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The Ending Of Netflix's The Innocent Explained

Transplanted from New Jersey to Spain, Netflix's adaptation of Harlan Coben's thriller "The Innocent" is about the corrosive effect hate and secrets can have on our lives, and the redemption we can find through honesty and forgiveness. It begins with Mateo Vidal (played by Mario Casas from "The Invisible Guest"), a law student whose life is derailed when he accidentally kills Dani (Eudald Font) in a brawl outside a nightclub in Barcelona. Mat is sentenced to four years in prison; after being released, he rebuilds his life with the help of his brother Isma (Jordi Coll), who makes Mat a paralegal and then a partner at his law firm.

Olivia Costa (Aura Garrido), a woman Mat met while on furlough for his parents' funeral, comes back into Mat's life when she applies for a position at the firm. After Mat and Olivia learn they're expecting their first child, Olivia is called to Berlin for work. While she's gone, Mat receives troubling messages from Olivia's phone featuring a strange man, and he's assaulted by another man. Mat faces the possibility Olivia hasn't been honest with him, and hires Zoe (Anna Alarcón), a private investigator, to help him find Olivia, drawing Mat into police investigations that disrupt the life he's built. If you had a hard time keeping up with the plot twists and converging storylines of this intriguing puzzle, we've got you covered.

Warning: Spoilers ahead!

Detective Ortiz believes Gallardo killed Sister Maria

Each episode of "The Innocent" includes a voiceover from a different character revealing their traumatic past, starting with Mat in Episode 1. These characters interact as they're all drawn into a mystery that's untangled in Episode 8. In Episode 2, we meet Detective Lorena Ortiz (Alexandra Jiménez), whose father committed suicide when she was a girl. She was raised by Sister Irene (Susi Sánchez) in a religious boarding school after her mother abandoned her.

While investigating a suspected suicide at the boarding school, Ortiz learns Sister Maria (Juana Acosta), who died falling from her bedroom window, was actually Emma, a former exotic dancer and sex worker with ties to the criminal underworld in Marbella and the missing crime boss Aníbal Ledesma (Miki Esparbé). Ortiz's first suspect in Emma's murder was Mat because someone called Emma at the boarding school from his sister-in-law Mara's landline when he was babysitting his niece and nephew.

Mat is cleared of suspicion when his prints don't match the handprint police believe belongs to the murderer. When the matching prints belong to Gallardo (Santi Pons), a retired cop who investigated the unsolved murder of Candace, an exotic dancer and sex worker at Aníbal's Marbella brothel, Ortiz believes she's found her murderer. Despite Ortiz's suspicions, in Episode 8 we learn Emma actually killed herself by leaping from the window rather than exposing the identity of the person she fled Marbella with.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Gallardo and Sáez are found dead

The plot thickens when Gallardo is found dead in his car. Later, his partner Sáez (Xavi Sáez), who was the bouncer at Aníbal's Marbella brothel, is found dead in a pedestrian tunnel with Gallardo's gun. His body is near the hotel where police were called after a brawl broke out between Mat and Sáez in a hotel room rented by Gallardo. Detective Ortiz struggles to understand how Mat fits into this case, but when she finds Zoe's investigation file, Ortiz suspects Mat's wife Olivia is the connection.

From Zoe's file, Ortiz realizes Olivia has been missing, and it appears Gallardo and Sáez are responsible for Olivia's disappearance. The focus of Ortiz's investigation shifts to who killed Gallardo and Sáez, as federal agents Teo Aguilar (Jose Coronado) and Bruno Soto (Oriol Vila) try to push Ortiz out of her investigation after revealing they're searching for blackmail tapes Emma and her accomplice hid in a safe deposit box after vanishing when Candace was murdered in Marbella years ago.

After Mat's former cellmate Roberto (Pedro Hernández) tells Detective Ortiz he thinks Mat killed Romero (Toro Cuenca), an inmate from their cell block who died suspiciously, Ortiz's suspicions about Mat reignite. At this point in "The Innocent," Detective Ortiz believes these crimes are related to Olivia's past, and that Mat may have killed Gallardo and Sáez while trying to protect his wife from something she's been running from, suggesting Olivia and Mat are keeping secrets.

