What Did Joe Do in The Guilty? Is He Going to Jail?

‘The Guilty’ on Netflix is a tense thriller drama that centers around a police officer who tries to help a kidnapped victim while being stranded at his workstation at an LAPD communications center. Officer Joe Baylor grows increasingly bored of fielding calls until he is contacted by Emily Lighton, who claims that she is being kidnapped as they speak.

What starts as a frantic hunt for a kidnapping vehicle becomes a twisting narrative where everything is not as it seems. Joe is revealed to have his own emotional baggage and dark past, from which he seeks redemption. It almost seems as if he is looking for his salvation by saving Emily. Things are further complicated when it is revealed that Emily might have injured her own son, which makes Joe reveal some deep secrets about himself. So what is Joe’s fate in ‘The Guillty’? Does he confess to killing someone and go to prison? Let’s find out. SPOILERS AHEAD.

Who Did Joe Baylor Kill?

Since the start of the film, Joe Baylor gets frequent calls from a reporter asking for his side of the story. We also get to know that the police officer has been taken off his active duty and relegated to a desk job answering 911 calls. However, the reason behind Joe’s situation remains unknown until, during an especially emotional conversation with Emily, he reveals that he shot a 19-year old boy named Joseph and killed him. Emily, too, reveals that she stabbed her infant son Oliver, though she claims that it was to help him get rid of the snakes in his stomach.

Joe’s revelation puts the rest of his issues in context, and we realize that the police officer has a history of overreacting in tense situations (as we see him do multiple times with Emily’s case). Joe, sadly enough, cannot remember why he shot Joseph and whether the young victim was even armed or not.

Is Joe Baylor Going to Jail?

Near the film’s closing, Joe calls his colleague Rick and tells him to reveal truthfully in court everything he saw. This is in reference to Joe’s hearing the next day, where he will face charges related to him shooting Joseph. Rick is initially taken aback, as the two policemen (and possibly others in the force) have worked out a plan with matching testimonies that get Joe off free. However, after the emotionally tumultuous experience of rescuing Emily and finding out about how she stabbed her son Oliver, Joe is overcome by a need to come clean.

Hence, the film closes with a news voiceover stating that Joe Baylor, an LAPD detective, has become one of the first policemen to plead guilty of manslaughter, for which he is convicted. Though his prison sentence is not mentioned, he will likely spend at least a few years imprisoned, considering the young boy he killed did not pose a significant threat.

Apart from going to prison, it is also clear that Joe needs therapy, which is apparent from his actions and is something his colleagues hint at. Therefore, he could get a lighter sentence due to possible mental health issues, but there is no escaping the fact that Joe is going to jail.

Read More: The Guilty Ending, Explained