Danny accidentally let his sister, Sarah Rayburn, drown when he was younger, resulting in a beating from his father, which gave him a shoulder injury. He was drowned by his younger brother, John Rayburn.
Danny returns home to Islamorada, Florida, for the 45th anniversary of his parents' Robert and Sally Rayburn's seaside hotel, The Rayburn House – a pier will be dedicated in their honor to mark the occasion. Danny is the black sheep of the family, with a poor reputation among them, including his three younger siblings: John, Kevin, and Meg. Danny wants to make his return permanent as he wishes to stay to help his parents at their inn. Robert is reluctant to let Danny stay, but leaves it up to the three siblings to decide Danny's fate.
The siblings decide against Danny staying as they conclude that he will only break their mother's heart in the end. John breaks the news to Danny, but lies to him by telling him it was their father who wanted him gone, rather than the siblings. Ultimately Danny does not leave, although he gets a ride to the bus stop from John. Danny's confrontation with his father inadvertently causes Robert to have mini-strokes, eventually resulting in his death.
The Rayburns' past is full of dark secrets that are revealed throughout the season. Danny's dysfunctional relationship with his family primarily stems from the untimely death of his younger sister, Sarah, when he was a teenager. Danny took Sarah out on a boat. Her seahorse necklace fell into the water, and when she attempted to retrieve it, she drowned. Robert lost control and beat Danny over her death. Sally covered up this abuse by having John, Kevin, and Meg lie to the police about their brother's injuries.
Robert's death opens the door for Danny to have a permanent job at the inn. Danny appears to be changing his ways with hard work and dedication, which puts him in Sally's good graces. However, Danny's problem past is shown via his connection with childhood friend and troublemaker Eric O'Bannon. The two begin siphoning gasoline from local docks for drug and human trafficker, Wayne Lowry. As they gain Lowry's trust, they are given larger jobs to complete. Danny eventually uses his job at The Rayburn House as a front to smuggle cocaine for Lowry.
John and the sheriff's department collaborate with the DEA in an investigation into the deaths of unknown women and drug trafficking in Monroe County by Lowry and his men. The investigation leads John to Danny and his recent activities. While secretly investigating Danny, John finds Danny's smuggled cocaine in a shed on The Rayburn House property. During a meeting among John, Kevin, and Meg, the three siblings conclude that the only way to fix the situation and not put the family's business at risk with the Feds is to move the drugs to Danny's home in Miami. Unbeknownst to Danny, they move the drugs, replacing them with empty suitcases. The loss of the drugs puts Danny in a bad situation with Lowry, who believes that Danny has stolen the cocaine from him. Lowry sends a hitman to assassinate Danny, but Danny kills the hitman.
Under pressure, Danny begins to act erratically. Danny tries to get to John by taking his daughter Janey out on a boat and giving her a seahorse necklace, similar to the one that belonged to their deceased sister, Sarah. John and his wife Dianna take this as a threat against the family, so John sends his wife and children away for a few days. The seahorse necklace causes John to reach his breaking point. During a confrontation, John drowns Danny in the ocean. Distraught from murdering his brother, John turns to Kevin and Meg for help. The three decide to cover up the murder by moving Danny's body. John eventually sets a boat on fire to create an explosion that would frame Danny's death. Unsatisfied with what she is told, Sally turns to family friend and retired detective Lenny Potts to privately investigate the matter. In the aftermath of Danny's death, Meg moves to New York City to take a job with a large firm; Kevin reunites with his estranged wife, Belle, who is now pregnant with their child; and John reunites with his family. The season ends with the arrival of Danny's son, Nolan, at John's home to find out what happened to his father.
Danny's death continues to haunt the Rayburn family. With the arrival of Nolan several secrets are revealed. It is also revealed that Danny gave Lowry a tape with information about John. John tries to get the tape off Lowry by telling him to turn himself in so that the DEA can arrest his contacts and his family will be protected. Lowry ends up about to do it but backs down due to Kevin giving back some of the drugs Danny had. Lowry is killed by the father of one of the victims killed when he blew up a boat containing people they were trafficking.
Through Nolan and his mother Eve, the Rayburns learn more about Danny's past, including his asking Robert to borrow some money for his restaurant. Robert made him choose between that or his continuing to send money to Eve for Nolan's support. Ozzy Delvecchio, an old friend of Danny's from Miami, has gotten involved with Eve and works with her to appeal Meg's cancellation after her father's death of the payments to Eve for child support of Nolan.
Behind the scenesEdit
Danny Rayburn is portrayed by actor Ben Mendelsohn.