Netflix’s Inheritance (2024) Ending, Explained: Who Murdered Wladyslaw?

Heeding a dying patriarch’s last request, a family of cousins gathers at their uncle’s mansion to collect the rewards from his will in the mystery thriller ‘Inheritance.’ As the family bickers and maneuvers their way into believing they deserve the spoils on their uncle’s death, a spanner is thrown into the works when they discover the man to be alive. Soon after, a murder plot and conspiracy theories threaten to sever the bond between the group unless they obey their uncle’s wishes and work together to stay alive. The promise of riches and expensive patents keep them forging on the path of selfishness, but, in the end, new revelations are brought into the light, which upheaves preexisting notions. While enemies become allies, the opposite happens as agendas are laid bare with past grievances attached. SPOILERS AHEAD.

Inheritance Plot Synopsis

After Wladyslaw, an aging inventor and patriarch, dies, a message is sent out to his estranged nephews and niece to visit and collect their share of the will. Upon receiving the request from his uncle, Dawid, a school teacher, heads to his mansion with his wife, Zosia, and his two children, Jozefina and Henryk. On the way, he meets his two cousins, Natalia and Karol, at a gas station. The former is a crime thriller novelist in a new relationship with her lover, Gustaw, while the latter is in a six-year-old relationship with his boyfriend, Karol, who coincidentally shares his name. As the three, accompanied by their prospective partners, race to Wladyslaw’s home, they are tingling with anticipation at receiving their uncle’s vast wealth.

However, upon arrival, the group is stunned to discover Wladyslaw’s plan to leave his hard-earned 10 million zloty with the local orphanage. Additionally, a further ripple passes through those gathered when their uncle reveals himself to be alive and well, thus rendering the will moot. The eccentric millionaire parades around the room, explaining his elaborate ploy to bring all his estranged family members under his roof by faking his death with the help of his butler. He urges them to forget about his wealth and concentrate on his various patents, which have accrued considerable value over the years. Wladyslaw plans to hold a game the following day with his guests as participants. The group, somewhat crestfallen at the convolution of the ordeal, heads off to sleep.

A new development in the morning spreads shock within the house’s halls – Wladyslaw’s body is found on the kitchen floor with a knife sticking out of his belly. Unable to decide if their uncle is really dead this time or amidst a new intricate ploy, they check on his vitals. The previous night, he had demonstrated a new bulletproof shirt he had crafted. Thus, the group is skeptical about how their uncle was stabbed when he had protection against any mortally wounding weapon. Tragically, though, they confirm that he is indeed dead, and the police are called in for an investigation. Wladyslaw’s butler is devastated by his master’s death, and he and Dawid greet the two investigators who drop by the house and declare the case to be a murder trial, with the main culprit being hidden among them.

Chaos ensues within the family and their relationships as they bicker and moan and attribute blame to each other. With their uncle confirmed dead, the two investigators inform the entire family that the will drafted earlier by Wladyslaw as a practical joke has a binding resolution now that he is no more. The group has little choice but to engage in their patriarch’s game to determine the outcome of his patents. Meanwhile, a series of interrogations are held by the police duo as they ascertain the identity of the killer by questioning the motives of those in the house. Several contentious truths emerge from these discussions but with no concrete conclusions. Everyone’s hidden agendas provide a murky version of events that muddies things further.

While the adults engage in their side of the story, the kids make their own discoveries. The first clue in Wladyslaw’s game is unraveled by Dawid’s son, Henryk, who had been traversing the house through secret corridors and hallways since the beginning. As the group descends into the bowels of the house into a room that is a recreation of their uncle’s game show “Wheel of Truth” from many years past, Dawid’s daughter, Jozefina, receives a call on her second phone from the police. Apparently, the real police are stranded in a snowdrift outside, casting aspersion onto the identity of the two masquerading as the law within their house.

Are the Two Robbers Arrested?

