Who Killed Maddie in School Spirits? Theories

Image Credit: Ed Araquel/Paramount+

Created by Nate Trinrud and Megan Trinrud, Paramount+’s teen series ‘School Spirits’ revolves around Maddie Nears, who dies mysteriously during a school day, only to wake up as a spirit. She encounters several other spirits, most prominently Charley, who help her adapt to the afterlife. Maddie fails to remember the cause of her death and sets out to find out what really happened to her. In the first two episodes of the series, Maddie believes that she was killed and tries to find out who her apparent murderer is with the help of Simon Elroy, the only one alive who can communicate with her. If you are intrigued to find out who killed Maddie, here are our thoughts concerning the same! SPOILERS AHEAD.

Maddie’s Mysterious Demise: Murder or Misfortune?

First of all, Maddie wakes up after her death as a spirit without being able to accurately recollect what really happened to her. Although it isn’t an outright certainty that she was murdered, it is unlikely that her suicide could cause the blood splatters found in the boiling room. In addition, Maddie didn’t have any reason to kill herself at the end of a typical school day she spent planning a party with her friends Simon and Nicole. Thus, it is safe to join Maddie’s spirit and believe that she was indeed killed. The prime suspect is none other than her boyfriend Xavier. He had been cheating on Maddie by hooking up with Claire. Simon doesn’t take much time to theorize that Xavier killed his girlfriend to unite with his secret lover.

Since Xavier had stolen and hidden Maddie’s phone, he becomes the major suspect in the eyes of law as well. However, if there’s anything the canon of murder mysteries has taught us, it is that the prime suspect isn’t most likely the killer, which leads us to Claire. The cheerleader possibly has the most realistic motive among the suspected killers. She must have gotten tired of Xavier’s inability to break up with Maddie, which stopped her from uniting with her secret lover. Claire might have considered Maddie an obstacle on her way to happiness, which possibly motivated her to kill the latter on the spur of the moment.

Maddie rules out Claire as her murderer because she sees the latter save a swimmer who badly gets hurt. The cheerleader’s actions can be her way of compensating for the loss of life possibly caused by her. Xavier must have helped Claire to hide or destroy Maddie’s body and he must have been feeling guilty about being the accomplice of his girlfriend’s murderer. If that’s the case, the same guilt must be what stops him from replying to Claire’s texts and meeting her. After possibly disposing of Maddie’s dead body, they must have destroyed her phone at the secret spot Xavier used to take his late girlfriend to. However, if Xavier and Claire really killed Maddie and destroyed her phone, the former doesn’t have any need for carrying a wiped-out phone and presenting the same as his late girlfriend’s.

If not Xavier and Claire, even Maddie’s friend Nicole Herrera can’t be ruled out. Maddie and Nicole were seemingly extremely close before the former’s death. Maddie likely had been harboring a secret concerning Nicole and the latter must have wanted to keep a lid on the same before she leaves for Chicago for her higher studies. They might have gotten into a fight and Nicole might have killed her best friend on an impulse. She could be the one who destroyed Maddie’s phone since the latter might have had any data concerning Nicole’s possible secret.

Nicole must have seen Xavier stealing Maddie’s phone since he did it in class and kept another phone that resembled her late friend’s in the boyfriend’s bag to divert the authorities’ attention towards him. As Maddie’s close friend, Nicole might have known about the former and Xavier’s secret make-out spot. She must have thought that leaving the remains of the phone at the place would give her a chance to later connect the place to Xavier as part of her efforts to cover her possible tracks. Even when Simon seemingly accepts Maddie’s death, Nicole suspiciously doesn’t and she expects her “missing” friend to show up to fulfill the two girls’ plans.

If Nicole is the real killer, her pretense that Maddie is alive can be her way of coping with the guilt of becoming a murderer. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that Nicole is the killer. The real killer can even be Maddie’s mother Sandra Nears. Sandra was possibly one of the last individuals who saw Maddie alive. On the day of her death, Maddie told Simon that her mother is away for two weeks as she continued her rehabilitation, only for Sandra to show up at her daughter’s school the very same day. Whatever reason led Sandra to her daughter’s high school, it must have caused a fight between her and Maddie, possibly leading the mother to kill her daughter, likely under the influence of drugs or alcohol. When Xavier meets Sandra, the latter admits to hurting her daughter to the former, which can be an indication that the mother killed the daughter.

Furthermore, even Mr. Anderson is not free from suspicion. The second episode of the series ends with the teacher showing up at Maddie and Xavier’s make-out spot. If he is the killer, he must be the one who destroyed Maddie’s phone and he may have come to the spot to cover his tracks, only to encounter Simon at the place. The “cool teacher” might have had a problematic relationship with his student, which possibly paved the way for the former killing the latter. Having said that, it is apparent that the second episode’s cliffhanger was conceived to make the viewers think Mr. Anderson is the killer or at least someone who is associated with the same.

Considering the genre conventions, the chances of Anderson getting revealed as the killer after such a cliffhanger are considerably low. There is also the possibility of an unrevealed person being the killer. In light of such a possibility, we can eagerly await the new episodes of the series to find out who exactly is Maddie’s murderer.

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