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De Twaalf Ending, Explained

July 10, 2020
6 min read

‘The Twelve’ is a riveting Flemish series that subverts most tropes of courtroom dramas. Using its character-driven premise, it creates an immersive experience by purposely confusing viewers and ending on an ambiguous note. So based on all the clues that it drops throughout its runtime, we’ll be making our deductions of who’s innocent and who’s guilty in its intriguing murder mystery plot.

Plot Summary

‘The Twelve’ centers around the heinous case of Frida Palmers, a woman accused of the murder of her best friend and daughter. As per legal norms, a panel of 12 jurors and a substitute is assigned to hear the evidence of the defense and prosecution to form an unbiased decision. However, early in the show itself, it’s established that no juror is “perfect.” They’re all influenced by their pasts, their personal lives, and their vices. As a result, their final word in the case is only a reflection of who they are and their sense of justice. It may or may not be in favor of the guilty and the innocent.

Who Killed Frie’s daughter?

In the closing moments of ‘The Twelve’, the court concludes that Frie is guilty of killing her best friend Brechtje, but is innocent when it comes to her daughter’s murder. With this, based on the decision of the jury, Frie gets sentenced to 30 years of imprisonment, while Steefan walks free. However, I do not agree with the final decision of the jury. To begin with, let’s talk about the incision made on the daughter’s neck. The show reveals several times that the incision was deliberately made in a way only to injure the girl and not kill her. Along with this, the show suggests that a left-handed person most likely made the incision. The plot-point, which reveals that Steefan is also left-handed, only seems to be a red-herring. Thus, Frie remains to be the only left-handed suspect.

Moreover, Frie’s fingerprints were also found on the broken window, which was used for causing the incision. Frie’s reasons for hurting her daughter are also made pretty clear. After losing custody of her daughter, she simply wanted to prove that Steefan is not capable of taking care of her. So she only injured her using the shard of glass. But little did she realize that it would eventually kill her daughter. Also, she suffers from psychopathy and borderline personality disorder. Due to which, she takes impulsive decisions and even fears abandonment. In the final moments, her attorney also discovers the missing gloves that she used for killing the daughter in one of her daughter’s old books; this further confirms that she did it. So going by this explanation, the decision of the jurors was flawed.

Who Killed Brechtje (Britt)?

While the daughter’s mystery gets resolved to an extent, Brechtje’s murder remains to be one big mystery even after the show’s credits start rolling. However, I believe that Frie was wrongly accused of it since Steefan is the one who killed her. When Steefan had first come to know about Brechtje’s pregnancy in college, he was very distressed and even suspected that she’s cheating on him with a professor. In court, he also lied about having no clue about Brechtje’s pregnancy before her death, while a flashback reveals otherwise. Furthermore, even after his lie-detector test, his polygraph analyzer had concluded that he lied about not killing Brechtje. Now a lie detector test can have its inconsistencies, but Steefan did just fine when the analyzer asked him about his daughter’s murder.

Murdering Frie could have also been a combined effort between Steefan and Frie. Since Frie had seemingly convinced Brechtje to make that fake video against her father and also possessed her missing necklace, it is possible that she either knew that Steefan killed her or she was his partner in crime.

The Ending: The Decision of Jury, Explained

While frustrating to some, the ending of ‘The Twelve’ can be fascinating to many, especially for the ones who enjoy being armchair detectives. The series intentionally leaves several plot points hanging just to allow viewers to feel the insecurities and pressures of the jurors. Although the individual decision of each juror remains a mystery, their pre-verdict discussion tells a lot about what they’re thinking and how they’re judging the suspects. So let’s further discuss their motives and what drove them into making the decision that they made.

We see Arnold as a lonely man. After his wife’s death, he starts bonding with his pet monkeys but fails to get along with anyone else. Towards the end, he simply feels betrayed and heartbroken by the world and chooses to turn his back on everyone in the jury. And thus, during the decision-making process, he often tries to contradict the majority decision of the jury.

Delphine, who was previously a substitute, takes her decisions based on her own previous experiences. When the jury starts to favor Frie by arguing that no mother would hurt her children, Delphine disagrees. She does so because her husband had previously tried to kill her out of anger. Due to this incident, she starts believing that no matter how close someone is to you, they have the potential to harm you.

In the meantime, Jorie and Holly bring their polar notions of morality based on their previous experiences. When Holly was younger, her parents were killed by a group of burglars while she hid in her closet and did nothing to help them. This event scars her, and she carries the guilt of this incident with her. Because of this, she believes that even if Frie has killed her daughter, her guilt has already punished her enough. On the other hand, Jorie had done something similar. When one of his illegal immigrant employees got injured at his constriction site, he just left him on a bench and fled. But when he discovered that the employee died moments after being taken to a hospital, he was left with nothing but remorse. As a consequence of his underlying regret, Jorie believes that no matter how guilty someone is, he/she deserves punishment. And that’s the reason why he ultimately confesses his crime to the police as well.

In the end, once can draw several theories out of the show’s well-thought-out premise. And since we, too, get to be jury members, we can deduce based on our own personal experiences.

Read More: Where is The Twelve Filmed?

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