Hierarchy End Credit Scene: Who Dies?

‘Hierarchy’ is a Netflix K-Drama revolving around a highly upper-class private school and the scandals unraveling within its walls. The show centers around three distinct characters embroiled in a tense love triangle. Jae-i and Ri-an— two Chaebol heirs and high school sweethearts— find their relationship crumbling due to the former’s deep-held secret. As such, the arrival of Kang Ha, a scholarship student who refuses to play by Jooshin High School’s elitist rules, further complicates the situation after he catches Jae-i’s eye. Nevertheless, the trio’s connection with each other isn’t limited to a romance, especially since Kang Ha’s primary motivations lie in unveiling the truth behind the mysterious death of a previous scholarship student, Kang In-han.

The series charts a riveting tale ripe with betrayals, conspiracies, and social commentary on class disparity, bringing its season 1 narrative to a conclusive end within its seven-episode run. Even so, the storyline sports one last trick up its sleeve as the finale brings an end-credit scene that flips the script on its axis, inviting the viewers’ intrigue. SPOILERS AHEAD!

A New Death Is Discovered Within Jooshin’s Classroom

At the end of ‘Hierarchy’ season 1, Jooshin undergoes numerous changes. For one, Kang Ha’s investigation into his twin brother In-han’s mysterious death leads to the unraveling of various issues within the institution. Moreover, it also brings a subtle change in the mentality of several elite students, who previously thought themselves invincible due to their parents’ wealth. Kang Ha’s delivery of consequences for In-han’s death ensures that scholarship students are no longer blatantly treated as the punching bags for the rich kids. Therefore, there is an intrinsic shift in the social dynamic within the private school by the end.

However, the peace of such a change promise can only persist for so long in a place like Jooshin High School. Sometime after the police interrogate the students and the ensuing management change occurs, new trouble overtakes the halls of Jooshin. While arriving for an early class, He-ra discovers the dead body of a student, covered in his own blood. Shortly afterward, a crowd assembles around the body as every student watches on in horror.

At the same time, Ri-an’s phone buzzes with a text message that reads, “You look shaken up, Kim Ri-an,” sent from an anonymous sender. Consequently, despite the recent changes that have occurred in the school, Jooshin finds itself in a very familiar place: a dead body and an anonymous puppeteer targeting the unofficial royalty of the institution. However, where In-han’s death was an indirect result of the school’s toxic environment, the second murder seems much more intentional, as if specifically targeting the culture within Jooshin High School.

Who Is The Victim?

Since the final reveal of the newest murder of a Jooshin High School student arrives in the show’s post-credits, the narrative doesn’t linger on the events. Instead, it utilizes the murder as a setup for a possible second season. Still, a few clues have been placed within the short scene. The most obvious one emerges from the peculiar editing that alternates between shots of Kang Ha happily walking down a corridor while Ri-an horrifically examines the crime scene. During this time, Kang Ha can be seen smiling down on his phone while Ri-an receives the ominous text.

Kang Ha’s sudden turn into a homicidal killer would be a jarring development in his character arc. However, one can read the scene as an implication that the death will lead to friction between the rich and scholarship kids, tearing apart the momentary peace that Kang Ha has instilled within the school. Similarly, as the identity of the killer remains hidden, so does the identity of the victim. In fact, the camera intentionally avoids revealing the color of the student’s tie, which would have helped in dissecting whether the kid is on a scholarship or not. Thus, ultimately, the victim’s identity remains hidden, stoking the viewers’ curiosity to ensure they return for the series’ potential continuation.

Read More: Netflix’s Hierarchy Ending, Explained