‘Kerala Crime Files’ Recap & Ending, Explained: Where Was Shiju Finally Caught? What Was His Motive?

The OTT space in India right now is littered with murder investigation dramas. Crime has been the running theme for a while, and jumping on the bandwagon is the brand-new Disney+ Hotstar special, Kerala Crime Files, directed by Ahammed Khabeer and written by Ashiq Aimar. This half-mediocre, half-interesting murder investigation drama takes the viewer on the quest for finding a killer where solving the case takes a back seat, and finding out the entire history of the man takes precedence.


Spoilers Ahead

A Crime Has Been Committed

Set in 2011, the show begins with Sharath, a receptionist working at a shady lodge in the city of Cochin, finding the dead body of a woman in a room, and the man with her is absconding. Sharath is shaken for it is not every day one sees the dead body of a woman and is okay after that. The police arrive at the scene of the crime and begin their procedures of sealing the crime scene, gathering evidence, and questioning the people working at the lodge.


The Squinting Eye And The Fake Address

The initial findings identify the victim as Swapna, a sex worker. Using that information, the police question Sharath because they are sure he knows more than he leads on because there is no way he wouldn’t have known who the man with Swapna was. Sharath reveals that he will be able to recognize the man, a prime suspect because this person has a squinty eye. Based on the information in the lodge register, the man with Swapna is identified as Shiju and the address mentioned in it turns out to be fake as per a quick search done by the investigating leads CI Kurien and SI Manoj.

After thorough search of the lodges in the vicinity, it comes to be known that Shiju seems to have used the same fake address in most places, which drives the policemen berserk. Their reaction is normal because they cannot believe a man was living among them using a fake address and they let him fester like a disease that ended up committing a murder. The investigation team was also a bit smug with just a name and a patchy sketch, as described by Sharath, they figured it would be easy to close this case. They were proven wrong quite early in the investigation, and it would not be the first time they would make such errors. The interesting part about this team is that they do not fall back after one setback and continue looking for Shiju.


The Red Herring

The team barely got any information on Shiju, but there is a fierce willfulness in them to get hold of this man. This is unlike any other investigation. This time the victim is not a high-profile celebrity but just a common sex worker, which is why the police want to catch the killer. It is because they believe no commoner deserves to die the way she died. This comes across as a good spin on the narrative that the police are also good-hearted people, and they need to be seen as human beings. There is always a shroud of negativity around police officers in many movies and television shows. Kerala Crime Files is trying to showcase that not all police officers are out there trying to make someone’s life hell. Kurien, Manoj, and the team are only doing their job, and people should just let them.

After interrogating Swapna’s neighbor Lathika, who is also in the same profession, they come across the name of the person who abused her as well. The name happens to be Shiju, who works as a union member of a local political party. The police arrest him immediately because they think they have solid proof in the form of a photograph collected from Shiju’s wife. Lathika also identifies him, and the police confirm it matches the squint-eyed sketch. As a viewer, one would wonder how the case could be solved quickly, and catching this Shiju has to be a red herring. An arrest happens, and to make the case strong, the police force Lathika to file an FIR against Shiju for physical assault. It was rather a convenient way to make sure Shiju’s political aides would not try to get him bail because physical assault is a serious offense.


On the same day after a chain-snatching incident on a local bus, the police asked the passengers to write down their names and addresses as all of them were key eyewitnesses. This would remind you of the classic Fahad Faasil film “Thondimuthalum Driksakshiyum.” To everyone’s horror, one of the passengers leaves the station by writing down the same address that the police identified as fake. The wrongful arrest sends the team into a frenzy. This part of the show was predictable because viewers knew the case had to be derailed to pave the way to find the real Shiju.  All of this was expected because catching a killer would not be this easy, and the union member’s arrest was added to disrupt the narrative.

Where Was Shiju Finally Caught? What Was His Motive?

