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Basic Instinct Ending Explained: Who Was The Killer Afterall?

Ending Of Basic Instinct Explained Right
From Basic Instinct (1992) Featuring Michael Douglas as Detective Nick Curran and Sharon Stone as Catherine Tramell

People often try to find the explanation to Basic Instinct’s Ending. Basic Instinct, if you could remember, you would call it one of the most gripping movies to come out of the 90s. A story so complicated with a well-played character leading it, the audiences are left glued to the sticks. Paul Verhoeven directed the film with Joe Eszterhas on the writing team. Basic Instinct stars Michael Douglas, Sharon Stone, and Jeanne Tripplehorn in the lead roles. Today we are taking a look at the ending of Basic Instinct, a film that has gone on to receive recognition for its groundbreaking depictions of sexuality in mainstream Hollywood cinema.

So Basic Instinct followed the story of two detectives working on the murder of a rockstar killed by an ice pick. The only thing making the investigation difficult was the prime suspect—a beautiful blonde who, at the same time, is an intelligent crime novelist. The stories around the suspect kept going up and away. The ones getting closer only found themselves trapped further inside the case were at a point finding the murder was difficult. So did they? Let’s break down the plot and ending of Basic Instinct.

Basic Instinct Plot Summary

Basic Instinct follows Detective Nick Curran, who is investigating the murder of Rockstar Johnny Boz. A mysterious blonde woman killed him using an ice pick, and Nick Curran and his partner Gus Moran are onto it. The investigation leads them to Boz’s supposed girlfriend, Catherine Tramell. A psychology double major and crime novelist who claims there was nothing serious between them. Catherine’s novel that tells of a singer’s murder, in the same way, is the reason behind her being the prime suspect.

Amidst all of this, Nick Curran was also working on himself. In the past, due to drugs and alcohol addiction, he had killed two tourists. So Dr. Beth Gardner had been helping him with the addiction. They also had an on-and-off relationship. Anyway, coming back to the case, talking to Catherine doesn’t reveal much. For every question, Catherine has an answer of her own. However, the cops don’t have strong evidence yet. Another murder of her Professor from Catherine’s college days circles back to her. Especially with the fact that a similar ice pick killed the Professor.

The Story Of Basic Instinct

From Basic Instinct (1992), Featuring Michael Douglas as Detective Nick Curran and George Dzundza as Detective Gus Moran

Nick Curran kept an eye on Catherine. With this, they got closer as Nick found Catherine’s interest in him due to her next novel, which sees a Detective character inspired by him. He also finds out about Catherine’s girlfriend Roxy and that Catherine received files about him from Beth. The next day he confronts Beth, but she states she gave it to Lieutenant Marty Nielsen. A similar confrontation takes place before everyone pulls them apart.

Later at night, Nick and Beth get into a huge fight. A phone call later informs Nick about Nielson’s death. Now the tables were turned on Nick, but it was Beth who saved him by stating he was home last night. Although Nick is called off from the case, he keeps meeting Catherine, and soon a mysterious killer tries to attack him through a car. Following the same car, he sees it crashing down, and the driver is none other than Roxy.

Also Read: Once Upon A Time In America Ending Explained: Did Max Die In The End?

Basic Instinct Ending Explained

Who Was Lisa?

Post Roxy’s death, Catherine tells Nick about a similar love story from her college days. A girl named Lisa was obsessed with her, just like Roxy. Lisa too attacked people who came close to her, and she suspects she is behind the death of the Professor. Now, as Nick starts believing Catherine, this girl named Lisa becomes a suspect. Despite his partner, Moran warning about Catherine’s friends who are basically murderers. Nick dives into it and discovers that Lisa is none other than Dr. Beth Gardner, who later changed her name.

The Identity Of Lisa In Basic Instinct

From Basic Instinct (1992), Featuring Jeanne Tripplehorn as Dr. Beth Garner

Nick confronts Beth about keeping away such a big secret from the investigation. But here, Beth has a side of her own. She tells Nick of how it was Catherine who was obsessed with her, and she was the one to leave Catherine. In turn, she also warns Nick to stay away from Catherine. He might be the next target of hers.

Who Was The Killer? Catherine Or Beth Gardner

So coming to the ending of Basic Instinct, the next time Nick meets Catherine is at his very own home where he also finds her unfinished book. He reads some of the sentences from the book. It talks about the detective losing his partner in the elevator. Following that, the next time Catherine meets Nick, she breaks up with Nick as he has completed her novel. Nick is angry, but he moves on when his partner Moran tells him about a roommate of Catherine. They leave to meet her, and Nick stays behind as he is on leave.

When Moran leaves to meet the lead, he mentions using the elevator, which quickly reminds Nick of the book having something similar. He chases Moran only to find him dead. Once again, the weapon is an ice pick. In a matter of moments, it’s Beth who appears at the same location claiming Nick called her. But he doesn’t believe her and shoots her instinctively believes she is about to shoot him. The cops arrive and search Beth’s place, which results in the discovery of many pieces of evidence that suggest she is the killer. Plus, the obsession with Catherine comes true as well with newspapers and images.

The Killer Of Basic Instinct Revealed At The Ending

From Basic Instinct (1992) Featuring Sharon Stone as Catherine Tramell and Michael Douglas as Detective Nick Curran

Next, we see Catherine visiting Nick at his home, and she tells him that she can’t love him because whoever she loves ends up dying. As Nick talks about things they could do in love, like family and all, Catherine looks for something under the bed. Until Nick scraps those plans and tells her, let’s just have fun. That’s when Catherine stops. The movie shows the ice pick under the bed.

So basically, Catherine was the murderer, but she was so smart that she managed to blame it all on Beth. All this was because when she was in a relationship with Beth during her college days, Beth left her believing Catherine was psycho. All this was for the same revenge, and Nick and the cops ended up being the fools. So she worked much like her stories from her novels. If that is to believe, we can say she killed the Professor as well as her parents. Especially with the fact that one of her books told the story of a kid killing her own parents. So that’s all for Basic Instinct and its ending.

Also Read: Level 16 Ending Explained & Plot Summary

Written By

Hello there, Rahul here, I am a writer and a passionate musician. I love writing since I remember I was a kid and was made to read a lot of books. You will find me writing about anime and shows here and there. You can reach out to me at

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