When the two policemen arrive at Wladyslaw’s mansion soon after his death, his butler comments about the swiftness of their response. They are dressed in casual clothing that is unusual for first responders in an emergency event. Also, on another significant note, there is no admittance on their part that they are the police. They never say it explicitly or state it overtly. There is no display of badges or confirmation of identities, which is general practice for the law if they are dealing with a difficult circumstance. In fact, they don’t even reveal their names. This is rectified much later when they hand out a shoddily conjured name out of thin air – Inspector Bednarski and Warrant Officer Gudejko.

The ruse of the fake police officers begins slipping when they take Natalia and Jozefina in for questioning. After a series of inquiries, the two stop pretending to be the law when they discover Jozefina’s second phone, which she had hidden. They halt the real police from showing up to their doorstep while revealing that an employer has tasked them to retrieve Wladyslaw’s patents. The presence of the family threw them off their course, forcing them to act as policemen while allowing the group to track down their uncle’s valuable patents for themselves. The plan is kept under wraps for the most part until Natalia consumes a candy laced with potent truth serum, which forces her to reveal their actual identities to the rest of the family.

As the family fights through the second part of Wladyslaw’s game, which is an escape room situation, they are met by the leader of the two hitmen. He threatens to kill Dawid’s son Henryk and the butler if the group doesn’t procure the patents. They race off into the third and final part of their uncle’s game, a labyrinth. They must navigate it while being linked with one another through specially designed handcuffs. After reaching the maze’s heart, Dawid and his relatives find a container holding the aforementioned patents. At the labyrinth’s exit, they are cornered by the main hitman again, forcing them to hand over their reward at gunpoint. However, their plans are foiled by Zosia’s swift kick to the groin while the other goon wanders around the maze lost. The real cops show up and arrest the two posers.

Thus, the two men, revealed to be fake law enforcement officers instigating and driving each member away from the other, are brought to justice. While Wladyslaw’s objective was to bring them together into one strong unit, the destructive duo’s manipulation forces were counterproductive to the family’s ultimate gain. Also, they had shown up because of Wladyslaw’s reputation and skill as an inventor. As he was an eccentric millionaire with great ideas and wealth, many of his enemies wanted a share of his spoils. Such was the case with the hitmen who had shown up at his doorstep right after his death. Fortunately for him, his family achieved their unity and were able to fight back in time.

Why was Wladyslaw Murdered?

Wladyslaw’s death is shrouded in mystery and intrigue throughout the story. Initially, it is believed to be the result of an accidental suicide. After the will-reading scene, the genius fools around by sticking a knife into his chest to display the bulletproof nature of his new shirt invention. Thus, the family believes he might have forgotten he had taken off the vest the same night and stuck a knife into himself. Although convincing to some extent, this line of thinking is ultimately false to the narrative. Wladyslaw’s death was the result of a murder that was linked to his past. It was committed by Gustaw, Natalia’s lover, in a fit of anger and rage. The man had specific ties to Natalia’s uncle, making his relationship with him venomous and hateful.

Many years ago, Wladyslaw hosted a game show called the “Wheel of Truth.” During one of the show’s latter episodes, a woman named Katarzyna was the contestant for the 1 billion zloty on offer as a reward for the show’s winner. As she reached her final question for the prize, Katarzyna fumbled her answer despite getting a visual cue from Wladyslaw, who pointed out the correct answer. Devastated by her loss, the woman would commit suicide, and the game show would be taken off air not long after. The grandson of the woman in question was Gustaw, who held a grudge against Wladyslaw for not helping his grandmother arrive at the correct answer and thus save her life. Her death resulted in his orphaning, which he harbored as a deep-seated anger against his tormentor.

