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The Terminal List ending explained: Who killed Alpha Team?

Everything you need to know about the ending to the Amazon Prime thriller.

Chris Pratt in The Terminal List.
Justin Lubin/Amazon Studios
Published: Tuesday, 5th July 2022 at 3:57 pm
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Chris Pratt's new series The Terminal List is now available to watch in full on Prime Video, and it tells a murky story full of conspiracies, double dealing and cover-ups.

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Pratt stars in the Terminal List cast as James Reece, a Navy Seal whose entire team was killed during an ambush on a mission, which Reece believes to be a set-up.

With his memory fuzzy, Reece must uncover the truth, but just what does he find out and who was the real architect of his woes?

Read on for everything you need to know about the ending of The Terminal List on Prime Video.

The Terminal List ending explained

Who was behind the conspiracy to kill Alpha Team?

Jai Courtney in The Terminal List.
Jai Courtney in The Terminal List. Courtesy of Prime Video

At the start of the series, Lt Commander James Reece's entire team of Navy Seals are ambushed on a covert mission with only two survivors – Reece himself and fellow soldier Boozer.

Boozer is later killed in an attack which is made to look like a suicide, while Reece also survives an attack from unknown assailants. He then comes home to find his wife and daughter killed.

As Reece works his way through a kill list of those he believes are responsible, along with his friend Ben Edwards (Taylor Kitsch), he discovers that Alpha Team were unwittingly part of a trial drug experiment, which was designed to prevent PTSD.

The trial was pushed through by Capstone Industries CEO Steve Horn (Jai Courtney), and authorised by Secretary of Defence Lorraine Hartley (Jeanne Tripplehorn), along with Admiral Pillar (Nick Chinlund), Commander Cox (LaMonica Garrett) and Captain Howard (Matthew Rauch).

However, the drugs - designated RD4895 - didn't work, and the entire team was instead left with fatal brain tumours. The team were then wiped out in a purposefully botched mission so that there would be no evidence of the failed trial.

What happened to Secretary Hartley?

Jeanne Tripplehorn in The Terminal List.
Jeanne Tripplehorn in The Terminal List. Courtesy of Prime Video

When reporter Katie Buranek (Constance Wu), who has earned Reece's trust, tries to publish an exposé on the trial and cover-up, the publication is blocked by Hartley, who persuades Buranek to visit her at her home.

During a heated conversation, Buranek gets Hartley to admit that she knew about the plan and kept quiet to protect her reputation. She records this admission and when Reece arrives to kill Hartley, Buranek tries to persuade him not to, and instead let her face justice through the courts.

Unconvinced he moves in to kill her, but Hartley beats him to it, pulling a pistol from a draw and shooting herself.

Katie subsequently publishes her story and the truth gets out, exposing the conspiracy in full.

Who else was involved in the conspiracy?

Taylor Kitsch in The Terminal List.
Taylor Kitsch in The Terminal List. Courtesy of Prime Video

The most shocking moment of the finale surely comes when Reece discovers the answer to one final mystery. He knew that someone in the CIA was being paid off by Capstone, via a shell company, Oberon Analytics, in order to leak bad intel and orchestrate that ambush on Alpha Team.

However, when he finds out the money was routed through a bank in Peru, he pieces together what his friend Ben Edwards had previously told him, and works out that he is in fact the mole.

Edwards is the CIA intelligence source that was paid by Capstone to orchestrate the mission/ambush that killed Alpha Team.

Reece confronts him on his boat and gets the confession, with Edwards saying that he was told the team were destined for death anyway due to their tumours, and thought it better they die in combat. However, he acknowledges that his role in the conspiracy was also because of the money he was paid, $20 million in total.

Edwards tells Reece he knew nothing of the plan to murder Reece's family, and his rage at the conspiracy was genuine from that point. Still, in his final act of revenge, Reece seemingly shoots him dead off camera.

Where do we leave Reece?

Chris Pratt in The Terminal List.
Chris Pratt in The Terminal List. Courtesy of Prime Video

At the end of the season, Reece seems to find some peace following the death of his family, remembering in full the memory of them he had been struggling to all season.

He then throws his kill list, written on the back of one of his daughter's drawings, overboard, as he sails into the distance.

On a map he can be seen looking at Mozambique, suggesting he is travelling there having been labelled a domestic terrorist. If the series were to be renewed, this would seem to be setting up a second season based on the second Reece novel True Believer, which starts in the East African country.

The Terminal List is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video now. Check out more of our Drama coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight.

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