‘Operation Hyacinth’ is a beautifully crafted Polish crime drama film set in the 1980s. Robert (Tomasz Zietek) is a young and brilliant militia officer in Communist Warsaw. He is set to marry a colleague, Halinka (Adrianna Chlebicka), and gets accepted into the officers’ academy at the start of the film. However, most of the choices in his life are made by his father, Edward (Marek Kalita), a high-ranking officer in the Secret Police. Robert and his partner Nogaś investigate the murder of a wealthy individual, but the case is abruptly closed when a suspect confesses after being severely tortured.
When more murders occur, and all the victims are revealed to be members of the gay community, Robert decides to continue his investigation, disregarding the regime’s orders. In the process, he ends up recognizing certain aspects of himself. Here is everything you need to know about the ending of ‘Operation Hyacinth.’ SPOILERS AHEAD.
Operation Hyacinth Plot Synopsis
In the 1980s, Operation Hyacinth — the Communist regime’s attempt to create a national database on members of the gay community — is in full swing. Robert and Nogaś are assigned to find a suspect for the murder of an affluent man named Adam Gregorczyk, not just because they are good at their job, but because their Commander can trust Nogaś. Their investigation leads them to a villa in the outskirts of the city, where Robert and Nogaś find a homemade videotape of men having sex.
It is revealed that Robert’s enrolment to the officer’s academy happened because of his father. Edward more or less controls at least the professional aspect of his son’s life. That begins to change when Robert meets Arek (Hubert Milkowski) during a police raid. Arek is a student at a local university. He is beautiful, brilliant, and most importantly, free. Initially, Robert tries to use Arek by gathering information from him that helps the officer make real progress in the investigation.
Robert and Nogaś locate Kamil (Piotr Trojan), a man who was an acquaintance of Gregorczyk. During the interrogation, Kamil reveals that another member of the gay community, Adrian Sobolew, was fatally stabbed before Gregorczyk, but no one cared about his death. Nogaś tortures Kamil and draws a confession out of the latter man. As Robert begins to realize that there is a connection between the deaths of Gregorczyk and Sobolew, he visits Kamil in prison and discovers that he has seemingly hanged himself to death.
As Robert starts to suspect that a serial killer is exclusively targeting gays, the department officially closes the case. Robert tries to convince his father that the real murderer hasn’t been caught yet, but he is told to follow the orders he has been given. Desperate to find some answers, he continues to meet up with Arek, who introduces him to the community.
Because of Operation Hyacinth, the community has been forced to go underground. Robert makes new friends among them, and a deep bond begins to form between him and Arek, which soon turns romantic. Predictably, Robert initially denies these emotions and tries to assert a false sense of masculinity by instigating an aggressive sexual encounter with Halinka. However, the latter sees through his actions and realizes that they are rooted in desperation.
She stops him and asks him why he is behaving the way he is. However, Robert doesn’t have an answer to that question yet. After one of their friends gets attacked, Robert and Arek — both vulnerable and seeking comfort — sleep with each other. The following morning, Edward tells his son that he and Nogaś will receive awards for solving the Gregorczyk case.
Operation Hyacinth Ending: Who Is the Killer?
The killer is revealed to be the henchman working for an unnamed top officer of Milicja Obywatelska (Citizen’s Militia or Simply, MO). Before killing himself, Professor Mettler tells Robert that he was blackmailed into co-operation by the MO, heavily implying that he too was a victim of Operation Hyacinth. He subsequently recruited several students of his university, the same institution where Arek studies.
Having seen Arek leaving Robert’s room, Edward figures out his son’s sexual identity and brings Arek in for questioning. This leads to a wonderful moment during which Robert stands up to his father for the first time in his life. He later retrieves the videotape from earlier from his father’s office. This time, he watches the full video and discovers that the top MO officer he saw at his father’s office a few days back is one of the active participants in a sex party.
When Robert goes to get the award, he receives it from the same officer. The system depicted in the film is so corrupt that Edward knowingly protects a superior officer even though the man has orchestrated multiple murders. The officer and his henchman are exclusively targeting the gay men who were at the party to maintain his anonymity.
Edward gives the officer information about Arek, who was also at the party, and pleads to him to spare his son. In response, the officer assures the father that Robert is Edward’s responsibility. Overhearing all this, Robert follows the henchman to prevent him from killing Arek. In the ensuing struggle, the henchman dies.
Will Robert and Arek Ever Reunite?
After the henchman’s death, Robert convinces Arek to run away after promising him that he will find him later. The film ends as police sirens get closer to Robert. He probably knows that his immediate future is quite bleak. His father has power within the Communist regime, but even he will not be able to protect his son if that MO officer comes after him. And he definitely will, as Robert has helped a witness of his indiscretion to escape.
Without his father’s protection, Robert’s life is most likely in serious jeopardy. While the officer might not kill Robert on his own, he probably has no dearth of potential henchmen and can replace the one he lost with another. However, if Robert manages to survive, he and Arek might reunite in the future.
Read More: Is Operation Hyacinth Based on a True Story?