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The Little Ending Ending Explained: Who Was The Killer And What Did The Red Barrett Say?

What Went Down At The End Of The Little Things?
From The Little Things Featuring Denzel Washington

The year 2021 saw Warner Bros. slating the releases of all their films onto the OTT HBO Max along with theatre runs. The Little Things marked itself as the first movie in this plan. John Lee Hancock’s crime thriller looked a promising one taking us back to the 1990s. Furthermore, the ensemble cast, including the likes of Denzel Washington, Rami Malek, and Jared Leto, hyped the audience up. Spectacular performances were promised for sure as the movie looked more like an Oscar winners affair. The film received mixed reviews while direction, performances, and atmosphere were praised.

The Little Things followed the story of two cops investigating a serial killer as they suspect a weird loner of being their prime suspect. The movie drew heavy comparisons to the classic Seven. But the inspiration was denied with the film being in the draft since 1993. Anyway, coming back to the film, for many it ended on an open note. The viewers were left trying to figure out the killer. So here we are answering a number of questions on if loner Sparma was the killer, the connection between Deke and Baxter, and finally what the red Barret signified at the end of the movie.

The Litte Things Plot Summary

The Little Things opens up in the 1990s with an unknown man following a girl to establish the gist. Somehow she manages to cut the chase and save herself. Following the scene, we meet one of the main characters deputy sheriff Joe “Deke” Deacon. He is asked to collect evidence at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department about a recent murder. Eventually, he joins detective Jimmy Baxter on a new murder crime scene. A case is quite similar to the one he was chasing five years ago but couldn’t solve.

The Little Things Plot

From The Little Things Featuring Rami Malek And Denzel Washington

Baxter on the other hand, learns more about the case and Deacon’s obsession with it which eventually led Deke to a divorce and a heart attack. Just because he couldn’t come to the terms of solving it. Despite the department’s denial. Deke finds himself working with Baxter to take the killer down. Eventually, more similar cases turn in, which are quite similar to the murders from five years ago. Deke finds himself suspecting Albert Sparma, a repair worker close to the murders who goes on to mock the detectives instead.

Before the FBI takes charge, the duo decides to work harder to crack the case. There are a number of things that point towards Sparma being the killer. From his tools being similarly used in the murders. Then his obsession with the crime stories to him confessing a murder from 8 years ago he couldn’t have committed. Eventually, he confesses to showing Baxter the location of Rathbun’s body, one of the murdered victims.

Sparma takes him to the desert and makes him dig a few empty holes only to reveal he hasn’t killed anyone. But, Baxter is desperate to believe Sparma is the killer. As Sparma mocks him, it triggers Baxton, who uses a shovel to attack him which leads Sparma to die. Deke arrives at the scene and advises to cover up the murder. We also get a flashback of something similar that happened to Deke. Even he accidentally killed one of the survivors of the case. Plus, how his officials helped him cover up the case.

The Little Things Ending Explained

Is Sparma The Killer?

Let’s start by answering the most obvious question that could have been raised here. Is Sparma the killer? We certainly don’t think he is the killer.  Sparma was just a maniac obsessing over the crime-related stuff as portrayed in the movie. A crazy weirdo, to be honest and his same obsession saw him confessing for a crime he didn’t commit in the past. A crime that he couldn’t commit since he was far away from the murder scene when it took place.

Is Sparma The Killer?

From The Little Things Featuring Jared Leto

So on the basis of that, we believe Sparma was just messing around in this new case too. All Sparma wanted was to be involved in these crime scenarios somehow. This led him to confess to the crime from eight years ago, and so does now too. Of course, there were a number of evidence pieces that targeted him as the killer, as mentioned above. But we can’t help but admit these are just circumstantial evidence. Those which don’t prove much. Apart from that, there are a few nods stating he can’t be the killer. For example, the car Sparma drove, which is very different from the one which the killer drove.

The Connection Between The Main Characters

Coming to the killer, more than finding him, the movie tells more about the guilt the two main characters are carrying. Plus, how one comes forward to help the other. In the movie, we saw Baxter a superstar cop, if we say is a man similar to what Deke was five years ago. But when Baxter couldn’t find the killer, this led him to take desperate measures and saw him breaking down. It came to the limit when he was ready to go extreme lengths to prove Sparma is the killer and eventually close the case once and for all.

The Connection of main characters of THe Little Things

From The Little Things Featuring Rami Malek And Denzel Washington

The drive to solve the case led him to kill someone innocent, with Baxter now carrying the guilt. Deke went through the same during his days as the superstar cop mentioned above. He killed an innocent and the drive to find the killer eventually led to his downfall in life. Baxter was about to face the same. But much like Deke’s officials did for him, Deke did the same for Baxter by covering up the case.

The Red Barret

The Red Barrett At The End Of The Little Things

From The Little Things Featuring Rami Malek

To further save Baxter from a downfall, Deke sends him a letter with a Red Barret. He stated he found it in Sparma’s house while cleaning it up the night he died. A Red Barret, which one of the murdered victims Rhonda always used to wear. This was only to restore the faith of Baxter. In turn, comforting him with the fact he killed the murderer and not an innocent. Whereas the end sees Deke throwing away a packet of Red Barrets. So yes, the killer was never found, and the movie was not much about finding the killer after all.

Also Read: The Whole Truth Ending Explained: Who Killed Boone?

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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