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The Ending Of Dangerous Lies Explained

Contains spoilers for Dangerous Lies

Netflix's latest thriller has enough twists and turns to give anybody motion sickness. In Dangerous Lies, the devil is in the details, and if you missed even one of the movie's subtle turns throughout its 90-odd-minute run, that climactic scene was probably a real head-scratcher. To fully unpack the final moments of the film, we have to begin at the beginning, so sit tight and grab some popcorn while we break this one down. If you haven't seen Dangerous Lies yet, bookmark this page for later, and read this first

Dangerous Lies, written by David Golden and directed by Michael Scott (no, not that Michael Scott), tells the story of Katie (Camila Mendes) and Adam (Jessie T. Usher), a young married couple fallen on tough times. At the very outset of the film, Katie is working nights at a local diner to support Adam while he finishes his MBA. The two of them have an arrangement: Adam earns his degree, then lands a high-paying job so Katie can quit the diner and go back to graduate school. That sounds reasonable and responsible, but life waits for no one, and Katie and Adam's plan is thrown for a loop when a gunman attempts to rob Katie's diner one night. Adam, who just happens to arrive early to pick Katie up, intervenes, taking down the burglar.

The thwarted burglary has lasting consequences for Katie and Adam

The next scene jumps several months into the future. The incident has obviously rattled Katie and Adam's life together. Katie quit working at the diner after the burglary, and Adam has dropped out of business school. Between student loans, credit cards, and unpaid bills, the young couple is saddled with overwhelming debt. Katie has a new job as a home care professional working with the 88-year-old Leonard (Elliott Gould), but Adam's been struggling to find work.

After a massive fight with Adam over money, Katie spills her sob story to Leonard, who offers to help. Katie won't take any money from her generous client, but she does ask him if he has a job for Adam. The next day, Adam starts working as a landscaper at Leonard's house, alongside Katie. Soon after Adam begins working at the house, Katie comes in one day to find Leonard dead in his attic, apparently from natural causes.

Aside from the trauma of discovering a dead body, Katie is now left without employment for herself or her husband. The couple seems to be on their way back to the poorhouse when a slick young attorney named Julia (Jamie Chung) shows up out of the blue to tell Katie that Leonard drafted a recent revision to his will, leaving her everything.

Mo' money, mo' problems on Dangerous Lies

Obviously, this situation looks a little suspicious. A struggling couple with their backs against a wall suddenly receives a massive windfall as the result of a wealthy old man's death? His Queens manor, alone, must have been worth in the high seven figures. The last-minute will certainly doesn't bolster Katie's case for innocence, either. The confluence of all these suspicious circumstances attracts the attention of a local homicide investigator, Detective Chesler (Sasha Alexander).

While cleaning Leonard's house, Katie makes a series of strange discoveries that could potentially complicate her legal standing. First, she and Adam discover an old chest filled with $100,000 cash. Instead of turning the fat stacks in to the police, Adam convinces Katie to stick them in a safe deposit box at the bank. Then, Katie finds a hidden clutch of diamonds worth somewhere north of $2 million. That discovery comes with a decomposing corpse, which Katie definitely wants to report to the police. Again, Adam convinces her otherwise. He disposes of the body in a dumpster and hides the diamonds somewhere on the property for safe-keeping. This is all pretty sketchy business, especially with Detective Chesler looking over their shoulders.

To add to Katie's complications, a very aggressive real estate agent named Mickey Hayden (Cam Gigandet) has been sniffing around, attempting to pressure Katie into selling the house. On his second drop-in, he outright accuses her of forging Leonard's will. Considering the microscope Katie and Adam are already under with the cops, any increased scrutiny is probably bad news.

Katie makes one more attempt to get Adam to come clean to the cops about the cash and the diamonds, but  he outright refuses, telling her he never wants to be poor again. Katie starts to see another side of her husband, and it frightens her. After another visit from Detective Chesler points the investigation straight at Adam, Katie decides to seek advice from Leonard's lawyer, Julia.

Adam might not be who Katie thought he was

Katie comes clean to Julia about everything, and Julia warns Katie that Adam might be planning to make a run for it and leave her holding the bag. Although Katie can't imagine her doting husband doing anything of the sort, between Chesler's warning and now Julia's, her gears are certainly starting to turn.

She takes Julia to the bank, and they open the safe deposit box together to find the cash missing. Julia warns Katie that Chesler is going to get a search warrant for Leonard's house. If they find those diamonds and Adam's skipped town with all the cash, Katie's going to catch all the blame.

Now convinced that Adam has duped her, Katie rushes back to Leonard's house. She arrives to find Adam packing bags of cash – for both of them. Adam tells her that he did some research into Hayden, and he isn't who he says he is. That "real estate agent" was actually an ex-con who did two years for stealing diamonds from a local jewelry store. Adam wasn't trying to steal the cash and run – he cleaned out the safe deposit box so that both of them could make a clean escape from Hayden.

Katie can't believe she let Chesler and Julia get in her head, but she hardly has time to process the reversal. When she steps out into the hall, Hayden is waiting for her. He puts a gun to her head. He wants his diamonds back. The confrontation leads to a climactic shootout that leaves Adam and Hayden both shot dead.

So what's the actual story with Dangerous Lies' diamonds?

Before Katie has a chance to process her husband's murder, Julia shows up and reveals that she was an accomplice to Hayden. Hayden murdered Leonard with an overdose of medication, and Julia forged the will so that the property would pass to Katie. They planned to find the diamonds and split town with all their ill-begotten proceeds. That dead body in the attic? That was the guy who helped Hayden with the jewelry store heist. Now, Julia wants those diamonds. Unfortunately, Katie doesn't know where Adam hid them, and Adam's now dead.

Just as Julia starts to grill Katie, Detective Chesler shows up to save the day by putting a bullet through Julia's chest. So, the mystery of Leonard's death and the hidden diamond cache are both solved, and Katie and Adam's names are clear, even if the will granting them the Queens manor was a forgery.

About that final Dangerous Lies scene

The final scene jumps forward in time again. We see a very pregnant Katie, still living at Leonard's Queens manor, planting a cedar sapling in the garden outside. She's approached by Detective Chesler, and it's apparently a social call. After exchanging pleasantries, Chesler tells Katie that they've searched the property top to bottom, and no one can find where Adam hid the diamonds. Katie reassures Chesler that she has no idea where he could have put them. The detective accepts Katie's explanation, but she exits with a lingering, suspicious look.

Once again alone, Katie finishes planting the cedar tree then turns on the sprinklers. In the final shot, we see the water droplets from the sprinklers landing in the berm surrounding an adjacent tree. The flow from the sprinklers slowly reveals a clutch of diamonds buried close to the surface.

Is that where Adam buried the diamonds? Does Katie know that they're there? What will she do once she returns to find them? Will she turn them in to Chesler, or keep them for herself and her unborn child?

All those questions are left open for viewer interpretation, in what's a fitting end to a thrilling ride.