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The Ending to Netflix's Inexplicably Popular 'Who Is Erin Carter?' Explained

By Dustin Rowles | TV | September 1, 2023 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | September 1, 2023 |


Who Is Erin Carter? is one of those Netflix series with no big names, no marketing, a generic premise, and an international setting that inexplicably and algorithmically floats to the top of the Netflix top ten when the streamer hasn’t released anything particularly popular. It blips onto the top ten and gravitates toward the top as new subscribers sample it out of curiosity. Like a lot of algorithmically-driven Netflix series, it is intensely plot-driven — actors are strictly plug-and-play — and keeps viewers hurtling along not out of any real interest in characters but to see what the next twist will be.

Who Is Erin Carter? is not a bad series, but it’s also not a good one. It’s #content meant to be consumed and forgotten, but for the knowledge that the viewer just spent over seven hours vaguely engaged with their Netflix app. It’s a time filler that asks very little of the viewers and gives the viewer very little in return, the streaming equivalent of a TikTok scroll. It eats up hours, but that’s about it.

This post is for those who maybe watched a few episodes but got distracted by something shiny (a new Netflix series, perhaps), have no real intentions of returning to Who Is Erin Carter?, but still want to know what happened.

In a nutshell: Schoolteacher Erin Carter is the alias of Kate Jones, an aspiring police officer kicked out of the academy for breaking a colleague’s nose. However, she’s perfect for doing undercover work. She is hired by an undercover unit and embedded in a criminal gang bankrolled by the season’s Big Bad, Daniel (Douglas Henshall), but Erin grows fond of several of the gang members, including Lena (Denise Gough) and her toddler daughter, Harper (Indica Watson).

After tipping the police off to the heist of millions in gold bars, a shootout between the criminal gang and the police ensues. After Lena is believed to be shot dead, Erin Carter abducts her friend’s daughter, runs away with her, and starts a new life as a schoolteacher and eventually marries Jordi (Sean Teale), who has no knowledge of her past life.

Years later, however, Erin Carter gets caught up in a grocery store robbery perpetrated by members of the criminal gang in which she was embedded. She manages to kill one of the robbers, but once her cover is blown, several more come after Erin. With the help of her husband’s best friend, a cop named Emilio (Pep Ambròs), Erin manages to kill the other criminal members while maintaining her cover as a schoolteacher.

However, Emilio is something of a crooked cop who gets caught up with a criminal gang headed by Daniel Lang. Coincidentally, Erin also starts tutoring Daniel’s troubled son, although Daniel doesn’t know that Erin is Kate Jones, and Eric has no idea that Daniel bankrolled the gold bars heist. That soon changes, however, when Daniel kills Emilio, which pits Erin directly against Daniel and his gang.

Meanwhile, it turns out that Lena — the mother of Harper — actually survived the shootout and, after being released from prison, tracks down Erin with the intention of killing her and taking back her daughter. In the midst of all this, there’s also some low-key interoffice political drama at Erin’s school, as well as some drama between her and a mean-girl neighbor, Penelope (Charlotte Vega).

Once Lena tracks down Erin, she shoots Erin in the gut, leaves her for dead, and makes off with the gold. However, Erin survives the gunshot, Lena is swept up in the Daniel drama, and ultimately, Lena and Erin are forced to work together against Daniel to save Harper.

Once Lena realizes that Erin has been a good mother to Harper, she sacrifices herself to Daniel to save Erin. Lena dies but takes out Daniel’s entire gang in doing so. Erin, meanwhile, shoots Daniel in the head, and she, Harper, and Jordi — who now knows the truth about Erin Carter — live happily ever after.

A stinger at the end of the finale, however, reveals that the head of the undercover cop unit tracks Erin down on her beach vacation and attempts to recruit her for another assignment, which would presumably take place in the second season, should Who Is Erin Carter? be renewed. The End.