“Everything comes with strings attached,” Camila Mendes tells Refinery29 at the virtual press conference for Dangerous Lies, her new Netflix movie. “There’s always going to be a downside to everything. Nothing is ever going to be perfect. Mo’ money, mo’ problems!”
If there’s ever a time to quote Biggie Smalls, it’s in while describing Netflix’s new thriller Dangerous Lies. In Dangerous Lies, financially struggling Katie (Mendes) is a home care nurse for the wealthy Leonard (Elliott Gould). When Leonard dies, Katie and her husband Adam (Jessie T. Usher) sort through his things and find that Leonard kept $100,000 in cash in the attic. They agree to keep it, only to learn days later from Leonard’s lawyer Julie (Jamie Chung) that Leonard also left the entire house for them in his will. Katie is surprised by the inheritance, but Adam assures her that Leonard was only trying to help her. Katie did confide in Leonard about her and Adam’s money problems. Maybe this was Leonard’s way of assisting, in case he died.
The house is a total blessing for Katie and Adam, until it’s not. Real estate agent Hayden (Cam Gigandet) insists that he has a buyer who wants the house and won’t drop the issue even when Katie refuses to sell it. It’s weird and shady, but not nearly as weird and shady as what happens next.
“The most surprising twist for me was when Katie discovers the decayed body in the attic, and the backpack falls out with all these diamonds in it,” Mendes shares of one of the movie’s most jaw-dropping twists.
After doing some sleuthing, Katie and Adam realize that the man is a gardener that Leonard hired years earlier who mysteriously vanished. The gardener robbed a jewelry store and stole the diamonds, then hid them in the shed, where he died of blood loss. Adam reminds Katie that if they tell the police about their discovery, their cushy new life goes away. After all, it’s basically like this guy fell down a well — no one is looking for him.
Katie agrees, but once Adam flashes a new watch and iPhone, she starts to suspect her husband is not as trustworthy as she assumed. It gets into Katie’s head that Adam may have had something to do with Leonard’s death when Detective Chesler (Sasha Alexander) investigates a robbery at the diner where Katie worked earlier that year. Adam took down the gunman, saving the day, but given Leonard’s mysterious death and Katie’s inheritance, Detective Chesler now thinks it was a set up. Maybe Adam is a secret criminal mastermind. If Adam hated being poor so much, would he have gone to extremes to change his situation?
A devastated and confused Katie goes to Julie, the laywer, for help. Katie explains the situation, and they go to the bank vault where they kept Leonard’s money. The money is gone. Adam, Katie assumes, is planning on leaving her and running off with the diamonds.
When Katie meets Adam at the house, he sets her straight. He took the money so they could escape together. The diamonds, it turns out, are from a jewelry store robbery. Hayden, the “real estate agent,” served time for the robbery, but he had an accomplice: the gardener that Leonard hired, Ethan Doyle, aka the body that Katie and Adam found in the shed. Since Hayden never recovered the diamonds, he wants to search the house for them and that’s why he’s so pushy about owning it. It was also Hayden who killed Leonard. He caused an overdose after reading Katie’s meticulous notes on his medication and switching the doses.
Katie realizes she can trust her husband, and that there are other villains at work here. Just after she agrees to go away with Adam, she’s taken hostage with a gun to her head by Hayden. Hayden demands Adam tells him where the diamonds are, but Adam refuses. Adam shoots Hayden, who, in turn, shoots Adam. Hayden dies, and Katie rushes over to her husband. Adam dies of blood loss just after telling her to search “the garden.”
“I think the most surprising twist for me was dying!” Usher laughs. “I kept thinking like, ‘He’s going to make it!”
Julie, arrives at the house to find Katie sobbing over Adam’s body. However, it’s clear that she has nefarious intentions when she mentions how much the diamonds were worth — something Katie never told her. Julie admits that she got Hayden a good deal post-robbery, and they had a deal: she would track down Doyle and find the diamonds.
As Katie is languishing in grave danger, Detective Chesler arrives and saves the day, taking down Julie and freeing Katie from this nightmare.
Months later, Katie is at Leonard’s house, tending to the garden. Detective Chesler visits, and they embrace. She tells Katie that Adam has been cleared of the diner robbery and any other crimes. Katie is pregnant, and grateful her child won’t hear that his father was ever considered a criminal. Before Detective Chesler leaves, she asks Katie if she ever found the diamonds. Katie says that Adam never told her about their location, which we know isn’t the truth. In the final moments of the movie, the sprinklers turn on, revealing sparkling diamonds buried beneath the dirt in the garden.
“I personally think she doesn’t know about the diamonds,” Mendes tells Refinery29. “You only see the diamonds [in the scene] when she walks away, back to the house, after turning on the sprinklers. Who knows, maybe she discovers the diamonds a week later. In that moment, though, I don’t think she knows.”
Usher has a different thought about the movie’s ending.
“I think having gone through everything Katie went through, I think she knows that the diamonds are there in the garden, but she doesn’t want to find them,” Usher adds. “I think it’s one of those things where she’s like, ‘If I look for these diamonds, I know I’ll find them.’ So she’s like, ‘You know what? I should just leave them there.’”
If Katie does see the diamonds one day, will she follow in Adam’s footsteps and start spending her fortune? It’s unclear. Maybe a sequel will show whether money has the power to change all people — and if that old adage of “mo’ money, mo’ problems” is always true.
Dangerous Lies is streaming now on Netflix.