Nora Buchanan and Bo Buchanan hired Elijah Clarke in August 2009 to represent them in a lawsuit filed by their son, Matthew Buchanan, who was seeking the right to have surgery that could restore the use of his legs. When Matthew's attorney, Téa Delgado, threatened to reveal in court that Bo and Nora had kissed the night before her wedding to Bo's brother, Clint, Elijah turned the tables on her. Elijah told Téa he knew secrets of his own about her that would destroy her relationship with Todd if revealed. The normally unflappable Téa was shaken by the threat and kept quiet.
Téa was unnerved when the man she was seeing, Todd Manning, hired Elijah to help him win back custody of his kids. Alone, Téa told Elijah she knew he was working for Ross Rayburn, the man she had been marooned with on a deserted island years earlier after Todd had left her for his ex-wife Blair Cramer. She told Elijah that she refused to give in to Ross' blackmail demands and give him what he thought she'd taken from him. It turned out that Téa had married Ross in Tahiti, where Ross was still living as a fugitive. When Todd proposed to her, she begged Ross to give him a divorce. Téa was relieved when Elijah presented her with divorce papers signed by Ross, not realizing that Ross had never filed the papers.
After Blair flew Ross to Llanview in a failed attempt to disrupt Téa and Todd's wedding, it was revealed that Téa had gotten pregnant after the island escapade and given birth to a child. Ross assumed the child was his, but really it was Todd's. Ross broke into Todd's home and attempted to steal Téa's briefcase, which contained information on the whereabouts of the child, but he was caught and apprehended. Ross called on Elijah to help bail him out of jail, and Elijah nearly stole the briefcase that was in police evidence before reconsidering. While behind bars, Ross begged Elijah to get him out of jail so he could search for his child, and it was revealed that Ross and Elijah were actually brothers.
After getting Ross released from jail on bail, Elijah hired a private investigator to go through Téa's phone records and tracked down the child to a London boarding school. When Elijah said that Ross couldn't leave the country to go after his child, a teenaged girl named Danielle, Ross punched out Elijah and left. Elijah told Téa what had happened, and they both boarded a plane for London too. While en route to London, Téa confessed to Elijah that Todd was really Dani's father. After Danielle ran away from the school and flew to Seattle with new friend Matthew Buchanan, Elijah and Téa followed after them. Ross tracked them down as well and, after Téa told him that he wasn't Dani's father, Ross had a mental breakdown and took Dani and Blair hostage. The situation came to an end on a bridge at the Canadian border, as Todd shot Ross, and he fell into the icy water to his presumed death.
Elijah decided to stay in Llanview to help Dani cope with Ross's death. He briefly flirted with Téa, but her heart belonged to Todd. Blair decided that they could console each other and threw herself at Elijah, and the two began a no-holds-barred, no strings attached sexual relationship. Elijah expressed jealousy over Blair's relationship with Todd, but Blair assured Eli that she was over Todd for good. The two slowly began moving toward an exclusive relationship, and Blair even opened up to Eli about the son she'd lost years before after she and Kelly got in a car accident. After court one day, Téa fainted, and Eli took her to the hospital, where she agreed to get checked out. Later, Eli grabbed a file Blair had been looking at and read it, discovering that Téa had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. Eli agreed not to say anything to Téa, who believed only Blair knew about her death sentence. Blair later confessed that Elijah knew, and he told Téa he would do anything to help her through her ordeal.
Eli told Blair he wanted more than a casual relationship with her and raised the idea of getting married, but Blair told him she wasn't sure she was ready to get married again. While at the country club for the July Fourth celebration, Eli and Blair made love in a cabana and then Eli proposed to her. Blair asked for more time and left Eli alone. Eli then showed up at Robert Ford's door, and it was revealed that Eli had bludgeoned Ford in the head and forced Ford to name Hannah as his attacker. Ford had threatened to tell everyone that Eli's real name was Bennett Thompson -- the same name Melinda Cramer had hidden in the vase she had given her daughter, Kelly Cramer, before she died -- and Eli had nearly killed Ford to keep him quiet.
After Hannah was arrested for bludgeoning Ford, she hired Eli to be her attorney and then revealed to Eli that she had seen him push Marty down the stairs. Hannah then realized that Eli had also bludgeoned Ford and framed Hannah to take the fall for both crimes. Eli threatened to harm Cole Thornhart unless Hannah confessed to both crimes, so Hannah faked a psychotic breakdown and was taken to St. Anne's. Blair, unaware of Eli's secret life of crime, told Eli she would marry him, and they broke the news to Todd and Téa, who had also gotten engaged. After Eli and Todd got into an argument, Téa revealed to Eli and Blair that Ross Rayburn hadn't died when Todd shot him and that he was living in Tahiti.
