Ripley: Why Did Tom Ripley Kill Freddie Miles?

Image Credit: Philippe Antonello/Netflix

Greed and obsession lead to lies and murder in Netflix’s ‘Ripley.’ Starring Andrew Scott in the lead role, the show follows the misadventures of Tom Ripley, whose story begins with an unexpected job that paves the way for a journey that completely transforms his life. Mistaken by a wealthy businessman for his son’s friend from college, Tom is sent to Italy to bring Dickie Greenleaf back home. However, ditching the task he was hired to do, he is consumed by the desire to have what Dickie has.

Tom’s hunger for the wealthy lifestyle enjoyed by Dickie and his friends leads him to kill people, one of whom is Freddie Miles. Considering that they only meet twice in the entire show, it feels a bit off on Tom’s part to kill him. Why did he do it? Why did he have to get Freddie out of the way? SPOILERS AHEAD

Freddie Miles’s Death was Essential to Ripley’s Survival

A liar never stops at just one lie, and no one knows the importance of telling a good lie than Tom Ripley. As we follow him on a tumultuous, often disturbing, journey, we see his lies start to pile up in a heap that seems too big to get away with. A desperate Ripley throws more lies on top of them, hoping to make up for it somehow, but someone is bound to notice it eventually, and Freddie Miles happens to be one of those people.

When Ripley insinuated himself in Dickie Greenleaf’s life, there were some who didn’t immediately accept Ripley as their friend. Dickie’s girlfriend, Marge, was suspicious of Tom at first sight, especially after she discovered that Tom was using Dickie’s father’s money and basically cheating Mr. Greenleaf. She also understands that Tom is using Dickie for his money, and something about him ticks her off. Tom explains it away as jealousy on her part, but she is not the only one who doesn’t like him. Freddie Miles also detests Tom Ripley as soon as they meet, and the feeling is pretty mutual.

At first, their meeting is nothing more than a few minutes, but it has such an impact on Freddie that he tells Dickie not to bring Tom with him to Cortina. Later, when Dickie goes missing, and none of his friends have heard from him, Freddie tracks down Dickie’s address in Rome and is surprised to find Tom Ripley instead. Distrustful of him, Freddie is attentive to every detail around him. He notices everything, which makes Tom very conscious. But somehow, he convinces Freddie that Dickie is simply not at home and that Freddie should seek him outside.

Tom’s plan almost works, but Freddie’s suspicions lead him to talk to the landlady, who tells him that she saw Dickie Greenleaf going to his apartment, and suddenly everything clicks for Freddie. He remembers the chat he had with the guy through which Tom had been introduced in their circle and realizes that Tom’s specialty is forging signatures and arranging for things you couldn’t get otherwise. Tom is a career criminal, so what does it mean if Dickie has not been seen for weeks and Tom Ripley is living in the apartment under his name?

As soon as Freddie realizes what is going on, he goes back to the apartment and confronts Tom. He lays down the whole situation in front of him, making it clear that he will be going to the authorities with this, and demands to know what has happened to Dickie. By the end, it is clear to Tom that if he doesn’t stop Freddie, then everything he has worked for will be ruined. All the lies he told, and the blood he shed, all the trouble he went through in becoming Dickie Greenleaf will come undone. Considering this, there is no option but to kill Freddie.

It is a mistake, born of overconfidence, on Freddie’s part that he doesn’t approach the cops first when he discovers that Tom is impersonating Dickie. Had he done so, Tom Ripley’s story would have ended then and there. Instead, Freddie doesn’t relay this info to anyone else and meets Tom alone in his apartment. As soon as he reaches the door to leave, Tom hits him repeatedly and kills him on the spot. If he hadn’t done so, his life would have been over.

Read More: Ripley: Is Dickie’s Body Ever Found?