Olivia tells Mat about her past

Despite Mat telling Olivia the truth about his past when his brother Isma died, Olivia is afraid to share her own secrets until she has no choice. After being reunited when Mat found her at the hotel with Sáez, Olivia tells Mat she used to be an exotic dancer and sex worker named Candace at Aníbal's brothel in Marbella, explaining Aníbal was a sex trafficker who kept his dancers' passports so they couldn't leave.

Olivia explains that after a dancer named Lavanda (Aysha Daraaui) was murdered by a client at one of Aníbal's orgies, Kimmy, Emma, and Olivia/Candace conspired to escape, planning to steal their passports and the tapes Aníbal made at the orgies to blackmail the rich and powerful men who attended. Olivia explains how everything went wrong when Aníbal killed one of the other dancers, Cassandra (Asia Ortega), and Olivia shot him to save Emma's life. They made it look like Candace died instead, and they left Kimmy (Martina Gusman) behind when they fled Marbella with Aníbal's body.

Olivia explains how Sister Irene at the boarding school, took pity on their terrible circumstances, and helped Olivia and Emma acquire new identities. Olivia reveals that Sister Irene also helped Olivia give her daughter Paula up for adoption, adding that Gallardo and Sáez found her through Sister Irene and lured her to the hotel saying Paula needed a new kidney, and Olivia took their savings to pay for Paula's surgery.

Mat goes on the run

When the police arrive at Mara's house to arrest Mat, he understands he's now the prime suspect in Gallardo and Sáez's murders. Mat wants them to stay together, but Olivia convinces him to go to Marbella, where she'll meet him at same spot where she's supposed to meet someone about her daughter the next night.

As a distraction, Olivia turns herself over to the police in front of Mara's house, believing they know nothing of her past as Candace in Marbella. Mat reluctantly goes to the Barcelona airport and flies to Marbella, narrowly evading law enforcement while trying to board the plane. Mat's luck doesn't hold; he's arrested the next day at the Marbella airport and waits in jail until he's retrieved by Detective Aguilar, who's desperate to find the tapes.

"The Innocent" toys with our attachment to Mat as we begin to doubt his innocence. Every character in the series seems to be keeping secrets, leading us to wonder what Mat's hiding. He's a lawyer and knows how guilty running makes him look, but he also knows his criminal record will always make him a suspect even if he's innocent. This series illustrates how hard it can be to recover from a criminal record, even if you do everything right after being released.

Olivia realizes Detective Aguilar is the man on Tape 27

After handing herself over to the police, Detective Aguilar and his partner Detective Soto take Olivia to her house, where she learns they know she was Candace and that she faked her death. When they offer Olivia and Mat immunity for the tapes, Olivia feels it's her only option; she hands over the second safe deposit key, and Detective Soto goes to the bank to retrieve the tapes.

The next huge reveal in "The Innocent" happens when Olivia realizes Detective Aguilar is the man from Tape 27 — she sees him crack his knuckles while twisting his neck in a distinctive gesture she recognizes from the night Lavanda was murdered by a client. Olivia retrieves the gun hidden behind her bathroom mirror, certain Detective Aguilar will kill her when he realizes she knows who he is. When Soto returns, Olivia tells him Aguilar is the man who murdered Lavanda. Aguilar shoots and kills Soto, and Olivia escapes with the tapes by jumping out a window.

Learning Aguilar murdered Lavanda while undercover help us understand Aguilar's personal investment in finding the tapes. With this revelation, we also understand Aguilar's boss, Colonel Amanda Prieto (Lluïsa Mallol), is corrupt; she's trying to protect the rich and powerful men on the tapes. She might claim the tapes are destructive, but Prieto is a hypocrite, ensuring the wealthy and powerful live by different rules.

Kimmy admits she was behind Gallardo and Sáez contacting Olivia

After escaping Detective Aguilar, Olivia hitches a ride to Marbella, where she sees Kimmy dancing at the bar where she was supposed to meet someone about her daughter. It's bittersweet for Olivia to see Kimmy, but she goes backstage to say hello. Olivia worries it might be a trap, so she leaves a message for Mat at the club with the coat check attendant and goes to Kimmy's trailer to hide.

After Olivia tells Kimmy what really happened when she faked her death, she apologizes for abandoning her and allowing Kimmy to believe she died. Kimmy says she'll help Olivia, but drugs her and admits she hired Gallardo and Sáez as private investigators after Paula found her while looking for her mother. It was Gallardo and Sáez who discovered Candace was still alive and had faked her death to live a new life as Olivia.

