‘The Guilty’ on Netflix is a tense thriller drama centered around a 911 responder who takes it upon himself to save a kidnapped victim. Unable to leave his workstation, Joe Baylor must coordinate his colleagues while trying to squeeze every bit of information he can about the victim’s whereabouts. A side plot about an impending court hearing for a serious offense lends further complexity to the plot.
The film is sparse in characters and is essentially focused on those that the central character speaks to. The men that seem to know Joe best are possibly Rick and Sergeant Bill Miller, and Joe asks the former to do the unthinkable in the film’s closing moments. So what do we know about these characters? Let’s take a closer look at Rick and Sergeant Bill Miller. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Who Are Rick and Sergeant Bill Miller?
When Joe Baylor finds himself stranded at his desk while a young woman is being kidnapped, he turns to his friend and colleague Rick to do the messy legwork he can’t. He first sends Rick to Henry Fisher’s house, the man Joe thinks has kidnapped Emily. In the film’s closing scenes, Joe once again calls Rick and breaks down crying.
From the way Joe and Rick interact, it is clear that the two have known each other for a long time. Apart from being colleagues, they are also friends and have likely been through a lot together. This is hinted at in the fact that Rick is willing to do mildly illegal investigations on Joe’s behalf and is also testifying for him in court as a witness. From what we can hear, it also seems like Rick has a slight drinking problem, and Joe is briefly concerned that the man will show up hungover for his hearing.
Sergeant Bill Miller is Joe’s superior. In an effort to track the kidnapper’s movements, Joe tries to get Bill to authorize a team of policemen to break into Henry’s apartment. However, Bill quickly rejects the idea and chastizes Joe for undertaking tasks that are not part of his job. During his conversation with Bill, it is also revealed that Joe is undergoing therapy and had problems with his previous counselor.
Despite Bill’s harsh nature, he seems to be on Joe’s side. He knows of the plan to fix Joe’s court proceedings so the policeman, despite having harmed a young man, is able to get back his detective post. The fact that Bill promises to get Joe back “on the streets” shows that the sergeant, too, is corrupt.
What Does Joe Want Rick to Do?
In the film’s closing scenes, Joe calls Rick and tells him to reveal in court everything he saw. Rick seems taken aback and says they have a plan and that he cannot change his statement. Though we are not given any more details, it is clear that Rick, who is meant to be a witness in the hearing, has a statement that would help acquit Joe. As it turns out, the latter has a change of heart, possibly after witnessing Emily come to terms with her own violent actions.
Joe, therefore, pleads guilty of manslaughter and is convicted for shooting a 19-year old. It is unclear whether Rick finally sticks to his statement or changes it to match the truth. In either case, he is caught in a lie as Joe confesses to what actually happened and is last seen calling up a reporter to tell her the same.