I Promise You Won’t See the ‘Hit Man’ Ending Coming

By the time you reach the end of Hit Man, you’ll no doubt question the film’s “based on a true story” claim. Luckily, that’s exactly what Hit Man had in mind. The new movie, directed by Richard Linklater (Boyhood), loosely adapts the life of a real undercover investigator named Gary Johnson, who pretended to be a hit man for the Houston police department. It’s an unbelievable true story that appeared in Texas Monthly back in 2001. Now it’s a Netflix movie starring Glen Powell and one heck of a Hollywood twist.

Hit Man begins by taking viewers through the mild-mannered Johnson’s origin story. Roped into the undercover gig one day, he absolutely shines in the role and even comes to enjoy it. The gist? After police get word that someone is looking to hire a hit man, they send Johnson undercover. He acts the part, secretly records their intent to have someone killed, exchanges money, and then sends the officers in to make the arrest. No one is hurt—and the penalty for the perpetrator is far less than if the murder had actually been committed.

But everything changes for Johnson—especially the “true story” aspect—when he falls in love with one of his marks. Played by Adria Arjona (Andor), Maddy Masters is a woman who seeks out a hit man because she sees no other way to escape her abusive husband. Offering her help instead, Johnson plays off the book and tells her to use the money to start a new life. And a romance with the hit man just so happens to be part of that new life!

After a few steamy sex scenes, trouble rears its ugly head once again. Not only is Johnson still posing as Ron the Hit Man when he’s with Maddy, but his workplace is starting to catch on to his bizarre connections to her as well. When Maddy’s husband turns up dead, it’s off to the races to conceal their relationship—and maybe even a body.

hit man l to r adria arjona as madison masters and glen powell as gary johnson cr courtesy of netflix
Hit Man follows the story of a real-life undercover hit man, and then it becomes a romantic comedy.Netflix

What Happens at the End of Hit Man?

The “villain”—if you can even call him that—is former undercover hit man Jasper (The Walking Dead’s Austin Amelio). After he grows wise to Gary and Maddy’s relationship, he uncovers that Maddy ended up killing her husband herself. Turns out he recently took out a big life-insurance policy—and Maddy stayed married to him so that she would inherit all of his money when he died. Plus, Maddy finds out that Gary lied to her about his identity the entire time they were together.

Surprisingly, Johnson doesn’t turn her in. He orchestrates an elaborate lie with Maddy to throw the police off the trail, reprising the role of the angry hit man. It’s not enough of a performance for Jasper, apparently. He threatens to blackmail the couple into giving him the life-insurance money. Instead, Johnson commits his first murder, killing Jasper by suffocating him with a plastic bag.

“It’s the definition of commitment,” Arjona told the Today show of Hit Man’s big twist. “That’s like our ‘proposal’ in the movie. Putting that plastic bag over [Jasper’s head]...If you think about it, that’s [Gary] kneeling down, being like, ‘Will you marry me?’ ” Dark! Though it’s never explained how Gary and Maddy hid Jasper’s body—or even got away with the murder—they end up living happily ever after. They have a dog, a kid, and a beautiful new home. Hooray!

“This is a great love story and the weirdest meet-cute,” Linklater explained to the Today show. “It just seemed more fun and unexpected....A happy ending—just never mind that small body count they had to go through to get there.”

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