Remembering Abby Morgan, The Mean Girl Of Dawson’s Creek

15 years ago this week, Capeside's resident queen of mean fell off a pier and died. RIP.

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15 years ago this week, a tragedy occurred that rocked the small town of Capeside to its very core, and left Dawson’s Creek fans utterly confused and bereft:  Abby Morgan took a plunge from a dock, and met with her untimely death in the icy water below.

Abby was many things. She was the snarkiest high schooler ever to pull off an ensemble entirely made of feathers. She was an outcast, a rebel. She was a lesson about the dangers of underage drinking and the importance of maritime safety.

Most importantly, though, Abby was the best.

The devil wears plaid.

The devil wears plaid.

Much as we all loved Dawson’s Creek – and if you didn’t love Dawson’s Creek, we’re going to have a big problem here – the show could get a bit sappy. Amid the heartfelt speeches, big life lessons and gratuitous displays of teen angst, Monica Keena’s Abby was a ray of snarky sunshine.

Her first appearance was in ‘Detention’, the Season 1 episode that riffed on ‘80s classic The Breakfast Club. Stuck in the library on a Saturday with nothing better to do, she initiated a game of truth or dare with Dawson and his goody-goody friends, throwing a hand grenade into their little group just to watch it explode.

For the next year, Abby found various fun ways to terrorise the students of Capeside High. She always had a forged doctor’s note, a contraband bottle of liquor, and an evil gleam in her eye. She made a documentary about her classmates’ sexy secrets, told the whole school about Andie’s unfortunate family sityation, and coaxed a newly-sober Jen back into her old life of drinking and partying.


That’s not to mention all the times she hit on men at the docks, bribed boys by offering to let them touch her ‘bad place’, threatened teachers in the cafeteria, and spied on people with binoculars. She was right up there with The OC‘s scheming Oliver Trask in the alltime greatest teen villain stakes. She was Gossip Girl‘s Georgina Sparks and all the Pretty Little Liars rolled into one.

And then it was April 28, 1999: a date forever etched onto the minds of Dawson’s devotees. On that fateful night, Abby and Jen got wicked drunk, crashed a fancy wedding, then went to the dock for a deep and meaningful discussion about their fear of becoming cookie cutter suburban clichés. 

Abby Morgan Wedding

Abby and Jen, wedding crashers.

Yes, in their idyllic, pre-9/11 world, a comfortable life in the suburbs was literally the worst future either one could imagine.

“I don’t think I’ll ever be happy,” said Abby, before taking a swig of champagne, hitting her head on a pole and plunging to her death.

(If you don’t have a job, watch the whole thing. Otherwise skip to 37:14.)

There ended Abby’s young life. She was too mean and misunderstood for this callous world.

Surprisingly, Monica Keena herself was the driving force behind Abby’s demise. Though Dawson’s Creek was a huge hit at the time, the story goes that the actress had grown tired of starring in a teen soap, and actually requested that her character be killed off. At the time, it seemed like the talented and charismatic Keena was bound for much bigger things, but instead, her career just sort of… fizzled.

She appeared alongside Seth Rogen in Judd Apatow’s campus comedy series Undeclared, which was very good, but doesn’t have anywhere near the same cult following as Freaks & Geeks. In the years since then, Keena’s resume includes a stint on Entourage, guest spots on various police procedurals, and a few scattered episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice.

Abby would clearly be queen of a post-apocalyptic zombie world.

Abby would clearly be queen of a post-apocalyptic zombie world.

These days, you’re most likely to find Monica Keena’s name in a ‘Where Are They Now?’ list. Gossip blogs sometimes run pieces on her unrecognisable appearance, usually accompanied by a picture of her looking dishevelled in sweat pants alongside ex-boyfriend Edward Furlong. It’s tough to look at these without feeling pangs of nostalgia for her Dawson’s heyday.


There might still be time for a Monica Keena career resurgence – there are plenty of cable shows and network dramas around, and you can totally see her doing an arc as a survivor on The Walking Dead or the lead in a new Chuck Lorre sitcom (hey, everyone’s gotta eat).

Until then, though, we’ll always have Capeside High’s queen of mean.


Alasdair Duncan is an author and freelance writer who has had work published in Crikey, The Drum, The Brag, Beat, Rip It Up, The Music Network, Rave Magazine, AXN Cult and Star Observer.