Here’s What Really Happened at the End of Little Things<\/em>

Unsolved crimes, lots of blood, and Rami Malek and Denzel Washington in top-form—what’s not to love about Little Things, the latest theatrical release and straight-to-streaming HBO Max drama? Sure, the film didn’t reinvent the true crime wheel, but Jared Leto’s creepy stare kept us watching nonetheless.

In case you haven’t streamed it, or are hiding from jump-scares in another tab, here’s a brief synopsis: A series of violent, seemingly interconnected murders take place in the Los Angeles area. Denzel Washington plays a local sheriff, Deacon, under pressure to retire, with a history of becoming too emotionally invested in his cases. A young, new up-and-coming hot shot, Jimmy (played by Malek in a suit and tie), becomes the lead detective over the string of murders investigation. The movie follows the two as they struggle to solve the cases, their own lives becoming intertwined. Enter: Leto’s character, Albert Sparma, a prime suspect and an eery one at that.

But thankfully, Sparma confesses, the detectives become the town’s new heroes, and the gang lives happily ever after.


Instead, we witness everything but a happy ending, as Sparma leads Jimmy to the supposed location of one of his victims, and we learn the true story of Deacon’s account of an earlier murder. Here’s the Little Things ending, explained:

So what really happened at the end of Little Things?

Well, first things first: in a flashback, we witness Deacon shooting and killing a survivor from a case he’d worked on years ago. Turns out, Deacon has been hiding some serious guilt; those ghosts of the murdered victims we witness him interact with may be that guilt seeping out of him. A moment earlier in the film, in which the coroner begrudgingly agrees to help Deacon, also now makes sense. (We later witness the coroner pull out a bullet from the body and state otherwise for her cause of death.)

Jimmy’s fate isn’t all that different. We watch him kill Sparma with a shovel out of anger. Unfazed, Deacon comes to Jimmy’s rescue, hiding any evidence from Sparma’s apartment.

Was Sparma really responsible for the murders?

During the final moments of the film, we watch Jimmy receive an envelope sent from Deacon at his home, containing a red barrette, implying that Sparma was, in fact, responsible for at least one murder. (Or perhaps all of them?) The envelope also contained a note, “no angels,” referencing an earlier discussion they’d had in which Deacon said they couldn’t be in the “angel business” as detectives.

Of course, we do find out that Deacon had bought the barrette for Jimmy, without Jimmy’s knowledge. Deacon knows that Jimmy needs the emotional resolve to forge on, even if it’s based on a lie. It’s the kind of resolve Deacon never had and now lives his entire life affected by. He wants to protect Jimmy from his same fate.

But the truth is we don’t know whether Sparma did it. We learned that Sparma confessed to a murder he didn’t commit years earlier and his psychological profile doesn’t meet that of the killer. In other words, the evidence is flimsy at best.

Still, there’s reason to believe that Jimmy isn’t off the hook just yet. If Sparma did do it, the string of murders would come to a stop. If he didn’t, then Jimmy must live with the reality that he killed an innocent man, as the murders continue. We may never know the real ending, but that’s maybe the motive behind the film. We, too, are left unresolved, but thankfully, we won’t have to live out an entire lifetime wondering, as Jimmy may for his.

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