Castle Wiki
Cynthia Dern
Wikia Castle - Cynthia Dern.png
Cynthia Dern a.k.a. Allison Goldman


Allison Goldman






Michael Goldman (husband)

Cause of Death

Drowned in motor oil in bathtub

Murder Victim in


Cynthia Dern was the real identity of the woman who, for 20 years, played the role of housewife and soccer mom Allison Goldman.

Bombing Gone Wrong

Cynthia had been an eco-terrorist. Following the Exxon Valdez oil spill, she had plotted with Susan Mailer and Jared Swanstrom to place a bomb on an oil tanker. Swanstrom built the bomb, and Mailer and Dern intended to plant the bomb when no one was aboard.

However, the ship's Captain, Sam Pike, had somehow gotten aboard without them seeing. The bomb was already set, and Mailer wanted to go back and defuse it. Dern wanted the bomb to go off as planned. The two argued, and then Mailer ran back while Dern made her escape. Before Mailer could get to the bomb, it exploded, crippling the captain and killing Mailer.

Cynthia told Swanstrom that he'd made a mistake with the bomb and it had gone off too early. Cynthia wanted to run, but, wracked with guilt over causing Susan Mailer's death, Jared had a breakdown.

So Cynthia left, tipping off the FBI to his location to save herself. Dern went into hiding, assumed the identity and social insurance number of Allison Porter, a three-month old baby that died in 1963, married Michael Goldman, and eventually became a suburban housewife.

Cynthia's Book

Twenty years later, facing financial troubles, Dern decided to go public. Dern worked with ghost writer Lee Wax, who paid her a few hundred dollars a week for her story, plus a potential jackpot if the story became a best-seller. Not only that, Dern hoped to use the book to influence potential jurors to take her side, if she was brought to trial.

In her version, Cynthia painted herself as the hero and depicted Susan as the villainess. Cynthia claimed that she was the one who wanted to save Captain Pike, while the "villainous" Susan set the bomb anyway, ironically dying in the explosion. Dern hoped that the story would get her an acquittal, clear her name, and make her millions from the book royalties.

However, Wax was privately skeptical of Cynthia's story, which seemed self-serving. She was also straitjacketed by the terms of her ghost-writing contract, which gave Dern full rights over the content of the book, and prevented Wax from telling any version of the story other than Cynthia's. Dern even insisted that Wax not contact anyone from Cynthia's past until the book was out. Despite this 'rule', Wax discreetly made contact with Cynthia's former associates anyway, defending it as the need to check her sources. Wax made sure to let them realize that she was in contact with Cynthia without ever explicitly saying so, figuring that if Cynthia was arrested, that Wax would be freed from her contract and in a position to write the book her own way.

Murder Plot

Susan Mailer, who had actually survived the bomb, discovered Wax's book through an environmental group's website, and realized that Dern was preparing to put all the blame on her. She contacted Dern, threatening to turn herself into the authorities and go public with the real story, so Dern devised a plan to silence her, inviting Mailer to a seedy hotel room for a meeting.

Drugging Mailer's wine, Dern would drown her in motor oil once she was unconscious and make it look like a suicide. The sensational death would confirm Cynthia's version of the story, and spark public interest just in time for Dern's book release.

However, things didn't go as planned. Susan Mailer didn't drink, and she became suspicious when Dern insisted on toasting to old times. Cynthia kept her from leaving, and Mailer hid in the bathroom, where she discovered the motor oil already prepared and realized Cynthia's plan.

The two struggled, and Dern was knocked unconscious. Mailer, wanting to stay in hiding, drowned Cynthia Dern in the motor oil instead.