Stay Close Ending, Explained: Who is the Killer?

Created by Harlan Coben based on the author’s eponymous bestselling novel, ‘Stay Close’ is an intricate and captivating crime drama limited series that keeps you on the edge of your seat. After a traumatic episode on the carnival night 17 years ago, Cassie has changed her name and identity. However, old wounds open up when she visits her old workplace for closure. Stewart Green went missing on the day Cassie left her old life.

With the disappearance of Carlton Flynn in the same month, the police try to find a pattern. Down and out, detective Broome and his ex-wife Erin discover a possible serial killer on the horizon, but the killer may be closer to the home than they can imagine. The tale is an intricate puzzle, and some aspects may elude you. If you seek to explore the story’s ending in greater detail, let us dissect the finale. SPOILERS AHEAD.

Stay Close Recap

Before the happily married life with average Dave, Megan, or Cassie, was a working girl in the strip club Vipers. She left the scene without saying her goodbyes, and now the past seeps back into the present with the sudden reappearance of Stewart Green. The words on the street make her worry that her carefully constructed life is about to fall apart. On April 17, on the eve of the Carnival, she goes back to the strip club and meets her old friend Lorraine.

Megan’s daughter Kayleigh follows her into the nightclub. At the party or the Carnival, Kayleigh and her friend, Bea, encounter Carlton Flynn. He spikes their drinks while Bea exchanges the glasses. On that day, Carlton Flynn goes missing. While on the case of Carlton Flynn’s disappearance, world-weary detective Broome discovers that Stewart Green went missing around the same time in April. He speculates whether there can be a serial killer behind the disappearances.

Following Lorraine’s advice, Megan meets drug-addled lawyer Harry Sutton in his den Hannibal Animals. When some of Harry’s associates coerce her for money, she is met with hostility, but Cassie shows remarkable kicking skills. She flees the scene. With the reappearance of Ray Levine, the mystery deepens. Following her abusive relationship with Stewart Green, Megan embarked upon a liaison with Ray, a photographer who suffers blackouts.

The police discover that Carlton Flynn was seeing Tawny Allure around that time. Meanwhile, Tawny Allure goes back home from work to meet her doom. A dancing assassin couple, Ken and Barbie, eliminate Allure, and one of their dance numbers follows. Elsewhere, Dave deliberately drowns a car, and we realize he is not letting everything out. On the other hand, Broome goes back to Vipers to distribute missing person leaflets despite hostility from the club. He hits it off with Lorraine in the process, and Erin keeps snarking about it. After Tawny Allure, the assassin duo dispatch Harry.

Meanwhile, following the discovery of a corpse, that of Guy Tatum, the mystery veers off the course. The possible suspects in this whodunit include Dave, Ray, and even Megan herself. However, as it often happens, the killer turns out to be someone nobody would suspect in the first place. After meeting with Surya Jaiswal from the social media detective agency Pink Poirot, Broome realizes that Stewart Green, Carlton Flynn, Guy Tatum, Zain Kaleed, Jacob Farrell, Stephen Clarkson, and others disappeared in April, on the day of the Carnival.

Although Ray is not a killer, according to his close buddy Fester, his blackout episodes entail waking up all covered in blood. Fester divulges that Ray appeared on his doorstep covered in blood following Stewart Green’s disappearance. It is revealed that Barbie and Ken are appointed by Carlton Flynn’s father, Del Flynn, to cause the bloodbath. Meanwhile, we realize that corrupt cop Goldberg is in league with the perpetrators. In the end, the police hit the jackpot in the woods with skeletons of 15 dead bodies in a bunker. However, Stewart Green and Carlton Flynn may or may not be among them.

Stay Close Ending: Who Is The Killer? Is Ray Released?

In the finality of events, the police take Ray into custody. In the course of the story, we realize that Ray remembers more about the night than he spills. However, Ray would only speak to the police in the presence of his former flame, Cassie (or Megan). When Ray and Cassie talk to each other, a shaken Ray tells Cassie that he knows about her involvement in Stewart Green’s death. Cassie also has a motif to get away from an abusive relationship. As Ray recollects, he saw Cassie running through the woods just before discovering the blood-laden body of Stewart Green.

Cassie, on the other hand, suspects Ray to be the killer. On the night of the Carnival 17 years ago, Cassie received a message from Ray’s phone, and by the time she reached the crime scene, Green was already dead. As the fog of confusion lifts, we sense that Cassie’s disappearance caused much of Ray’s trauma. As Ray was convinced that Cassie was the killer, he had to chop up Stewart Green’s body and throw it into the river to save the love of his life from conviction. With this revelation, it becomes clear that Stewart Green is not among the skeletons in the bunker.

A twist in the tale reveals the killer’s identity in the finality of the penultimate episode. Broome deduces Lorraine’s impending doom in the hands of hit-man Ken, but when Broome reaches Lorraine’s home, Ken lies dead on the floor. Lorraine, caught with blood on her hands, divulges to Broome that she killed all those people, including Stewart Green. In the case of Stewart Green, her motive was to save Cassie.

Abused by her husband from an early age, Lorriane serves as a self-ordained vigilante for people who harass women in Vipers on the day of the Carnival. She must be pretty good at what she does since she has operated undetected for more than a decade. It takes Broome a while to realize that his new girlfriend is a serial killer, but he promises to “stay close” to Lorraine. With the devastating revelation, the finale comes to its destined close, while another mystery remains to be solved.

Is Carlton Flynn Dead or Alive? Who Killed Carlton Flynn?

Carlton Flynn’s disappearance unleashes the mayhem in hindsight. Carlton Flynn sought to spike the drinks of Kayleigh and Bea on the night of the Carnival, but the kids’ presence of mind saves them a mishap. In the end, Ray gets released from custody, and he catches a glimpse of her presumed-dead girlfriend, Megan, before charting new frontiers in life. On the other hand, the police also find Goldberg’s body from the station. However, while the mystery behind Stewart Green’s disappearance is resolved, we still look for clues regarding Carlton Flynn. Considering the decay of the bodies found in the bunker, Carlton is not among them.

However, the finale makes the picture clearer as we revisit the night of Flynn’s disappearance. After drinking the drink meant for Bea, the world blurs for Flynn. The girls flee with Flynn’s car key, but the abuser shortly catches up with them. Kayleigh strikes Flynn hard and places Flynn’s body in the car’s trunk. They take the car for a run, and after running out of gas, Kayleigh calls up Dave for help. While Dave acknowledges to Megan that he spotted the abandoned car, he does not spill that he drowned the vehicle to save the children. When the photo of Flynn’s car circulates in the media, a scared Dave drives it into a nearby lake, unaware that Flynn is still inside the trunk.

Read More: Is Stay Close Based On A True Story?