Criminal Record Finale: Who Killed Adelaide Burrowes and Stefan Ash?

Apple TV+’s ‘Criminal Record’ started with a mysterious phone call and snowballed into something much bigger that made June Lenker question the system she is a part of. From the call, she discovers that a man named Errol Mathis is wrongfully serving time in prison for the murder of his fiancée Adelaide Burrowes. When she tries to help Errol through proper channels, she is shut down by her superior, Daniel Hegarty. In the end, however, the truth comes to light. Still, it leaves a few questions for Lenker. SPOILERS AHEAD

Criminal Record Episode 8 Recap

Following Hegarty’s recounting of the investigation into Adelaide’s murder and how he settled on Errol being the murderer, Lenker questions if all loose ends of his investigation were tied up. She tells him about Mostapha Demir and how they had missed him during the investigation, but later, Lenker not only found him but also confirmed Errol’s alibi through him.

Meanwhile, the audio of the emergency caller is leaked by Sonya and draws public support for catching the real killer and letting Errol go. When Lenker points out another hole in Hegarty’s investigation, he is forced to accept that someone in his team was careless with checking up on all details, and this is why the real murderer was still out there.

Criminal Record Finale Ending: Is Adelaide Burrowes Murderer Caught?

When Adelaide Burrowes was killed, her case was closed pretty soon, with her fiancé, Errol Mathis, being arrested and convicted for the crime. It was Errol’s confession that turned the tide against him, but eventually, the truth comes out when an emergency caller reveals that her abusive boyfriend is the one who murdered Adelaide and had Errol framed. She also reveals that her boyfriend is “protected,” and Lenker assumes that it means he is one of the cops. Later, however, it turns out that it is one of the informants.

While Hegarty claims there were no holes in his investigation and he arrested Errol because the man was guilty, he soon realizes that the investigation was, in fact, botched, if not by him, then by Tony. At the time, fingerprints were collected from the crime scene and run through the database. They had to interview everyone on the list to cross them off based on their alibis. One of the names on the list was Stefan Ash, the owner of the apartment that Adelaide and Errol rented. This meant that he had a key and complete access to the apartment.

Ash should have been interviewed, but he was an informant for Tony, so instead of giving him up, Tony decided to protect his assets. He crossed his name off the list, claiming Ash had been interviewed and checked. With the real murderer out of the equation, all suspicion turned towards Errol, and eventually, he took the heat for it. Meanwhile, Ash enjoyed the protection of his cop friends, and this made him feel even more invincible. He thought that he could get away with murder because of his position as an informant, which is why he was bold enough to keep abusing women like his wife and Carla and even confess his guilt in Adelaide’s death in front of Carla.

Ash thought the cops would never come for him, but he didn’t anticipate someone like Lenker. Once Hegarty discovers the mistake, he immediately tries to fix it, and Lenker, knowing he will be evasive, decides to keep an eye on every step of the investigation. When Hegarty tells her Ash owns a lot of buildings, it becomes clear that they must search all of his properties. Eventually, they find him in one of those buildings, along with Carla and her young son, who is traumatized by Ash and the things he did to them.

Is Stefan Ash Dead?

Even when caught, Stefan Ash thinks he will be let go. He believes that his position as an informant makes him indispensable. If that’s not enough, he has other things to keep him protected. He warns Hegarty that once he goes to the station and is interrogated, he won’t hesitate to reveal everything he knows. This doesn’t just mean his role in Adelaide’s death. It also means everything he has on dirty cops like Tony and even Hegarty. His career as an informant has kept him updated on everything.

Hegarty seems aware of the threat and what it might mean for him, but he doesn’t let Ash go. But then, Hegarty is not the only cop Ash has dirt on. Who knows what else he knew about whom and what his level of protection actually meant? It seems unlikely that he relied only on Tony and Hegarty to keep him safe. It is possible that he passed information to some other cop as well, possibly someone higher up the ladder. If he was passing them info, then there is a good chance that he had dirt on them, too.

