Did Henry Kill James in The Stranger? Ending, Explained

Netflix’s ‘The Stranger’ directed by Thomas M. Wright, is a crime thriller film based on a real-life murder case in Queensland, Australia. The film revolves around Mark Frame, an undercover police officer following Henry Teague, the prime suspect in an abduction case. However, as Mark grows closer to Henry and tries to get a confession out of him, he faces several ethical dilemmas. Moreover, there is no evidence to confirm that Henry killed the victim. Therefore, viewers must be looking for answers about Henry’s involvement in the kidnapping. If you seek an explanation about the ending of ‘The Stranger,’ here is everything you need to know! SPOILERS AHEAD!

The Stranger Plot Synopsis

‘The Stranger’ opens with Paul Emery forming a friendship with Henry Teague (Sean Harris), an unemployed former criminal. Paul leads Henry to Mark (Joel Edgerton), who works for a criminal syndicate. Mark offers Henry a job with the criminal organization on the condition that he is honest about his past. In reality, Mark is an undercover police officer who is tracking Henry, aka Prime Suspect 28, in an abduction case in Queensland.

The criminal organization relocated Paul as the police are searching for him. However, before leaving, Paul tells Henry to trust Mark and be honest with him. As a result, Mark and Henry start doing collection work for the organization and develop a friendship. Meanwhile, Detective Rylett is keeping tabs on Henry in an abduction case. Nearly eight years ago, a young boy, James Liston, went missing from the area where Henry was spotted around the same time the boy disappeared. The police interrogated Henry regarding James’ disappearance. However, Henry hides this information from Mark.

Soon, Mark introduces Henry to John, one of the higher members of the criminal organization. During his meeting with John, henry is forced to reveal his real name, Peter Morely. The information allows the police to connect Henry to another abduction case before James’ disappearance. As a result, Detective Rylett becomes convinced that Henry is responsible for James’ kidnapping. Therefore, the covert operations department set up a sting operation to get Henry to confess his crimes. They deliver henry a subpoena that freaks him out. Mark offers to help Henry dodge the criminal investigation with John’s help. However, Mark leads henry directly into the sting operation.

The Stranger Ending: Did Henry Kill James? Is He Arrested?

Henry meets John at a private property, hoping to avoid his legal issues. Henry insists that he has nothing to do with James’ disappearance. Henry passes his presence in the area from where James disappeared as a coincidence. However, John explains to Henry that he does not care about Henry’s involvement in the crime. He reveals that it is his job to look after the members of his criminal organization. The organization looks after itself and is an expert in relocating its members when facing legal issues. However, for John to help Henry, the latter must tell the truth so the organization can erase all evidence.

As a result, Henry decides to trust John and reveals he killed James. He details the events leading up to James’ kidnapping and eventual death. The police are shocked to learn that James is dead, and they never stand a chance of saving the young boy. The murder occurred immediately after the kidnapping, and Henry took all the precautions to hide the crime. Henry shows Mark the location where he killed James and erased the evidence. Meanwhile, Detective Rylett’s superiors refuse to release an arrest warrant based on the confession. Furthermore, there is no evidence to convict Henry as James’ dead body hasn’t been found. However, based on Henry’s involvement in a previous abduction and murder case, Henry is arrested by the police.

Does the Police Find Evidence Against Henry?

After obtaining Henry’s confession, the police receive a green signal to arrest him in relation to James’ murder. However, James’ body hasn’t been found, making it difficult for the police to convict Henry even if they arrest him. In the end, Henry leads Mark and Inspector Cross to the cabin where he killed the young boy. Henry reveals that he killed the boy, burned his clothes, and dumped some evidence in the lake near the cabin. After learning all the necessary details to help them find evidence against Henry, Mark calls the police, and Henry is arrested.

Henry’s arrest sparks a widespread search for forensic data and evidence to prove Henry’s guilt in a court of law. Detective Rylett leads a large team of forensic experts on an expedition surrounding the cabin. However, after several days of extensive research, the team cannot recover even a single shred of evidence linking Henry to James’ murder. The divers also fail to locate the body in the lake.

Since it has been nearly eight years since Henry killed James, it is unlikely that the team will find any evidence. However, in the film’s final moments, one forensic expert raises his hand, suggesting that they have discovered some evidence. Ultimately, it is safe to say that the police do find evidence against Henry that is enough to imprison the killer. In the real-life case on which the film is loosely based, the culprit, Brett Peter Cowan, was also arrested and convicted on charges of murder. Hence, it is safe to assume that Henry suffers a similar fate in the movie.

Read More: Where Was Netflix’s The Stranger Filmed?