Warning: Major spoilers for In the Dark below!
The CW series In the Dark is a mystery centered on Murphy (Perry Mattfeld), a blind woman who discovers the body of her friend Tyson (Thamela Mpumlwana) and must find the truth about his mysterious death. It's an enormous task given that no one believes that she found his body, at first. As Murphy strives to find Tyson's killer, she's pulled in a world of criminals, drug dealers, and shady boyfriends. But, the person who is responsible for Tyson's death is, on the surface, none of those things.
The pilot episode of In the Dark introduces fans to Dean (Rich Sommer), a cop who is assigned to Tyson's case. Dean and Murphy hit it off because Dean's preteen daughter Chloe (Calle Walton) is also blind. Murphy takes Chloe under her wing, and it's evident that Dean has a soft spot for Murphy. When things end between Murphy and food truck owner Max (Casey Deidrick), Dean's feelings for Murphy come tumbling out — and it turns out that Murphy feels the same way.
Seeing Murphy's long pushed aside mushy feelings is a sweet moment. It almost feels inevitable that these two would find each other. Murphy has found someone she can be herself around and a built-in family with a surrogate daughter who understands what Murphy has gone through.
That's why it's so crushing, and shocking, when the show reveals that the person who killed Murphy's closest confidant is none other than Dean.
By the end of season 1, we learn that Tyson's killer is a dirty cop. Murphy realizes that Dean was the one who did it n when he takes her to his cabin, and she smells his cigars. It's the same scent that she smelled on Tyson, who, in the first episode, Murphy claimed "didn't smell like himself — he smelled like smoke or something."
Via flashbacks in the finale — cleverly titled "It's Always Been You" — we learn that Dean worked with crime boss Nia (Nicki Micheaux) after the car accident that took his wife. Dean was building a case against Nia after a liquor store shooting, but Nia cut a deal with him: Drop the case, and she would pay for Chloe's surgeries. A desperate Dean agreed to do Nia's bidding.
Tyson learned that Dean was one of Nia's guys and, to protect Dean's crimes, he protected Tyson from getting into trouble. That's when the real trouble started. Wesley, Tyson's friend, was in jail from a possession charge both boys were brought in on. Wesley assumed that Tyson evaded jail time by snitching. Tyson was terrified that Wesley would kill him over his wrongful assumption — and so, Tyson turned to Dean for help.
When Dean refused to tell Wesley the truth, Tyson threatened to expose him, thus destroying Dean's entire life. An angry Dean choked Tyson to nearly to death, which is when Murphy found him on the ground. Afterward, Dean put Tyson in the back of his car, thinking he was dead. However, Tyson came to and a desperate Dean shot Tyson in the head, killing him.
Ultimately, it's Murphy who brings Dean to justice, using her phone to record his confession while pretending to understand his reason for killing Tyson: He just wanted to protect Chloe. She crashes Dean's car, and Dean, now in the hospital, is forced to hear Murphy talk about how great of a person Tyson was as punishment for his awful crime.
How Dean's betrayal will play into season 2 is unclear, but one thing that is obvious is that Nia isn't going away any time soon. She may not have killed Tyson, but she's definitely the show's new threat. The question is, how will Murphy, who solved one crime already, fix this problem?