Ripley, played by Andrew Scott, in black and white, looking to the right, standing against a big door.

Netflix’s Ripley Series’ Ending, Explained

Netflix’s Ripley is here, and, unlike some shows, it’s dropped all of its eight episodes at once. There’s plenty to keep you on the edge of your seat, but if you’re wondering how it all ends, here’s Netflix’s Ripley series ending explained.

Recommended Videos

Netflix’s Ripley Series’ Ending, Explained

Ripley ends with Tom Ripley getting away with murder and moving on mostly unhindered. That’s the short version, and it’s certainly in the spirit of the books, though its end differs a little from Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley, the book it was based on.

The premise is that Tom Ripley, played here by Andrew Scott, worms his way into the life of Dickie Greenleaf, son of ship-builder Herbert Greenleaf. He’s sent by Herbert to track him down as Dickie’s gone a little AWOL in Europe. Herbert gets the odd postcard but wants Tom to bring him home.

Tom does put an end to Dickie’s globetrotting but not in the way Herbert expected. Tom ultimately murders Dickie and takes on his identity, living his life. He also murders Freddie Miles, one of Dickie’s friends who could have exposed him as a fake.

However, there are other people who could prove an obstacle to his life of luxury and homicide. One is Marge Sherwood, Dickie’s girlfriend, and the other is Inspector Pietro Ravini, an Italian policeman who has a much bigger role than in the book.

Related: Why Is Netflix’s Ripley Series Black and White?

During the ending of Netflix’s Ripley, the story that Dickie’s family believes and that Tom Ripley is happy to help push is that Dickie committed suicide. He writes a letter from “Dickie,” which, while not overtly a suicide note, absolutely has that tone.

Tom took Dickie’s ring, but both Marge and Dickie’s father, Herbert Greenleaf, believe he gave it to him as a gift, a token of thanks prior to ending his life. Dickie’s father gives it back to him as a token of goodwill.

Tom Ripley and Herbert Greenleaf in Ripley, standing by a train. This image is part of an article about Netflix's Ripley Series' Ending, Explained.

Unlike the book, he’s not set up for life as the heir to the Greenleaf fortune, but neither Herbert nor Marge knows the truth. “I see now that the sincere young man I met and liked in New York is who you are,” Dickie’s father remarks. If only he knew.

Instead, Tom moves on and assumes another identity, that of Mr. T. Fanshaw, with a new passport and documents (we also see him putting the late Freddie Miles passport down the drain). The series ends with him sitting in an apartment, having taken possession (presumably fraudulently) of a Picasso painting. It’s all good for Tom Ripley.

Well, not quite. There’s one final scene where Inspector Pietro Ravini discovers that the Dickie he’d spoken to (actually Tom Ripley) was not the real Dickie, suggesting Ripley isn’t entirely in the clear. So, if there is a Ripley Season 2, there’s at least one plot thread to pick up on there. And that’s Netflix’s Ripley series ending explained.

Ripley is streaming on Netflix now.


The Escapist is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more
related content
Read Article X-Men Producer in Talks to Relaunch Star Trek Movie Franchise
Read Article Is TJ Miller in Deadpool 3? Answered
TJ Miller in the Deadpool movies.
Read Article How to Watch the Defenders Saga in Order
Key art for the Defenders featuring Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and the Punisher.
Related Content
Read Article X-Men Producer in Talks to Relaunch Star Trek Movie Franchise
Read Article Is TJ Miller in Deadpool 3? Answered
TJ Miller in the Deadpool movies.
Read Article How to Watch the Defenders Saga in Order
Key art for the Defenders featuring Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and the Punisher.
Author
Chris McMullen
Chris McMullen is a freelance contributor at The Escapist and has been with the site since 2020. He returned to writing about games following several career changes, with his most recent stint lasting five-plus years. He hopes that, through his writing work, he settles the karmic debt he incurred by persuading his parents to buy a Mega CD. Outside of The Escapist, Chris covers news and more for GameSpew. He's also been published at such sites as VG247, Space, and more. His tastes run to horror, the post-apocalyptic, and beyond, though he'll tackle most things that aren't exclusively sports-based. At Escapist, he's covered such games as Infinite Craft, Lies of P, Starfield, and numerous other major titles.