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Delving into the ambiguous ending of My Son on Netflix

james mcavoy as edmond murray, my son
My Son ending explainedThe Movie Partnership Limited

Why was Edmond being arrested in the ending of My Son?

The movie has had Netflix viewers asking this question since it arrived on the streaming service in February 2024 and became one of the most watched movies at that time. Netflix users were confused by the film's ambiguous ending, which we're going to try to untangle here.

The improvised thriller sees James McAvoy play Edmond Murray, who, after a call from his ex-wife Joan (Claire Foy), attempts to find his son Ethan when he goes missing from a campsite.

Even McAvoy didn't know what had happened when he was filming as he was the only cast member to not be given scripts. So he would have been as surprised as you when My Son reveals what happened to Ethan.

And if My Son left you feeling a bit lost, we're here to help explain what happened to Ethan, as well as that final scene which sees Edmond arrested.

Spoilers follow.

james mcavoy, my son
Amazon Prime

My Son explained: What happened to Ethan?

Despite being initially suspicious of Joan's new partner Frank (Tom Cullen), it's actually Frank who unwittingly helps Edmond crack what happened to his son.

As he's looking through Frank's phone (which was mistakenly given to him after he was arrested for beating up Frank), Edmond spots the same vehicle in two videos of Ethan in the weeks leading up to his disappearance.

Thanks to Joan's brother (who works for an insurance company), Edmond tracks down the vehicle's owner, William, who lives at an isolated farm. He tortures William to tell him what happened and William reveals he works for a kidnapping ring, sending them photos of children. The kidnapping ring then picks which children to kidnap.

William, alongside others working for the ring, then kidnaps their 'choice' and leaves them at Dunmore Lodge to be picked up. Edmond heads to the lodge where he finds Ethan being guarded by three of the kidnappers.

Edmond leaves a message for Joan, telling her where to find Ethan and asks her to contact Inspector Roy (Gary Lewis), who was helping on the case. Edmond manages to rescue Ethan just in time for Joan to arrive and the three of them escape, although Edmond is shot as they're driving away.

Luckily, Inspector Roy finds their car shortly after Edmond passes out, rescuing Joan and Ethan, as well as managing to keep Edmond alive. But it's not all good news for Edmond...

james mcavoy as edmond murray, my son
The Movie Partnership Limited

My Son ending: Why was Edmond arrested?

The final scene of My Son appears to be a happy family reunion as Edmond and Joan watch on as Ethan operates a toy drone. However, Inspector Roy arrives and calls Edmond over, leading to him telling his son that he'll be gone for a "wee while".

It becomes clear that Edmond has been arrested, but the movie doesn't completely spell out exactly why he's been arrested.

One explanation is that it's because, in order to rescue Ethan, Edmond did all manner of shady things, including torture. But since anything he did was to members of the kidnapping ring, we don't imagine he'd get in too much trouble for it.

The more likely explanation has links to earlier in the investigation when Edmond hands over his phone to the police. They need it to look at his contacts to work out if anybody involved with Edmond would hold a grudge and kidnap his son as a result.

james mcavoy sitting in a police car at the end of my son
STX Films

However, it seems like they also discovered Edmond was involved in shady dealings with his work. Edmond travels internationally to places including Iraq and Libya, and all we know of his job is that he works within the oil industry.

When Edmond calls his partner Joan some time after this interview, she tells him that the police have raided his office. "They turned the whole place upside-down. They've got the computers. They've got the hard drives," she notes, adding that it includes the "Iraq files".

It's unclear exactly what these files could contain, but it appears that in order to help find his son, Edmond might have willingly put himself in legal hot water as he knew his phone had "sensitive material" on it.

james mcavoy sitting in a police car at the end of my son
STX Films

Perhaps it won't be completely terrible for Edmond though as, for one, his son is safe, but also Inspector Roy tells him after arresting him that his help in uncovering the kidnapping ring could end up being favourable to Edmond.

"The dismantling of the network is accelerating. I believe that there will be more arrests. It'll be a big list," he tells Edmond. "It could be good for you... The judge will probably take this into account."

So maybe Edmond will only end up inside for a short "wee while" and he'll be reunited again with his son in the near future.

My Son is available to watch on Netflix in the UK and Ireland, and on Peacock in the US.

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