Perhaps that person didn’t want Ash to divulge all their secrets, but they couldn’t let him go either because of the heat Adelaide and Errol’s case had. If Ash were not made to answer for his crimes then the public would have been outraged, and this isn’t something the police department could afford. While they couldn’t not arrest Ash, they couldn’t have him testify either. So, they decided to kill him on the way before he had any chance to speak and expose anyone. After Ash is taken away, we see Kim calling someone. This proves that he was, in fact, much like Tony, in league with the people who didn’t want someone like Ash to spew their secrets and lies and endanger them.

Is Hegarty Corrupt? What did Patrick’s “I’ll Knock You Flat” Mean?

All through ‘Criminal Record,’ one of the questions that Lenker and the audience struggle with is about Hegarty’s guilt. Was he corrupt and framed Errol because of his prejudice and the lapse in investigation? Or was he just going through a difficult time and missed the signs because he trusted Tony and the others to do their jobs? By the end, it looks like Hegarty made some wrong choices, but he really did think he had the right man down for Adelaide’s murder. He really did think that Errol did it, and in the end, Errol too, confessed.

What bothers Lenker is why Errol confessed and why, when he later recanted the confession, he did not tell anyone about Hegarty taking him back to the apartment and forcing him to confess without a lawyer present. Errol says it was because Hegarty played him the recording of Patrick, in which the boy said that he had heard Errol and Adelaide fighting and he heard Errol say, “I’ll knock you flat.” Because Errol had lost memories of that day, he couldn’t confirm whether or not he said that. But if Patrick said he said it, then Errol believed it must be so.

So, it was due to that recording that Errol decided he must be the culprit and confessed. But he never understood how he could say such a thing. This led Lenker to look for the recording, and when she heard it clearly, again and again, she realized where the “I’ll knock you flat” came from. It wasn’t from Patrick’s memory but from a cartoon he was watching on the TV at the same time Hegarty was interviewing him. It all got mixed up, and while Hegarty knew Patrick used that phrase from the cartoon, he made it look like Patrick had said it in context with Errol.

This raises a question about Hegarty’s intentions. If he really was the kind of person to focus on details, as he claimed, and sent Errol to prison because he really thought the evidence was against him, then how does he explain manipulating Patrick’s words for Errol? Why did he force Errol to confess? This shows that while Hegarty may not have known about Stefan Ash being the real killer, he was prejudiced and incompetent enough to let Errol, an innocent man, take the fall for Adelaide’s mother. This proves that Hegarty isn’t exactly made of gold. He has been corrupt on some level and is smart enough to cover his track so he doesn’t have to face the consequences.

It is Hegarty’s shrewdness that he puts Tony’s head on the line when it comes to giving a scapegoat to the investigators for the botched investigation in the murder of Adelaide Burrowes. This also means that Hegarty must have known, or at least had a hint, about Tony and him burying the lead on Ash. How could he have not known all that? If he weren’t that smart, he wouldn’t have voluntarily given up the confession tape. He had enough connections to ensure that whoever analyzed the tape would declare the results in his favor, and that is exactly what happened.

Hegarty wouldn’t have bothered catching Stefan Ash if Carla’s call to the emergency services and the revelation that Errol Mathis was innocent and in prison hadn’t been leaked. If it hadn’t invited the public furor that it did, Hegarty wouldn’t have minded letting Stefan Ash go. But because of the public pressure, he had to have Ash arrested. But then, he also knew he couldn’t let Ash talk. So, he and the higher-ups he is in league with decided to kill Ash on the way. Hegarty took a bullet, but it wasn’t anything he couldn’t survive. Moreover, taking a bullet increased his credibility and removed him from the list of suspects in the murder of Stefan Ash. All of this proves that Hegarty is cunning and calculating and knows just how to keep himself clean while all the dirty work is done by others.

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