Eric: Is Lennie Dead? Why Does He Kill Himself?

In Netflix’s ‘Eric,’ the investigation into the disappearance of a 9-year-old boy named Edgar unravels the lives of the people with any connection to him. It begins with his parents, whose marriage had already been on the brink of breaking up, and completely shatters under the pressure of the case. The case also starts to affect the lead detective, who had already been grappling with the helplessness of not having been able to solve a previous case, which somehow ties into Edgar’s disappearance. As the detective pulls at the connecting threads, the impact falls on all the people in the vicinity, with some becoming collateral damage. Lennie is one of those people. SPOILERS AHEAD

A Mistake From Lennie’s Past Haunts Him to Death

When looking at the bigger picture of things, Lennie never really fit into any of it. He just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. For a while, he thought he’d escaped the consequences of the bad timing, but more than eleven months later, the thing unexpectedly comes back to haunt him, and he pays the price with his life, even though he never really had anything to do with the disappearance of any kid.

Lennie is introduced to the audience as the friend and coworker of Edgar’s father, Vincent Anderson. They work together for ‘Good Day Sunshine!’ a puppet show for kids. At work, Lennie is mostly occupied with keeping Vincent in check while making sure they have something to keep the show going, especially when the network starts to pressure them to keep up with the changing times and improve their numbers. In their personal life, Lennie harbors a secret about his sexuality, as Detective Ledroit does.

The story takes place in the 1980s in New York, which was not a good time to be a non-straight person. With the AIDS epidemic on the rise and the general social stigma on homosexuality, it would have been impossible for Lennie to be openly gay and remain employed at the network, leading a show for kids. Like most other people at the time, he had to remain in the closet and make sure that he never came out of it. But such life can take a toll on a person, and in a desperate bid to live their life, a person can often end up in a place they shouldn’t be.

Lennie made the mistake of visiting a club called The Sierra. It was run by Alexander Gator, who was later arrested and went to prison for pedophilia, among other things. The club was a hub for illegal activities, and the involvement of teenagers in sex work made it a particularly nasty place. It is unclear whether Lennie was a regular at a place and if he actually indulged in the illegal practices of the establishment. What is clear is that Lennie was there when the cops raided the place and exposed all sorts of things in it. Files were created of all the people arrested on the spot, even if they weren’t charged with anything and were let go.

The Sierra was shut down, and with the heat around it dying quickly, Lennie thought he didn’t have to worry about anything. But then, eleven months later, while looking for Edgar and believing his disappearance to have a connection with a new nightclub called The Lux, run by the same man who ran The Sierra, Ledroit dug up the files of all the people who were found at Sierra that night. When Lennie’s name came up, Ledroit talked with him about Edgar and Marlon Rochelle. He knew Lennie didn’t have anything to do with the disappearances, but he hoped the man would throw a crumb that could be followed to something more meaningful. Ledroit’s intuition worked, and Lennie pointed him towards a kid who gave Ledroit important information about Marlon, who eventually helped crack the case.

When Marlon’s case was solved, it threw light on a lot of important people and brought back the heat around The Sierra. While the media focused on names like Richard Costello and Bruno di Bari, they didn’t fail to mention that Lennie had also been brought in by the police that night. With his name all over the news and the truth about his sexuality and his liaisons coming to light, an already struggling Lennie realized that he was done for. Following this debacle, he would be fired from his job, and he better than to hope that he would find work at some other network. His life would forever be tainted by a label, and people would always see him in a different light. He felt extremely hopeless thinking about his bleak future, and this wasn’t something he couldn’t live with. So, he jumped out of his apartment’s window.

While the show doesn’t confirm his death, it is clear that he is not coming back to ‘Good Day Sunshine!’ His puppet is left in a corner, which Vincent looks at with sadness. Had Lennie lived, there would have been some reference to him, especially with Vincent trying to get his life back on track and mending the bridges he thought he’d completely burnt. Lennie was one of the people he would have liked to get back on good terms with, but the fact that we don’t hear about him and he is only referenced as his puppet confirms that Lennie didn’t survive the fall and died.

Read More: Where is Netflix’s Eric Filmed? Exploring All the Locations