After the first fiasco, the team is far more conscious because they can no longer lose face over this investigation. As one of the policemen states, there was never any pressure on them to solve this case quickly because the victim is a nobody of their superior officers. It proves that even the dead are discriminated against based on their choice of living. Since Swapna was a commoner, many of the procedures done for a murder investigation were not carried out quickly. This is again reminiscent of the Hindi film “Talaash,” in which Kareena Kapoor’s character talks about how sex workers never even existed in the books for them to be saved by the police. From here on the end goal of Kurien, Manoj, and his team is to not stop until Shiju is caught. The viewers right now also want this man to be arrested because it is high time someone pays for the unlawful activities that are committed due to the egos of men.


Kurien and Manoj have become quite the team, and they begin the search for people who might have seen or worked with Shiju. The call records take them to a man named Jacob, who happens to be working as a marketing professional. This is initially considered a dead end because he is an unsuspecting individual. This is just the first stage of the many searches conducted by the team to get closer to Shiju. Thankfully, all of his acquaintances come across as honest people, for they do not sugar coat anything about Shiju, but he is nowhere to be found. By the looks of it, he is not even aware that the police are after him now. The man was not smart enough to leave the town right after killing someone. His hometown’s address is found, and that is given to every police station in the city to find out if there are any cases registered against him. This turned out to be the smartest of the moves because a restaurant owner had filed a case against Shiju for sending him death threats. This gentleman submitted all the documents he had about Shiju as proof of his existence. It looks like, after a long and tiring search, the police have finally come closer to the culprit. Even for the audience, it is the last leg of the investigation, which is to relentlessly look for the man and arrest him.

As per the information given by the restaurant owner about Shiju, Sisily agrees that she is Shiju’s girlfriend. Sisily happens to be the wife of Jacob, the man they previously questioned. The narrative after a point was beating around the bush instead of coming straight to the point that Sisily knows where Shiju is right now. She also admits to being in love with him and her willingness to elope with him. Her conversation might imply that she is unhappy in her current marriage. She also reveals that he is working at a canteen in Angamaly. The team is not that far away from Shiju. They are desperate to catch him because their fear of the man leaving the town is palpable.


After a lot of running around, the police get hold of the phone number of his workplace, thanks to the receptionist at the place where Shiju is currently lodging. It looks like the receptionists are the bane of Shiju’s existence because, at crucial times, they gave him away. Jokes apart, Shibu is finally caught working at a police canteen. Shibu’s place of work comes across as a major irony. He probably joined here in the hope that nobody would suspect anyone who works with or under a police official. This arrest was rather toned down, thankfully, without any theatrics. It proves that the team only wanted the man to be caught, and they did not care for any sort of attention. There was a single-minded stubbornness to catch the man. Keeping in mind the crime he committed, Shiju does not show any regret. Maybe he hated Swapna and her profession, which made him commit this crime.

Shiju is taken to the crime scene, where he describes the chain of events that led to him killing Swapna. He claims disrespect towards his time and the fact that she insulted Sisily, his fiancé, for falling for him instead of staying with her husband. Swapna implied that Sisily was also a prostitute, which prompted Shiju to kill her in retaliation. It does not make sense or justify his act of murder. He thought she became unconscious, and his heightened ego taught him that a man could demand anything from a woman at any time, especially from a sex worker. Him killing Swapna over her disrespecting Sisily comes across as hypocritical because he was cheating on Sisily with Swapna. This sets the tone for the patriarchy that runs deep in our blood and surroundings. He also reveals the final reason for killing her, which is that she, being a sex worker, does not have any right to say anything about any other woman. It again proves Shiju’s skewed idea of what kind of conversations women should have. This proves that even now, women are being discriminated against not just because of their gender and caste but also for their appearance and choice of lifestyle.


Kerala Crime Files ends with the entire team receiving accolades from the police department for showing the courage to solve this case despite the many fallbacks. This honor was a long time coming because the team chose to bring justice to a woman who was considered a nobody, and their skill to catch the killer had to be rewarded. The whole team began the investigation with one fake address and ended up gathering information about Shiju’s actual address. The last scene of the show has Manoj talking about being assigned a new case to work on, and by the looks of it, season two will focus on this one. Hopefully, the writers will retain the cast and bring in some more interesting characters.

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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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