Kimmy's heartbreak and self-blame over Candace's death made Kimmy's life miserable because she didn't think she deserved better. This heartbreak turned to anger when Kimmy learned they left her behind and lied to her, and that anger grew into a hunger for vengeance, starting a chain of events leading to the deaths of Emma, Gallardo, and Sáez. This revelation leaves us wondering: Did Mat kill Gallardo and Sáez to protect his wife, or is Kimmy cleaning up her mess?

Detective Teo Aguilar kills himself

After picking Mat up from the police in Marbella, Detective Aguilar and Kimmy make a deal. Aguilar trades Mat for the tapes at the hangar where Aníbal used to have the orgies, and Aguilar drives away with the tapes, thinking his past is finally behind him. Zoe hacks into Aguilar's phone so she can follow him, and Detective Ortiz tracks him down in Marbella, where he arrests him for killing his partner Detective Soto.

While getting the tapes out of the back seat of his car, Aguilar gets a gun from his glove box and threatens to shoot Ortiz. Local police arrive, backing up Ortiz during a guns-drawn standoff. Ortiz explains a witness has identified the man on tape 27 as Aguilar. Rather than be revealed as a murderer, Aguilar shoots himself in the head.

Aguilar can't deal with the repercussions of tape 27 being made public. He can't live with his wife and daughter seeing who he really is. He tries to tell himself that he's a different man than the one on the tape, but if he looks honestly at everything he's done trying to keep this secret, he'd have to admit he hasn't changed. He's still a murderer who killed his partner rather than have his crimes exposed. Unlike Olivia and Mat, Aguilar can't make peace with his past because he refuses to face it.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Detective Ortiz saves Mat and Olivia from Kimmy's wrath

Kimmy traded the tapes for Mat because Kimmy needed him for her revenge plot against Olivia. Kimmy traps Mat in a shipping container with a window, looking into a room where Olivia's tied to a chair. Kimmy intends for Mat to watch Olivia be assaulted by three masked men who are dressed like the clients at the orgies Aníbal hosted.

After arresting Detective Aguilar and taking the tapes, Zoe sends Detective Ortiz to the hangar where Aníbal hosted the orgies to find Mat and Olivia. Ortiz frees Mat from the shipping container and saves Olivia from being assaulted. Kimmy doesn't give up her weapon and a police officer shoots Olivia while trying to protect Kimmy. Olivia's selfless act melts Kimmy's heart, and it's clear from her expression that she regrets her actions.

After Kimmy's taken into custody, Mat is no longer the prime suspect for killing Gallardo and Sáez; the police now suspect Kimmy killed them after hiring them to find Olivia. Although Mat and Olivia must cooperate with the police concerning the investigations, Ortiz assures them ballistics and forensic evidence should clear them of suspicion and charges. Mat and Olivia, having finally faced their pasts, might move forward with a marriage no longer based on lies.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Zoe discovers Jamie paid Mat's cellmate to say Mat killed Romero

Although it seems the events in Marbella have answered our questions, back in Barcelona, Zoe interviews Mat's former cellmate Roberto, uncovering an unknown element that further complicates things: Roberto admits Jamie (Gonzalo de Castro), the father of the young man Mat accidentally killed, paid him to tell the press Mat killed Romero in prison.

Meanwhile, back at the police station in Barcelona, the reconstruction of the partial print on the trigger of the gun that killed Gallardo and Sáez is completed. A new plot twist is revealed when this print doesn't match Kimmy's, but matches Mat's instead. Detective Ortiz goes to Mara's house to arrest Mat, who has just learned from Zoe what Jamie has done.

Mat is furious Jamie has been trying to frame Mat while poisoning his reputation in the court of public opinion. Rather than go to the station with Ortiz, Mat evades arrest for the double murder of Gallardo and Sáez. He's driven to Jamie's house by Zoe, who reluctantly gives Mat her spare gun.

Jamie wanted to destroy Mat's life

Mat takes Jamie and Sonia (Ana Wagener) hostage, and Jamie calls the police. Mat's behavior shocks Sonia: After developing a friendship with him in the years following Dani's death, she doesn't believe he's capable of cold-blooded murder. Mat antagonizes Jamie into confessing his involvement in framing Mat for Gallardo and Sáez's murders. Sonia doesn't stop her husband from confessing, because she wants to know the truth.