When Gustaw became Natalia’s lover, he considered it an opportunity to get close to her uncle through her. Unexpectedly, though, he fell in love with her, which he had not banked on. Upon receiving the message that Wladyslaw had passed away and his will was now on offer for Natalia, Gustaw was relieved and glad to be rid of the dark blot in his life. However, he was awestruck when the uncle revealed his relatively healthy and excitable state after the will-reading. Wladyslaw knew about Gustaw’s origins and the grudge he held against him. Deep in the night before he was discovered dead, Wladyslaw had a conversation with Natalia’s boyfriend, trying to smooth out any differences and past hurt. Unfortunately, when the former refused to acknowledge that he had misled Katarzyna with her answer, Gustaw angrily stabbed him, not expecting to kill him because of the vest he had displayed earlier.

Therefore, the identity of Wladyslaw’s killer was always tied to his own past and his misgivings with money and riches. Katazyna’s death was provoked by her loss of riches on that final question, something that stuck with him since. In the end, Gustaw is caught by Henryk, Dawid’s son, who notices him mentioning Wladyslaw being stabbed even before he had seen the corpse lying in the kitchen. Henryk, Dawid, and the police conjure an elaborate ruse of arresting Natalia to force a confession out of him because of his devotion and love for her. However, despite the dark twist at the end, Gustaw marries Natalia in prison and lets go of his anger and grudge toward Wladyslaw, allowing him to heal. The uncle, despite losing his life, also achieves his goal of letting the young man move on with his life without holding on to hate.

What Happened to the Patents? Who Gets the Inheritance?

Wladyslaw’s riches form the crux of the narrative agency in the film. While Dawid, Natalia, and Karol arrive at his home seeking the resolution of his will and what he had left behind for his nephews and niece, the genius uncle is always one step ahead. The considerable wealth at his disposal, while essential in helping him build and invent new things, is ultimately a fool’s errand. Saddened by the estranged state of his relatives, he makes an elaborate plan to gather them under one roof to hash out their differences and strengthen their bonds. All of this is done under the guise of gaining some financial rewards. Wladyslaw knows that family, unity, genuine friendship, loyalty, and love are far nobler qualities than the allure of some gold. However, he is also a crafty man with plans within plans.

During the first night, when his will is read out, their uncle’s butler reveals to the gathered family that the inheritance money – amounting to around 10 million zloty – is being distributed to an orphanage. While the will is a practical joke at this point, after Wladyslaw’s death, this becomes the destination for his money. The worthwhile cause is disappointing to the group who wish to have a share in the cake, but it highlights the eccentric millionaire’s main belief that money isn’t the reason for happiness for most people. Meanwhile, the patents, which the family tries very hard to locate, are also inert. After the two hitmen are arrested, they unlock the container with Wladyslaw’s purported patents, only to discover it barren and empty.

In a video left for the family to watch after the event of his death, he states that patents are stored in his head or maybe somewhere else. Early in the proceedings, Wladyslaw hands Henryk a custom-built Rubik’s cube, which he urges the boy to solve instead of his normal one. The brief interaction is a fleeting moment in the film with profound repercussions. While helping his family realize the importance of their relationships, the uncle has a trick up his sleeve once they sort out their lives. As Dawid speculates, the patents might surface one day, albeit when and how, he cannot tell; near the end of the film, on a drive, Henryk solves the Rubik’s cube left by his grandfather. Unlocking it discloses a small USB drive hidden inside its compartment, thus revealing that, as Wladyslaw planned, the patents had been stored somewhere else.

Thus, in his own way, the older man achieves his crafty plan to bring the family together emotionally and as a united pack that doesn’t always bicker. At the same time, he leaves his patents to them and Dawid’s son, knowing that once they have managed harmony, they are less likely to fight over things with one another, as tends to happen in families with riches. The ultimate goal is the lesson, not the material rewards, although in the case of ‘Inheritance,’ it is both. When morality has been restored among the Fortuna family, fortunes and riches are a by-product of their prosperity, which they must share.

Read more: Netflix’s Inheritance (2024): Exploring All Shooting Locations