‘Big Little Lies': Who’s Dead and Who’s the Murderer? (Photos)

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Reid Nakamura
‘Big Little Lies': Who’s Dead and Who’s the Murderer? (Photos)
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The central plot of HBO’s “Big Little Lies” revolves around someone’s murder, but the show plays coy with the details, including the identities of both the murder and their victim. The series is a fairly straightforward adaptation of Liane Moriarty’s novel, but for those who haven’t read the book, here’s a rundown of the possible scenarios.

Madeline (Reese Witherspoon)
Why she might be dead: It would be pretty surprising if any of the three main women turned out to be the victim, but Madeline clearly isn’t afraid to make enemies.
Who probably killed her: The incident with Renata’s daughter seems to be setting up a rivalry between the moms, but Renata doesn’t seem like the type to get her hands dirty. Perhaps her “best friend” Harper?

Why she might be the killer: Witherspoon brilliantly plays Madeline like a rubber band ready to snap at any minute, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if she were pushed to murder.
Who she probably killed: Though much is made of her contentious relationship with Bonnie, the brunt of Madeline’s resentment seems to be aimed at Nathan.

Celeste (Nicole Kidman)
Why she might be dead: Celeste and her husband are portrayed as the perfect couple, but what happens behind closed doors tells a different story.
Who probably killed her: Perry has a proven aggressive side, and has already gotten physical with Celeste once.

Why she might be the killer: We don’t know much about Celeste after one episode, but Kidman’s performance hints at much more happening below the surface. Bottled resentment seems to be a recurring theme here.
Who she probably killed: Perry.

Perry (Alexander Skarsgard)
Why he might be dead: Who wouldn’t want to kill this guy?
Who probably killed him: But Celeste probably wants to kill him more than anyone else.

Why he might be the killer: A good rule of thumb for TV watching is if the show has a Skarsgard, he will most likely turn out to be a murderer.
Who he probably killed: Most likely Celeste, but it could be anyone, really.

Nathan (James Tupper)
Why he might be dead: “Revenge” fans will remember Tupper as David Clarke, the father who died not once, but twice, on the ABC primetime soap. So there’s precedent for his death serving as the inciting incident on a show about rich white people.
Who probably killed him: Madeline seems like the obvious choice here, but let’s not rule out the possibility of Bonnie — or even Ed — doing something crazy.

Why he might be the killer: The first episode doesn’t reveal much about Nathan, but all of the men are a little bit suspicious, aren’t they?
Who he probably killed: Madeline.

Renata (Laura Dern)
Why she might be dead: Renata’s rightfully upset about her daughter’s injury, but she refuses to let the incident go by without making someone pay for it, and all of the mothers seem willing to go to extreme lengths to protect their kids.
Who probably killed her: Jane’s son Ziggy becomes the suspect of Renata’s, and we already know that Jane owns a gun.

Why she might be the killer: Again, mothers will do anything to protect their children.
Who she probably killed: Jane, or the mother of whichever kid actually tried to strangler her daughter.

Ed (Adam Scott)
Why he might be dead: Would anyone really miss him? Not even Madeline seems to like him very much.
Who probably killed him: Who cares.

Why he might be the killer: The fact that Adam Scott grew a beard for the role is pretty suspicious.
Who he probably killed: Of the adults on the show, Madeline is the only one he’s shared any scenes with so far.

Jane (Shailene Woodley)
Why she might be dead: The circumstances of Jane’s move to Monterey are shrouded in mystery, but sleeping with a gun under her pillow seems more murder victim than murderer.
Who probably killed her: Whoever she got that gun to protect herself from.

Why she might be the killer: If the person she’s hiding from were to show up, we already know Jane’s prepared to deal with that threat.
Who she probably killed: Could Ziggy’s father be a bigger part of the picture than she let on?

Bonnie (Zoe Kravitz)
Why she might be dead: Of all the mothers on the show, Bonnie fits in the least. At least Jane has Madeline and Celeste to stand up for her.
Who probably killed her: Nathan or Madeline.

Why she might be the killer: The yoga teacher who objects to foul language turning out to be a murderer would be a pretty good twist.
Who she probably killed: Nathan or Madeline.

Ms. Barnes (Virginia Kull)
Why she might be dead: She handled the incident with Renata’s daughter exceptionally poorly.
Who probably killed her: Any of the parents.

Why she might be the killer: She probably isn’t, but anything is possible!
Who she probably killed: An overbearing parent like Renata is any teacher’s nightmare.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Inside Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, and HBO's 'Big Little Lies' Premiere (Photos)

'Big Little Lies' Star Kathryn Newton Joins Martin McDonagh's 'Three Billboards' (Exclusive)

Alexander Skarsgard Joins Nicole Kidman in HBO's 'Big Little Lies'