Jamie admits learning Mat and Olivia were expecting a child filled him with rage because Dani would never have a child. Jamie followed Olivia and learned she kept secrets. These secrets led to Jamie witnessing Emma's death and Jamie conspiring with Gallardo and Sáez to lure Olivia to the hotel with their life savings. Jamie confesses to killing Gallardo and Sáez, and framing Mat for the murders by planting a print on the gun, pulled from Mat's car door with a piece of tape. Jamie also admits he hired Romero to kill Mat in jail.

Jamie's desire to avenge Dani's death, and his anger at Mat's second chance, has rotted his conscience. Jamie once swore an oath as a doctor to do no harm but became a murderer because he let hate and vengeance rule his heart, rather than learning forgiveness as Sonia did. After learning the truth, Mat surrenders to the police. Jamie's confession, with Sonia as a witness, leads to Jamie's incarceration for murder. Jamie ruined his own life trying to destroy Mat's.

Olivia has her baby and is reunited with Paula

In the end, things finally work out for Olivia, who has come clean about her past. Shot when police rescued her and Mat from Kimmy's revenge plot, Olivia not only survives her injuries, but the baby she's carrying is also okay. While in the hospital, Detective Ortiz tells Olivia they found Anibal's remains and shows her the letter Emma left with Sister Irene, exonerating her for Anibal's death.

Kimmy feels remorse for her actions and tells Olivia how to find Paula, asking her to tell the teenage girl about her aunt Kimmy. Despite everything Kimmy did to destroy her life, Olivia forgives her, apologizing for leaving her behind. Olivia and Mat have a daughter and Olivia reunites with her older daughter Paula, who is present at the baby's first birthday.

Olivia has a tragic past, and many things to regret. Still, she found the courage to be honest — and to forgive Kimmy for her revenge plot. Olivia pushed past her fear that Paula would be ashamed of her because she was a sex worker, and risked being rejected to meet the daughter she gave away. Because of her courage, Olivia has the chance to live honestly for the first time since Aníbal forced her into sex work. A chance to do things differently and live better.

Detective Ortiz is promoted to captain

After solving these interconnected cases and giving the tapes to Police Commissioner Oliete (Josean Bengoetxea), Detective Ortiz is promoted to captain and given a medal for her service, which she leaves at her father's grave. Although she'll probably always be haunted by her his suicide, Ortiz seems confident that her father, who was also a police officer, would be proud of the woman she's become.

Although Ortiz has a traumatic past, much like the other characters in "The Innocent," she used it to fuel a dedication to justice, rather than letting her pain fester into hatred. She might not embrace love and life the way Olivia does, but Ortiz hasn't let pain turn her into a monster.

Despite Olivia and Mat's criminal pasts, Ortiz was always willing to keep an open mind. She followed the facts and her gut, dedicating herself to helping people like Olivia who were victimized by the wealthy, powerful, and corrupt.

When Ortiz realized Detective Aguilar was abusing his power and privilege, and trying to hide his crimes by participating in a cover-up, Ortiz stood up to the authority of Colonel Amanda Prieto by making sure the tapes wound up in the right hands so the men on those tapes would be held accountable for their actions.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Mat killed the inmate on his cell block

Mat tries to make peace with his past and embrace his second chance by focusing on his family and being grateful. He closes the law firm and begins helping ex-cons recently released from prison reintegrate into society. Instead of hiding his past, Mat embraces who he was and the road to redemption that was paved by the forgiveness of others.

But in the last seconds of "The Innocent," we learn Mat killed Romero while in prison. Although it could be argued it was self-defense, Mat's unwillingness to admit what happened suggests he isn't sure what his motivation was for pushing Romero over the railing and to his death. This is a secret Mat will carry to his grave.

This revelation is ambiguous. We could say it shows prison changed Mat. It also suggests he won't forgive himself for killing Romero despite the extenuating circumstances. "The Innocent" argues you can't escape your past, and this secret has the power to destroy the life Mat has built with Olivia. Harlan Coben told Variety, "Even the smallest encounters in their past create ripples, and that was actually how the original idea for the book came to me."

This ending leaves an opening to continue exploring Mat's story, but it's unlikely Netflix will renew the series for another season — although it's been suggested Netflix could make "The Innocent" into an anthology series, with each season exploring different stories (per Netflix Life).