Created by Kate McCartney and Kate McLennan (known together as the Kates), ‘Deadloch’ is an Australian crime comedy series airing on Amazon Prime Video. Set in and around the fictional eponymous town in Tanzania, the plot revolves around senior sergeant Dulcie Collins (Kate Box) and detective Eddie Redcliffe (Madeleine Sami), reluctant partners investigating a series of murders that turn out to be the job of a serial killer.
The story is set against the backdrop of a town undergoing rapid gentrification, which has led to an inevitable confrontation between the new and old residents of the place. Collins and Redcliffe begin their investigation with the entire population of Deadloch in their list of suspects. By the end of episode 3, they have succeeded in crossing out about 50% of the people on the list. If you are wondering who the serial killer in ‘Deadloch’ is, here is what we think. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Who is the Serial Killer?
‘Deadloch’ is described as a “feminist noir comedy,” and it effectively establishes as such by the end of episode 4 when it becomes evident that none of the four victims — Rod Dixon, Sam O’Dwyer, Trent Latham, and Gavin Latham — was a good person. Brothers Trent and Gavin had a history of violence and drug distribution. Even though Rod Dixon’s wife, Margaret Carruthers (Pamela Rabe), claims that they had a loving marriage, Michelle (Lisa Gormley), the local make-up artist, reveals to Dulcie’s subordinate Abby (Nina Oyama) that Rod was a “bully misogynist,” and his relationship with Margaret was estranged. Even Sam O’Dwyer, who had a squeaky-clean reputation in the town, demonstrated disturbing behavior, chasing after various women, including someone as young as the local bartender Sharelle (Naarah). We learn in this episode that Sharelle’s mother is in prison as she assaulted O’Dwyer because of what he did to her daughter.
Toward the end of episode 3, the investigators discover that there was a tranquilizer called Pentobarbital in Trent, Gavin, and Rod’s systems, leading them to conclude that the killer must have used the drug to subdue their victims before utilizing a double-bladed knife to cut out the tongues of the said victims, which the investigators believe they kept as trophies. Because of the use of Pentobarbital, the investigators deduce that not only they are dealing with a serial killer, but also that person is a woman.
In episode 4, Dulcie and Eddie expand their investigation on the pretext that Rod was the first victim. As they learn that Dulcie’s domestic partner, Cath (Alicia Gardiner), gives Pentobarbital to Margaret and doesn’t ask any questions because of her background as a nurse, Eddie insists that they should focus on her (Margaret), though Dulcie is reluctant because of her friendship with the woman. Eventually, the investigators find out that Margaret wasn’t in the town when her husband was murdered.
Just when the investigation seems to have hit a dead end, Michelle comes to confess about something completely benign and unrelated and reveals that O’Dwyer died before Rod, making the investigators realize that they messed up the timeline. The replacement coroner, Kate (Zindzi Okenyo), who seems infinitely more reliable and interested in her job than James, earlier told Dulcie that O’Dwyer didn’t have any Pentobarbital in his system. He had a high level of alcohol instead, and there is a wound at the back of the head. The alcohol might not have knocked out O’Dwyer, but the injury likely did. With O’Dwyer being revealed to be the first victim, the head injury makes sense as the killer hadn’t developed her modus operandi yet. By the time she got to Rod, she had likely found out that Pentobarbital is an effective tool than a stick or a metal rod.
Kate also discovers something that James missed: there is a female pubic hair in O’Dwyer’s mouth, indicating that he was likely involved in a sex-related act at the time of his death or sometime around it. The sample is tested against those provided by O’Dwyer’s wife, Victoria, and they aren’t a match, so she is ruled out as a suspect. Given the latest revelation about how O’Dwyer used to behave around women, the killer can be any female resident of Deadloch. It’s possible that he tried to assault that person under the influence of alcohol, and she knocked him out before killing him. Her trauma from the incident was so severe that she became a serial killer, targeting men with equally dubious morality. The killer can be anyone we have met until now, including someone who seems completely harmless, like Michelle.