Eli learned Kelly and Rex believed a man named Bennett Thompson was behind Kelly's mother's death and then followed Rex to Boston, where Rex was searching for evidence about Bennett's identity. Eli drugged Rex and pretended to be Rex so he could retrieve and destroy court records that proved Eli was Bennett. While Rex lay unconscious, Eli recalled how Rodney, a fellow mental patient of Melinda's who knew Eli as Bennett Thompson from ten years before when Rodney was a janitor in Boston, had nearly blown Eli's cover. Rodney had seen Eli's picture in a paper Melinda was reading and told Melinda that the person in the picture was actually Bennett Thompson. When Melinda called Blair to warn her about the man she was dating, Eli intercepted the call and flew to California, where he killed Melinda to shut her up. Eli recalled how he had pushed Marty down the stairs to get John off his back and killed Rodney when he tried to tell Kelly the truth. Eli destroyed all of the documents that could tie him to Bennett Thompson, including a marriage certificate.
Eli was shaken when he got a call for attorney Bennett Thompson from Lisa Williamson, who had found his business card among her daughter Evangeline Williamson's possessions. Lisa explained to Bennett that Evangeline was in a coma and was relying on machines to breathe for her. Evangeline had drafted a living will stating she didn't want to be hooked up to machines, and Eli encouraged Lisa to honor her daughter's wishes because a court would uphold the document, even though it had never been notarized. Later, Eli overheard Evangeline's sister, Layla, tell John about her mother's conversation with Bennett Thompson, and Layla told John she had a file of Evangeline's labeled Bennett Thompson in her apartment. Eli hurried there, knocked out Cristian, and stole the file, which included a mug shot of Eli. Eli shredded the documents in his hotel room, as Kelly secretly watched from under the bed.
Eli overheard Cole on the phone with Hannah, who was still locked up at St. Anne's, and decided to silence Hannah permanently by forcing her to swallow a bottle of sleeping pills. Hannah survived after Cole found her unconscious, and Nora told Eli that his client was expected to make a full recovery. Eli warned Hannah to keep silent and said he might need to deal with Cole.
Eli drafted a will for Téa, who was dying rapidly from her inoperable brain tumor and had only months to live. But Eli switched documents before Téa signed the will.
After Téa flew to St. Kitts to live out her final days in a hospice, away from her family, Eli phoned Dr. Greg Evans to make sure she was there alone and that everything was going according to plan. When Greg told Eli that Téa was asking for her family, Eli warned Greg that he could not let that happen and Greg assured Eli he had everything under control.
Eli agreed to marry Blair in a double wedding ceremony with Dorian and David. But the cops were closing in on Eli. The mug shot Eli shredded was reassembled by Natalie and traced to a man named Craig Pattison, who was arrested in connection with the death of his wife. He was charged but released for lack of evidence, and Craig then changed his name to Bennett Thompson. Ford confessed to John McBain that he had had an affair with Bennett's wife, Olivia, while he was living in Los Angeles a few years earlier. Olivia was very rich and told Ford that her husband had married her for her money. Soon after, Olivia disappeared and Ford assumed she had skipped town after her husband found out about their affair. Ford met Eli in Llanview and recognized him as Bennett Thompson and tried to blackmail Eli, only to end up nearly bludgeoned to death.
After overhearing that the cops were looking for him, Eli convinced Blair to fly off with him to Tahiti to get married with his brother Ross present. Just hours after they exchanged vows in Ross' cabana, Blair got a call from Kelly telling her everything the cops had learned. Blair confronted Eli, pulling out a gun and threatening to shoot him. Eli initially denied it, then tried to pin everything on Ross before eventually admitting that everything was true. Eli claimed his first wife had died in a drunken fall and he had buried her, sure that the cops wouldn't believe it was an accident. His second wife Olivia had found out about the first wife, so he made sure she disappeared. Eli confessed to killing Melinda and Rodney and to pushing Marty down the stairs to get John McBain off the trail. Eli told Blair he wanted to build a new life with her and said he hoped that could still be possible, but Blair would have none of it and threatened again to shoot him. They struggled for the gun and it went off, sending a bullet into Eli's stomach. Eli fell to the ground, in the process knocking over candles that soon set the cabana on fire. As Blair struggled to pull Eli from the growing fire, John McBain appeared and got Blair to safety. John was unable to rescue Eli, who was trapped under fallen debris. At the police station, Blair identified Eli's badly charred body, although she admitted to John that Eli was so badly burned he was unrecognizable. The cops presented John with the bullet that had been taken from Eli's stomach and the wedding photo of Eli and Blair, which was pulled from his pocket. Eli appeared dead, although John asked for more evidence before he would close the case.
