‘The Twelve’ ending explained: Who killed Roos?
(Credit: Netflix)

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‘The Twelve’ ending explained: Who killed Roos?

Netflix’s The Twelve, or De Twaalf as known in its native Belgium, stood out as a gripping courtroom drama when it first landed on the platform in 2020, bang in the middle of the pandemic. The series was unyieldingly grim and even birthed an Australian remake with Sam Neill headlining it. Even after four years, people keep tuning in, trying to figure out the million-dollar question: Did Frie Palmers really kill her best friend and child?

Bert Van Dael and Sanne Nuyens co-created the series for Dutch television. After a TV debut in 2019, the series got picked up by streaming a year later. The Twelve delves into the lives of twelve jurors tasked with unravelling the truth behind a gruesome twin murder case.

In a landscape saturated with crime dramas, The Twelve emerged as a beacon of originality even though it wasn’t reinventing the wheel. The performances were gripping in a series full of intricate plot twists, and that was enough to keep everyone hooked.

The Australian adaptation of De Twaalf aired on Foxtel’s Fox Showcase from June to August 2022. The show starred Kate Mulvany, Sam Neill, Marta Dusseldorp, and Brendan Cowell. It was renewed for a second season in 2023. However, if you wish to rehash your memory about the De Twaalf ending, then read on.

What happens at the end of The Twelve?

As the series reaches its crescendo in its tenth episode, viewers are finally presented with the culmination of the trial that has kept them on the edge. Frie Palmers (Maaike Cafmeyer) stands accused of the murders of both her best friend Brechtje Vindevogel (Lynn Van Royen) and her own daughter Roos (Estelle Sys). The tension reaches its peak as the jury delivers its verdict, ultimately finding Frie guilty of Brechtje’s murder but acquitting her of Roos’ death.

However, the climax of the series is not without its twists. In a shocking revelation, Frie’s attorney discovers damning evidence hidden within a pop-up book — a pair of black gloves and a delicate gold necklace bearing the word “amour.” This revelation shatters the facade of innocence Frie hid behind. That was her confession to her attorney about her culpability in both crimes. 

Why did Frie kill Brechtje and Roos?

In the case of Brechtje, Frie’s actions are hinted to have been driven by jealousy and betrayal. Brechtje’s relationship with Frie’s ex-husband, Steefan, likely triggered feelings of resentment and betrayal in Frie, leading her to lash out in a fit of rage.

But Frie never intended to kill her daughter. Roos’ murder was an accident, but it was Frie’s fault. She injured Roos to prove her worth as a mother and regain custody of her daughter. After losing custody to Steefan, Frie’s fragile psyche is further destabilised, driving her to desperate measures to undermine Steefan’s suitability as a parent.

Ultimately, Frie is sentenced to 30 years in prison for Brechtje’s murder but goes scott-free on Roos’s death. And if this ending leaves you feeling ambiguous, then that was by design. Showrunners Bert Van Dael and Sanne Nuyens explained to Variety, “We feel that there’s something really good to say about juries, and we feel that there’s bad things to say. […] Maybe a jury system is not per se the best or the most fair system.”

You can stream The Twelve on Netflix.