Denzel Washington Serial Killer Thriller Was #1 on Netflix for Over a Week—and I Need to Talk About That Wild Twist Ending

I need answers

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*Warning: Spoilers ahead*

I know, I know, it’s been a few weeks since the 2021 serial killer thriller, The Little Things (starring Denzel Washington), occupied the top spot on the Netflix top 10 movies list. Still, I can’t stop thinking about that bizarre ending.

Luckily, the film’s director, John Lee Hancock, sat down with Entertainment Weekly back in February 2021 and broke down the surprise ending to viewers (like myself) who can’t seem to get it out of their heads. 

In case you need a refresher, The Little Things follows Deputy Sheriff Joe “Deke” Deacon (Washington), who teams up with detective Jim Baxter (Rami Malek) to track down a quick-witted serial killer who’s terrorizing Los Angeles. 

The movie ends with the suspected killer, Albert Sparma (played by Jared Leto), luring the two cops to a desert. In a surprising turn of events, Deacon and Baxter (spoiler alert!) kill the suspect and they are never charged with the crime. But in the end, the viewer is left wondering if Leto’s character was really the killer, leaving the identity of the true culprit a mystery. 

While talking to EW, Hancock shared that he wanted to create an ending that was “different” from the “formulaic ending” that is often included in crime dramas. When asked about Sparma’s true intentions when he led both cops to the desert, the director said, “I just tried to build in as many things pointing to his guilt as points to his innocence. I think there is an equal number of each in the script.”

He continued, “I can make an argument either way. I mean, he does say, ‘I’ve got to work tomorrow, come on let’s go,’ which is a hint that nothing's going to happen out there. If he was taking him out there to go and find a body, then he certainly wouldn't be going to work the next day. Or is he lying?”

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Back in early April, the film dominated the Netflix charts, clinging to the #1 spot for over a week. And that's not the only Denzel movie to stay in the top 10. Just this week, another of his films, The Equalizer, has been hovering around number seven on the list.

Netflix ranking aside, I still have so many questions.

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Assistant Editor, News And Entertainment

Karelle McKay is the Assistant Editor of News and Entertainment at PureWow. Before she started writing about all things pop culture, she was a literal couch potato who loved...