'The Undoing' Spoilers: 7 Things That Point to Franklin Being the Killer

After weeks of The Undoing living rent-free in my mind, I (believe) I figured out who killed Elena Alves (Matilda de Angelis): Donald Sutherland's Franklin. I know blaming Jonathan Fraser (Hugh Grant) for the killing seems like the likely outcome, despite his denial throughout the series, but Franklin killing Elena makes more sense.

He's a wealthy, powerful man who wants to keep his daughter Grace's (Nicole Kidman) family together, despite becoming entangled in a horrific crime. He and they have reputations to uphold in their opulent Upper East Side world, and the resources to do so. He also mentions at one point that Grace never asks for help, so perhaps he took it upon himself to end Jonathan's affair once and for all.

As a self-proclaimed armchair detective and Upper East Sider, I took it upon myself to break down my very own hot take. I apologize in advance if indeed, these turn out to be spoilers. But also, I told you so!

The opening credits

Presumably, the little girl in the opening credits is meant to be a young Grace Fraser with fabulous red hair. At one point Kidman's hauntingly beautiful rendition of "Dream a Little Dream of Me," an image of a curtain with blood splatters appears. It's a departure from an otherwise dreamy sequence.

If this IS meant to be a younger Grace, the flash of blood could point to her father, since he knew her as a kid? I know this one feels like a stretch, but stick with me, folks. I got more to unpack.

Location of his apartment and Elena's Studio

Time Out New York did the footwork in figuring out the less-obvious locations of the series, such as Elena's apartment and the fictions Reardon School. Franklin lives on 1215 Fifth Avenue, at the corner of 102nd Street. Her studio is located at 181 Lenox Avenue (also known as Malcolm X Avenue) at 119th Street in South Harlem, as per Untapped Cities.

This means that Franklin could have easily went to Elena's apartment in a 15-minute car ride, murdered her, and took the car straight home. Jonathan, meanwhile, would take closer to 30 minutes to reach her studio from his townhouse on 63rd Street and Madison Avenue. It's also interesting to note that the Alves residence is located at 102 E. 103rd Street, which is a six-minute walk from Franklin's apartment — easy for him to keep tabs on his son-in-law's mistress.

Franklin also leaves the Reardon fundraiser gala very early, perhaps to keep his timeline involved in the killing less obvious than Jonathan's turns out to be. (Also, did anyone else think his interaction with Jonathan that night was awkward?)

Franklin loves art, and Elena is an artist

One interesting piece of evidence found at Elena's studio is an oil painting of Grace. Jonathan chalks it up to Elena obsessing with his life, but perhaps it was commissioned by Franklin? His apartment is also decorated like a museum, filled with paintings and sculptures, and just appears drafty. A painting of his daughter would fit right in. Franklin also frequents the Frick Collection on 70th and 5th, particularly to stare at J. W. Turner's "The Harbor of Dieppe." His daughter joins him there, and detectives find him there to ask questions about the crime.

Franklin loves art, Elena is a painter....it's an interesting connection we cannot deny.

Donald Sutherland Nicole Kidman The Undoing
Donald Sutherland and Nicole Kidman in a still from "The Undoing" on HBO. David Giesbrecht/HBO

Threatening Jonathan & lending him money

In the fourth episode, Franklin stops by the prison Jonathan is being held at to let him know he is paying for his bail ($2 million cash). "I think you're guilty. I believe you killed that woman. Grace makes room for the possibility that you did not. And perhaps because she so rarely asks for my help, I find myself ill-equipped to refuse it," he tells Jonathan. "But should you run, should you do anything to further harm my daughter, my grandson, I will track you down. And I will kill you myself." This threat may seem thinly veiled, as any would from someone's father-in-law. If Franklin did kill Elena, he could easily kill Jonathan as well.

Franklin also told Grace that he lent Jonathan $500K after he lost his job because he was worried about their finances. Grace fires back that if her father told her about the loan, maybe Elena would still be alive. Maybe not though, if the wheels were in motion for Franklin's killing.

The "old-fashioned c***sucker" spiel

I'm still scared of Franklin after this chilling scene. Later in episode four, Franklin threatens the principal of Reardon after they suggest homeschooling Henry (Noah Jupe) until the trial surrounding Elena's death is over. He then launches into the short but sharp highly-praised monologue: "I've given a lot of money to this school, Mr. Connaver, and I've always considered it a privilege to be able to do so. But make no mistake. I am a c***sucker. And I don't mean that in the sense of gay belittlement, as its currently come to be interpreted. No. I'm an old fashioned c***sucker," he says. "The more traditional kind."

Adding: "The kind who f**ks over anyone who hurts me, or a loved one. You speak of ugliness Mr. Connaver. You have not yet met ugliness." Fans likened him to his Hunger Games persona, the villainous President Snow, and it's a moment viewers see how cold-blooded this wealthy old man can be.

Like Jonathan, Franklin also had an affair

Towards the end of the fourth episode, Franklin admits that he had an affair outside his marriage to Grace's mother. It's news to Grace, and is a low-key connection to Jonathan. Maybe Franklin wishes he handled his affair differently, and wanted to help free Jonathan of his own guilt over the infidelity? It could also be about keeping up appearances and not tarnishing his daughter's reputation further.

The weapon was found at Franklin's apartment

The final moment of the fifth episode is what fully sold me into believing Franklin did it. Though the murder weapon was found in Henry's violin case, it's likely that Franklin slipped it in there while Henry was practicing at his apartment, he saw him come and watch Henry practice, assuming no one would think to look there. The murder weapon was also never found after the police raided the Fraser's apartment, so Franklin having it at his residence as the killer does add up.

Believe what you want about who killed Elena, but I stand by the Donald Sutherland theory. These few pieces of potential evidence (and his eyebrows) have me sold.

The finale of The Undoing airs on HBO Sunday at 9 p.m.