The Sinner season 3 ending explained: who survived the epic finale?

The third season of the crime thriller ended with a chilling showdown between Ambrose and Jamie.

The Sinner season 3

The third season of Netflix crime drama The Sinner, which stars Bill Pullman as detective Harry Burns, has finally arrived in the UK – after a long wait for British fans of the series.

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This time round, Ambrose has a new mystery to solve – as he investigates a car crash that turns out to be more sinister and complicated than the open and shut case it had originally seemed to be.

And the season culminated in an epic showdown in the final episode, with the detective coming face to face with Jamie Burns, played to terrifying effect by Matt Bomer.

Here’s everything you need to know about that chilling finale.

The Sinner series 3 ending explained

Towards the end of the season, Ambrose finds the dead body of Morris – who has just been killed by Jamie – and discovers a note that had been left in the corpse’s pocket by the killer indicating that Morris was just the first of many intended victims.

The list also included the names of Sonya, Melanie and Eli – in other words, all the people closest to Ambrose.

Meanwhile, Jamie has retrieved Eli from his karate class and heads to Sonya’s house. Sonya had been warned of the situation by Ambrose but opted not to flee, instead waiting for the killer’s arrival in a bid to talk him out of his murderous spree.

That plan fails badly and Sonya finds herself in deep peril after she is toppled by Jamie, and is only saved by the perfectly timed arrival of the police – with Jamie forced to flee the scene as result, and Sonya escorted to the precinct.

In a reversal of the earlier moment, now Sonya begs Ambrose not to take on Jamie on his own – but her attempts fall on similarly deaf ears.

Having fled Sonya’s house, Jamie spends some time hiding in the woods before heading home to say goodbye to his wife and heading back to Ambrose’s house, alerting the detective to Eli’s current location.

The Sinner season 3 – Bill Pullman
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Ambrose shows up – armed and ready for battle – and discovers Eli, but not before he is ambushed by Jamie, who proceeds to steal his gun and forces him inside where he proposes a game: he has a fortune teller with four answers, three of which say Eli lives and the other of which signals his death.

Unsurprisingly, Ambrose does not take Jamie up on this offer, instead trying once again to talk him down from his murderous plot – a plea which at this stage doesn’t seem very likely to work.

At this point Jamie begins to taunt the detective and the pair exchange barbs, after which Jamie points his gun at Eli’s head.

Ambrose now plays a very dangerous game – he mentions Nick, which has a clear effect on Jamie and seems to give the detective more of an upper hand, as he seems to call the killer’s bluff.

But after some more to-and-froing and mutual taunting, Jamie grows increasingly psychotic – pointing the gun at Ambrose, then himself, then lunging towards the detective and shooting him in the arm.

Ambrose runs out to the woods – after he has urged Eli to flee – and is pursued by Jamie who now seems certain to shoot him again. But before he can, the detective hits him on the head with a stone, after which they both head back inside – the scene of the final showdown.

The Sinner - season 3
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Back inside, Jamie agrees to surrender – but really it’s a mind game. He doesn’t truly believe that the detective will be content having Jamie locked away, thinking that the continued chase gives Ambrose’s life meaning, and tells the detective as much.

But Jamie has clearly underestimates his adversary – Ambrose shoots him in the abdomen, fatally, and seems stunned at his own actions.

Ambrose calls for an ambulance and talks to the dying Jamie, who admonishes him for shooting as opposed to calling for backup and in his final moments attempts to tell himself that he’s not a bad man.

Eventually the ambulance arrives but it’s too late – Jamie is dead, and Ambrose is racked with guilt, even considering turning himself in, although he eventually decides against it.

The final scene takes place a few weeks in the future and sees Ambrose break down in tears in Sonya’s kitchen – it’s clear that the events of the episode are going to have a profound attempt on him for some time. Roll on season four…

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The Sinner series 3 is available on Netflix now – check out our lists of the best TV shows on Netflix and the best movies on Netflix, or see what else is on with our TV Guide