'Eric': Is the Netflix crime drama based on a true story? And will there be a Season 2? (2024)

Spoiler alert! The following story contains major plot details about the series finale of "Eric" (now streaming on Netflix).

Benedict Cumberbatch is a monster of a man.

In Netflix drama “Eric,” the two-time Oscar nominee plays Vincent Anderson, a vicious alcoholic who helps run “Good Day Sunshine,” a “Sesame Street”-style children’s TV show in 1980s New York. At home, Vincent is a terror to his wife, Cassie (Gaby Hoffmann), and 9-year-old son, Edgar (Ivan Howe), who goes missing one day on his way to school. Vincent spirals and embarks on a drug-addled search that takes him to New York's underbelly, accompanied by a giant puppet named Eric, who appears as a hallucination.

Although Edgar’s disappearance was thought to be a kidnapping, we eventually learn that he ran away. And in the series’ sixth and final episode, Vincent wears an Eric costume and makes a televised plea for his son to come home, leading to a teary reunion.

But it’s a decidedly unhappy ending for Michael (McKinley Belcher III), a Black gay cop who is forced to keep his sexuality secret as AIDS panic sweeps the city. Meanwhile, his search for a missing Black teen named Marlon Rochelle ends in heartbreak.

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“It’s a parallel journey of (Vincent and Michael) trying to find themselves,” says creator Abi Morgan (“The Iron Lady”), who broke down the series finale for USA TODAY.

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Is 'Eric' based on a true story?

'Eric': Is the Netflix crime drama based on a true story? And will there be a Season 2? (1)

Although true-crime series continue to be wildly popular on Netflix, “Eric” isn’t one of them. “It wasn’t based on any one story,” Morgan says. “I think if I’d wanted to do that, I would have really gone deep into that story.” Rather, it’s loosely based on several cases she had heard about growing up in the U.K. “There were several children who disappeared. I wanted to create a kind of everychild; the simple act of going out one day and not coming home felt very resonant.”

How does the show end for Benedict Cumberbatch's character?

'Eric': Is the Netflix crime drama based on a true story? And will there be a Season 2? (2)

The series ends with Vincent on the set of “Good Day Sunshine.” Edgar walks in wearing Eric’s costume and introduces himself as the monster. “Pleased to meet you,” Vincent says. “Have we not met before?” The camera pans up to the "real" Eric, watching father and son from afar before the end credits roll.

“I wanted to get back to the idea of the boy reclaiming the monster; I always had this very strong image of the boy crawling back inside,” Morgan says of the final scene. “At its most simple metaphor, it’s about the inner child: Vincent goes on this quest to find his son, and inadvertently, you realize it's a quest to find himself.” Ultimately, “it’s about this boy understanding his father in a way that Vincent doesn't even understand himself. In going on this journey, he sees that Edgar has laid out this incredible lesson for him, which is to be careful not to neglect your children because they listen and observe.”

What is the song in the series finale?

The series ends with “I’m Not in Love,” a bittersweet 1975 ballad by British group 10cc. It’s a callback to the first episode, when Edgar listens to the song as he walks to school the day he goes missing. “There’s a haunting romanticism,” Morgan says. “We hear it as Edgar disappears, but in his returning, it’s played in a much gentler way so that we can just enjoy it as a track. We lean into the reassuring resolution of the father and son coming back together at the end.”

What happens to Marlon Rochelle and his mom?

'Eric': Is the Netflix crime drama based on a true story? And will there be a Season 2? (3)

Through security-camera footage, Michael discovers that Marlon was molested by a closeted politician and murdered by racist police detectives behind a nightclub. His body was taken by garbagemen to a landfill, and in a devastating scene, we watch as his mother, Cecile (Adepero Oduye), searches through the refuse for her son. “My son deserved to live in a city that protected him,” Cecile says at a press conference after the case is closed. “For all of our sons, please do better.”

Writing Marlon’s story, Morgan was inspired by Stephen Lawrence, a Black British teen who was murdered in 1993, as well as the more recent killing of George Floyd by police. She wanted to show the audience that when it comes to justice, there is no "neat resolution."

'Eric': Is the Netflix crime drama based on a true story? And will there be a Season 2? (4)

Not only is Cecile a mom who’s lost her child, but she also represents “a mother for a lost generation,” Morgan says. “That symbolic line she has at the end is a nod to Arthur Miller’s ‘All My Sons,’ which is about taking responsibility. Cecile is calling for collective responsibility of how we raise and support our sons, be that through the body of a family, our police force or our government.”

Will there be an 'Eric' Season 2?

"Eric" is a miniseries that gives closure to most of its major characters. But if the show proves a hit, could a second season explore a different missing person case or pocket of New York? Morgan finds that potential “interesting,” but says it was never her intent.

“The joy of a limited series is that it hopefully burns bright for that period, so I never saw it beyond that,” Morgan says. “I feel those characters have exorcised their demons and come to a resolution, and as an exploration of the city at that time, we’ve probably grappled with everything there. It feels like it landed for me in six episodes, so I don’t know I would take it any further than that.”

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'Eric': Is the Netflix crime drama based on a true story? And will there be a Season 2? (2024)


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