Set in 2008 in Manhattan, New York, ‘Inheritance’ (2020) is a trap-door thriller film with an unorthodox plotline. The story revolves around Lauren Monroe (Lily Collins), a Manhattan district attorney on the verge of winning a big case. After her father’s sudden death, she discovers that he has left her 1/20 of the inheritance to what he left her brother, William (Chace Crawford).
The real surprise. however, comes when her father’s lawyer, Harold (Michael Beach), takes her aside and gives her an envelope. In it, she finds a USB device with a video in it and a bracelet door lock. In the video, her father. Archer (Patrick Warburton), speaks of a mistake he made and tells Lauren to take it to her grave. Feeling both curious and dread, Lauren follows her father’s instructions to a secret underground bunker, where she finds a man named Morgan Warner (Simon Pegg), who claims that Archer had kept him prisoner there for 30 years because of their shared dark past. Here is everything you need to know about the ending of ‘Inheritance.’ SPOILERS AHEAD.
Inheritance Plot Synopsis
The film begins as Lauren comes close to winning a case against an investment banking company that has defrauded billions of dollars from its clients. Meanwhile, William is an incumbent Congressman and is running for re-election. In this crucial moment for the family, the patriarch dies. Initial findings say heart attack, though William remarks at one point to Lauren that their father was healthier than him. After the funeral, wake, and everything else are done, Harold reads Archer’s will. He left his wife Catherine (Connie Nelson) his estate. He gave William $20 million, but to Lauren, he set aside only a million. The rest of the family, including Lauren’s husband Scott (Marque Richardson), is upset. As for Lauren, it seems that she has been expecting something like this.
Lauren and Archer’s relationship have been far from perfect. Archer was a banker and didn’t like the idea of his daughter going after his friends. He also didn’t like that she chose to be a district attorney and not go into private practice and blamed Scott for it. After finding out about Morgan, a horrified Lauren realizes this is her real inheritance. In the video, Archer even explicitly states that he wanted her to shoulder the burden because she was the eldest.
When she first finds Morgan, he is an unconscious, grimy mess. There is a collar around his neck that is fastened to the wall by a chain. There is a white line on the floor, indicating the prisoners’ reach. When Lauren demands to know who he is, Morgan makes his own demands, including a bottle of 30-Year-old scotch, aged for every year of his captivity. He seems to possess an uncanny amount of knowledge about the Monroe family for a man claiming to be locked away for three decades.
Lauren is unlike the rest of the Monroe family. If William had found Morgan, he wouldn’t have given a second thought before throwing away the key. But Lauren is inherently a good person who wants to do good things for people. It’s one of the reasons that she became a district attorney, along with the fact that she knew it would anger her father. At the same time, she sought Archer’s approval because it really mattered that her father was proud of her accomplishments.
The next time Lauren comes into the bunker, she brings everything the man asked, so he starts talking. He tells her that his name is Morgan Warner, and he has been in the bunker since the night he witnessed her father accidentally killing a man while driving under the influence of alcohol. Morgan claims that Archer buried the dead man’s body before knocking him out and putting him in the bunker. Over the years, Archer began to use him as a confessor, sharing all his deepest darkest secrets.
Inheritance Ending: Why Did Archer Keep Morgan Captive for 30 Years?
After learning what Morgan has to say, Lauren initially refuses to believe it. But then Morgan begins to provide her with proof of things he knows. He tells Lauren about Sofia Flore, her father’s mistress and the mother of his secret son, Alex. She also learns her father had set up Sofia an account with the very people she is now prosecuting. He then leads her to the location where Archer buried the body of the unfortunate pedestrian. Furthermore, Morgan reveals that Archer helped William in bribing union leaders, an accusation that has been circulating the incumbent Congressman. Lauren confronts her brother, who admits the truth.
All these things culminate in Lauren deciding to let Morgan go. With Harold’s help, she sets up an account for a million dollars at Cayman’s island for Morgan and charters a private plane to take him there. She also gives him an additional $100,000 in cash and warns him of dire consequences if he ever returns.
Meanwhile, Lauren sent Morgan’s fingerprints to her detective friend. The results finally return, but Catherine is the one who sees them first. Lauren hasn’t said anything yet to the rest of her family. Catherine panics seeing the photo of Morgan. She reveals to Lauren that the man’s real name is Carson, and he raped her 30 years earlier. Later, Morgan / Carson captures both Lauren and Catherine. It turns out that after discovering what Carson did to Catherine, Archer beat him up and was driving him to the police when he hit the pedestrian. Knowing he couldn’t go to the police, he kept the other man in the bunker.
How Did Archer Die? Did Morgan / Carson Kill Him?
At the start of the film, while holding a press conference about the case, Lauren learns that her father was found dead in the family’s summer house. As mentioned above, the cause of death is found to be a heart attack. However, in the climactic scene, Carson reveals that he collected some of the poison that Archer had gotten to kill him and injected him with it while they were playing chess.
Unfortunately for Carson, Archer managed to get up and leave the bunker before dying. When Carson began to fear that he had lost his chance of leaving the bunker, Lauren showed up. Because of Archer’s abrupt death, he didn’t get to tell his daughter who Carson really was, and the latter realized this when he first met Lauren and took advantage, telling her a story in which he appears to be the victim.
Is Morgan / Carson Dead?
Yes, Carson is dead. The early bit of his story appears to be true. He was friends with Archer, and that’s how he knew about Sofia. The part about him being Archer’s confessor also seems to be true. He wouldn’t have the intimate knowledge he has about the Monroes. He told the truth about the pedestrian and where the man’s body was hidden. However, he used all those morsels of truth to hide exactly why he was in the bunker.
Ultimately, it seems that Archer didn’t kill Carson because he chose a worse fate for the man — to rot away in that bunker with the knowledge that the world forgot about him. It’s a case of perfect irony that Catherine is the one who kills Carson. Right after Carson tells Lauren that he is her father, Catherine puts several bullets into him. Carson’s once victim finally gets her due. Afterward, Lauren and Catherine burn the bunker with Carson’s body and everything else. He has been dead for 30 years; it’s not like someone will look for him after this.
Who Is Lauren’s Father?
In the seconds before Catherine shoots him, Carson claims he is Lauren’s biological father. Later, Catherine doesn’t exactly deny this. Instead, she assures Lauren that she is a Monroe. This likely refers to her upbringing and not paternity. When they found out about the pregnancy 30 years ago, Archer and Catherine likely had doubts, and it’s possible that they had the paternity test done. So, yes, Carson is Lauren’s father.
In the end, Archer brought her up as his daughter. His contention with her wasn’t that she was the child of his wife’s rapist. We get the strong implication that Archer never held Carson’s sins against Lauren. Instead, he was disappointed because she wasn’t as ruthless and ambitious as him. Although he celebrated her victories, he believed she could do more. Perhaps this is why he left her such a “small” amount (at least compared to her brother) in his will.
Read More: Where was Inheritance (2020) Filmed?