's rushed into an ambulance as Emily rushes up to Lydia to say that she hopes her husband is okay. It's all an act, as Emily is the one who caused Conrad's attack. She swiped a worker's uniform and slipped something nasty into his soup.
Later, a dog named Sammy comes running up to Emily. It's almost as if the old dog knows her. That's because he does. Sammy was Emily's dog many years ago. Now he belongs to Jack Porter, who doesn't recognize the girl he used to play with on the beach.
Victoria learns that her husband is going to be okay after his recent health scare. She also suspects that Conrad was having an affair once she sees the robe from the South Fork Inn on his hospital bed. Later, at the big fundraiser, Emily makes sure to mention that she saw Lydia at the South Fork Inn in front of Victoria. Now the Queen of the Hamptons knows her hubby was sleeping with her closest friend. Uh oh.
Victoria announces before the fundraising patrons that her dear friend Lydia is the winner of the auction of her treasured Van Gogh. It happens to be the same painting Lydia had given to her friend in the past. This move was Victoria's way of letting Lydia know that her life in the Hamptons is over. Why? Because Victoria also announces that Lydia's beach house just went on the market.
Emily gets chummy with Daniel Grayson, who confirms her belief that getting on his mother's bad side is not a wise move. Nolan Ross, however, immediately gets on Emily's bad side when he saunters into her home calling her Amanda. He knows her because her dad invested in him before he became super rich.
Emily owns 49 percent of Nolan's company. Nolan gives her a special memory box that provides the truth behind the evil things others have said her father did. He asks her to forgive those who have done them both so wrong. Emily has something else in mind. She says, "My father died an innocent man. Betrayed by the woman he loved. When everything you love has been stolen from you, sometimes all you have left is revenge."