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Dangerous Secret
Season 4, Episode 8
Claire ferguson
Production Information

Jeff McCracken


Jeffrey C. Sherman


November 8, 1996

Episode Chronology

Singled Out


Sixteen Candles and 400-Pound Men


When Cory goes to Shawn's trailer to comfort his sick buddy, he's surprised to see Claire Ferguson, a classmate, there with him. Shawn says he cannot explain the situation, but he swears Cory to secrecy. The following day at Chubbie's, Cory pries a bit more about why Claire was there, thinking she and Shawn slept together. Shawn promises Cory that it's nothing, and tells Cory to trust him. Cory stops asking, but goes home with a plan. Wanting to get farther like Shawn, he sets up many candles and romantic music to seduce Topanga at their date that night. As soon as Topanga figures out what Cory's doing, though, she becomes angry. Cory, realizing his error, kicks himself out of his own house.

The next day at school, Mr. Feeny asks Cory how he can help the situation. After Cory asks for good advice, Feeny suggests he keeps the lines to communication open. Cory tries, but Topanga says she cannot talk to him and walks away. Cory immediately turns to blame Shawn, who is quite confused, but as soon as Cory mentions that he told Topanga that Shawn was with a girl, Shawn becomes furious and storms off. That night, Alan and Amy quickly realize something is amiss when Cory has no plans, and they send Eric to talk to him. Eric knows Cory's problem, and uses a personal story about his friend Mitchell Davis for advice: "Sex is like a bike without training wheels: you do it before you're ready, you fall and break your head."

As soon as Eric leaves, Shawn enters and asks if Claire can spend the night at Cory's house, because Shawn's parents have gotten home from a trip. Cory demands to know why Claire needs to spend the night at his house, and Shawn reveals the truth. Claire's father hits her and, because he's a successful bank owner, Shawn can't tell the police because they'll never believe him. Cory says they should call the cops, but Shawn refuses. Cory agrees to keep Claire for the night. That evening, Claire shows up after Cory's parents go to bed. She likes his house, noting that it feels like a happy place. When he sees a bruise on her arm, Cory suggests that they should tell the cops, but Claire diverts his attention by asking for some milk. When he comes back, she's asleep.

The next day at school, Shawn is pleased that their plan worked and asks if they can do it again that night. Cory says it isn't a good idea because they can't do it forever and asks Shawn if he saw what "that jerk" did to her arm. They move into a classroom, and Cory says that eventually they won't be able to protect Claire. Claire shows up, and says if they call the police, she'll deny it. That night, though, Claire shows up with a bruised face. Cory still wants to call the police, but Claire doesn't want him to. She tells him she'll graduate in one year and until then she'll just stay out of her dad's way. Shawn points out she hasn't done a good job of that so far and that she doesn't deserve this. They put Claire on a bus to Vermont. As Shawn and Cory sneak back to Cory's house, Cory's parents flick on the lights and ask what's going on. Cornered, the boys are forced to spill the beans. They say they sent Claire on a train to stay with her aunt in Vermont, but Alan says that won't stop her father from retrieving her. He says only the police can stop him, and Shawn agrees to tell the cops. Alan and Amy drive him to the station.

Days later, Cory and Topanga have patched things up and are looking at photos that Claire had sent them. According to Cory, Claire is very happy in Vermont with her aunt. Her father is in counseling and a rehab center, and they hope the two can see each other some day. Then, they discuss how they're happy with how things are in their relationship. They don't want to grow up too fast, like Claire did, even if it means sticking with just kissing.


  • Attached to the end of the episode is a clip of Ben Savage, Danielle Fishel, and Rider Strong delivering a public service announcement about reporting abuse. It was replaced in syndication with an announcement for The National Child Abuse Hotline delivered by Rider Strong.
  • Cory mentions Shawn blowing up a mailbox with a cherry bomb as well as him stealing Turner's bike, a callback to season 1's "The Fugitive" and season 3's "I Never Sang for My Legal Guardian".
  • Ariana Richards, who plays Claire Ferguson in this episode, played Lex Murphy in Jurassic Park. However, Cory mentioned the movie in season 3's "Life Lessons", meaning that the movie exists in the BMW universe.
  • This episode is rated TV-PG-D during TeenNick airings.
  • Eric's story about Mitchell Davis repeating the 6th grade 11 times is mathematically impossible as 11 years ago Eric would've been 7 and 6th graders tend to be 11-12