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‘Housewives’ finale makes good

Mary Alice's secret is explained
/ Source: The Associated Press

It was Mary Alice, the suicide victim-narrator of “Desperate Housewives,” who killed the woman buried in the yard — not her husband, Paul, who nearly paid for the crime with his own execution Sunday night.

“Desperate Housewives” made good Sunday on its pledge to solve Mary Alice’s mystery as the smash first season came to an end on Wisteria Lane, the ABC show’s mythical but all-too-recognizable slice of suburbia.

A cultural phenomenon like few TV series in years, this saucy blend of melodrama, whodunit and dark comedy had viewers hooked from its first night last October — it ranked No. 1 that week.

But its finale left questions hanging: Would Mike, the boyfriend of Susan (Teri Hatcher), be ambushed by Mary Alice’s unhinged son, Zach?

Did Rex, husband of Bree (Marcia Cross), really die from heart disease on the eve of his surgery, as his doctor reported to Bree?

Would John, the hunky yard boy, survive the jealous rage of Carlos after confessing to his affair with Carlos’ wife Gabrielle (Eva Longoria)?

And how would Lynette (Felicity Huffman) survive back in the working world after her husband Tom quit his job and demanded to be a stay-at-home dad? (Lynette had sabotaged Tom’s promotion, jealous that he was getting too cozy with a sexy co-worker.)

Jam-packed finaleIt was a jam-packed finale for the series, which has kept viewers riveted with its arch exploration of blackmail, murder, adultery and sexy sisterhood in the suburbs.

The big revelation was recounted by Mary Alice (Brenda Strong), who had shot herself to death in the show’s first episode and has since served as the from-the-grave narrator.

Fifteen years ago, the wife and husband who would become Mary Alice and Paul were a childless couple when a crack addict, Deirdre, sold them her infant son (born Dana). But three years later, after the couple had fled to a new life on Wisteria Lane and assumed new identities, Deirdre tracked them down, intending to reclaim the child, now named Zach.

The big surprise: After Deirdre attacked Paul, it was Mary Alice, not the much-suspected Paul, who stabbed her to death. Then she talked Paul into dismembering the body and stuffing her in their child’s toy chest, after which the body was buried in the yard.

This brought full circle the mystery that had lingered since the premiere, when Paul was spied recovering the chest after his wife’s suicide.

Also in the episode, Susan’s boyfriend Mike, a sexy plumber who had arrived on Wisteria Lane covertly investigating the murder of his former girlfriend Deirdre, was about to pay back Paul for the deed. But Paul convinced him Mary Alice had done it, and in self-defense.

Mike walked away, returning home to possible ambush at the hand of Paul’s son, Zach.

“It’s an odd thing to look back on the world,” said Mary Alice in a concluding voiceover, “to watch those I left behind, each in her own way so brave, so determined and so very desperate.”

Now viewers were left, a little desperate, for the show’s fall return with new episodes and new answers.