Greg Evans returned to St. Kitts after receiving cryptic, threatening messages and was shocked to come face to face with a very-much-alive Eli. Eli explained that he had faked his death with help from his brother Ross Rayburn, even planting a dead look-alike body to throw off the police, but he had been injured when an overhead beam had fallen on him during the fire. Greg ran X-rays and told Eli that he could die if Greg didn't operate on him. Eli was suspicious but was in no condition to argue. Greg told Eli he had to return to Llanview for Téa's memorial service and would be back soon to perform the surgery. Eli warned Greg not to say anything or his brother Ross would make sure his family suffered the consequences.
From his hospital bed, Eli called Ross, who had just arrived in Llanview with the doctored will that named Ross as Dani's legal guardian. Ross questioned the timing of Téa's death, and Eli assured him that he only took advantage of Téa's illness and did not cause it. In reality, however, Eli had blackmailed Greg into telling Téa that she was going to die, telling Greg that it was his "destiny" to help him. Eli forced Greg to give Téa medication that would make her sick and give her a lethal dose of morphine before her family could arrive. When Greg later returned to St. Kitts, Eli thanked him for testifying in court that Téa had wanted Danielle to live with Ross. Greg didn't understand what Eli wanted with Dani, but he explained that Todd would pay good money to get his daughter back. Eli said he needed to leave St. Kitts, but Greg warned Eli he could die if he left without having surgery. Eli told Greg he knew he was faking the test results just as he had done with Téa. Greg tried to inject Eli with a lethal dose of morphine but a struggle ensued and Eli stabbed Greg with the needle before disappearing from the clinic.
Ross was shocked when Eli showed up in Llanview at the docks. Ross told Eli that Dani had run off, and Eli said they had to find Dani so he could extract money from Todd in exchange for her. When Ross protested, saying he would never hand over his daughter to Todd, Eli revealed to Ross the lengths at which he went to help Ross secure Dani -- going so far as to have Greg poison Téa so she would die. When Ross went to call the cops to see if there was any news about Dani, Eli pulled out a gun and shot Ross. Eli pushed Ross into the water and then came face to face with Todd. Todd shot Eli in the shoulder during a standoff but Eli managed to get away.
Starr came home to find Eli there, having killed Hope's babysitter Carla. Dani showed up and Eli forced Starr, Dani and Hope to go off with him. The girls convinced Eli to go to a nearby hospital to get help for his gunshot wound, and they went to the Cherryvale clinic. As Dani went inside to get bandages and medicine, Starr and Hope escaped when Eli passed out in the waiting car. Eli went to find Starr and Dani but instead came face to face with Téa, who had been brought to the clinic by Greg. A shocked Eli managed to remain calm as Téa explained that Greg had told her she was in full remission but hadn't allowed her to contact her family. Eli told Téa he would take her back to Llanview. But when Dani returned with the medical supplies, Eli told Dani that Starr and Hope had escaped but that she was the only hostage he needed. As Eli drove off, a piece of Téa's medical gown could be seen dangling from the trunk.
In an abandoned warehouse, Eli called Todd and demanded $50 million in exchange for Dani. When he realized that Todd didn't know where Starr or Hope were, Eli pretended to have them as well. In a nearby room, Eli looked in on Téa and revealed to her that he had ordered Greg to kill her but that Greg had let her live. Eli left Dani and Téa tied up in separate rooms and went to the hospital to finish off Greg. He injected a drug into Greg's IV but had to make a quick escape when Shaun Evans came into the hospital room and saw him. Eli returned to the warehouse and stopped Dani from escaping with Téa. Eli called the cops and demanded a helicopter and Blair in exchange for the hostages. As the cops surrounded the warehouse, Eli brought out Dani and let her go before getting into a van and setting off an explosion in the warehouse.
John detained Eli and handcuffed him to a police cruiser as police and emergency rescue crews searched for signs of life inside the warehouse. After Natalie told Brody that Greg confirmed Téa was alive, Brody questioned Eli but only got cryptic responses in return. When Cole found Eli's gun in the evidence bag, he went up to the handcuffed Eli and shot him twice, once for Hope and once for Starr. Marty came on the scene, checked Eli's vitals and declared that Eli was dead.
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