*Warning: This article contains full spoilers for the finale of Eric.*


Across its six episodes, Eric viewers will know that the case of missing Edgar (Ivan Howe) - while sad and confusing - is certainly not the only overarching plotline in the series.

While there are plenty of small clues, red herrings and suspicious people floating around throughout the Netflix show, it's only in Eric's final episode that things start to come into stark focus.

Detective Michael Ledroit (McKinley Belcher III) has not only been trying to quash any of Vincent (Benedict Cumberbatch) or Cassie's (Gaby Hoffmann) fears regarding their son, he has also been avidly trying to seek justice for 14-year-old Marlon Rochelle, whose mother Cecile (Adepero Oduye) is still trying to seek answers after he vanished one night.

While we're drip-fed details of Marlon's case in the latter half of the series especially, Eric's finale is consumed with his story as his tragic fate is finally uncovered after months of being buried, ignored and forgotten about.

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Like any good series finale, Eric's is notched up in its pacing, and delivers the startling revelation of Marlon's murder early on in its first 10 minutes. It's a bold way to open up an episode, especially as many will assume it will be centred on Edgar's fate.

It's no coincidence that these two boys' cases have run parallel to one another, one in more of a central focus and the other brushed to the sidelines – a literal metaphor for the way that so many real-life cases of missing children can go under the radar due to their background, race or neighbourhood.

McKinley Belcher III as Ledroit sitting at a table in a police station interrogation room with a stern look on his face.
McKinley Belcher III as Ledroit in Eric. Netflix

The CCTV footage of Marlon's murder, while not ever showing his face, is enough to leave you - like Ledroit himself - wanting to look away and take a minute. It's the kind of carefully constructed scene that pulls you so deep into the series, you can't help but think it's real.

And if you're looking for emotional respite or a slow moment in this finale, there's not one to be had. Where some scenes in the show can feel a little meandering, there's not a piece of dialogue or beat in Eric's final episode that is wasted.

Each moment unfolds in a steady and heartbreaking pace as Ledroit is red-hot with anger and determination to get Nokes (Ryan Hunter) and Costello (Jeff Hephner) brought to justice.

Nokes, an undercover NYPD officer who has been making money on the side from The Lux's underage sex trafficking ring, and Costello, the deputy mayor who was secretly paying Marlon for oral sex, went about their lives with no guilt, care or sense of justice for the teenager.

It's a fact that rings out across the episode, especially when Ledroit has to square up to his own boss Cripp (David Denman) to even get their arrests lined up.

Justice, as the series underlines, is not a natural outcome if the victim is a young, Black teenager from the poorer side of town. Tales of corruption in police forces and local government aren't any new ground in today's world.

But Eric shines a light on those very things by removing the disappointment of current affairs and replacing it with a different city, time period and fictional characters to show that, sadly, not much has changed.

The media always prefers the "good-looking and white" child, as Cecile mentions to Cassie when they first meet at the police station earlier in the series. Both joined by their grief for their missing sons, their outcomes in the finale couldn't actually be more different – and it's a reminder of the reality of privilege and institutional racism.

Jeff Hephner as Costello in Eric standing outside in a suit and coat and being surrounded by paparazzi.
Jeff Hephner as Costello in Eric. Netflix

There's no real happy ending in Eric – sure, there's the joyous moment when Edgar runs home to be reunited with his parents after days spent in the underground tunnels of New York. There are the multiple arrests for Marlon's murder and the reveal of plenty more high-profile clients set to be exposed. The Lux is closed down and Vincent even gets on the straight and narrow.

For Cecile, though, the story is an incredibly sad one that will undoubtedly leave many viewers clutching a tissue or two. In the episode's final moments, as she and Ledroit go to the landfill island, it becomes clear that any hopes of retrieving Marlon's body are slim to none.

But it's her speech at the end that is delivered so poignantly, underlining the meaning of this series and how although Eric is a piece of fiction, it's a reminder to 'do better'.

Cecile says as such in her press conference in front of the NYPD police station, continuing: "My son was 14 years old. He went out one day and never came back. My son was full of love, full of hope, full of trust in people. But this isn't a fair world and these are not fair rules.

"My son deserved to live in a city that loved him. My son deserved to live in a city that protected him. My son deserved and hoped for better than this."

An episode of emotional blows, the finale's focus on Marlon's story was welcome in amidst the exasperation many will likely have when it comes to Vincent's actions.

Some may think the focus on Marlon's case comes a little too late. I, for one, think it came at just the right point in the series, delivering a literal gut-punch of sadness and underlining the themes of hidden monsters, evil and injustice that Eric is really all about.

Eric is available to stream on Netflix now. Sign up for Netflix from £4.99 a month. Netflix is also available on Sky Glass and Virgin Media Stream.


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