‘Savage River’ Ending, Explained: Did Miki Anderson Kill Hugh Lang?

“Savage River” uses a series of occurrences to build a thrill around an otherwise not-so-thrilling motive. To make things more precise, it can be said that the events that occur in the show try to establish the gravity of the secret hidden beneath. Usually, it is the secret that, when revealed, makes the occurrences that precede it more reasonable. Thus, “Savage River” somewhere feels disconnected and without a soul. However, it is the occurrences that pull the plot through to the end and not the performances that seem out-of-sync with the narrative.


Spoilers Ahead

What Happens In The ‘Savage River’ Series?

After 10 years in prison, Miki Anderson (Katherine Langford) returns to Savage River on parole. She goes to her brother Terry’s (Cooper van Grootel) place, where he lives with his little daughter Ocean. Colleen (Jacqueline McKenzie), who runs a shop in the neighborhood, arrives at their house along with her husband Hugh (Andrew S. Gilbert) to meet Miki. She tells Miki that they have forgiven her. But for what?


10 years ago, Jasmine (Molly Grace), daughter of Colleen and Hugh, passed away due to drowning. Miki, Jasmine’s best friend, was the last person Jasmine was with before her death. They were in the river, and with the autopsy report revealing that there was water in Jasmine’s lungs, Miki was taken into custody and questioned. Her inability to provide convincing answers ultimately landed her in prison.

Miki’s brother, Terry, lives with her little daughter, Ocean, now. Lynn (Nadine Garner), their mother, lives separately. Savage River is about to have elections for the town mayor. The competitors are the present mayor Max Englert (Richard Piper), and Deborah Kirby (Leah Vandenberg). Max’s son is Simon (James Mackay), who was Miki and Jasmine’s teacher many years ago and is now the assistant principal at the town school. Jasmine is survived by her mother, Colleen, her father, Hugh, and her brother, Adam (Jack Kenny). Deborah’s husband is Connor Kirby (Bernard Curry), the son of Senior Sergeant Bill Kirby (Robert Grubb). They have a foster son, Timothy (Bill Zeng). Timothy’s friends are Kaji and Ivy (Hattie Hook). Ivy is the daughter of Kevin Pattison (Daniel Henshall), the owner of the town meat works, and his ex-wife, Detective Sergeant Rachel Kennedy (Virginia Gay). Kevin lives with his second wife, Chandra (Miranda Anwar), and Ivy. Ivy works at a chemist’s shop owned by Connor. After returning to the city, Miki joins Kevin’s meat work, where she befriends Joel (Mark Coles Smith).


Miki’s return has already affected many people in Savage Water. To have a murderer among them is certainly not appreciated. And Miki gets the negative vibes crystal-clear. But when Hugh’s dead body is recovered from the river, the spotlight falls on Miki yet again. Detective Rachel arrives to look into the murder. She is the one who led the investigation into Jasmine’s death as well. Miki is already the prime suspect, and someone is trying to pin the murder on her, too, with murder evidence being found in her possession. With all this chaos around her, will Miki be able to find out who the real culprit is? Or will she go back to prison again? “Savage River” has the answers.

The Benefit Of Doubt

Throughout the show, Miki is the one who receives the benefit of the doubt. But not in the traditional sense of the term. Everybody doubts her being responsible for the murder of Hugh as she has already been to prison for the murder of Jasmine, Hugh’s daughter. There is a stench of denial around Savage River that seems to be spreading all around Miki, a stench that makes the people around her think that no one else could kill Hugh but her. After Hugh’s death, his wife Colleen and son Adam concentrated all their hatred on Miki. Senior Sergeant Bill Kirby, as well as Kevin Pattison, believe that Miki killed Hugh. But there is no evidence to base their blame on Miki whatsoever. It is strange how one dark patch can affect the way a person is treated. Nobody tries to settle with a positive mindset and is bent on the negative. Perhaps this is what made Miki accept the charges that were made against her after Jasmine’s death. Sometimes, the mind, after being tired of defending itself, surrenders not to the truth within but to the truth without. In other words, the mind is weighed down by the predominant notion and is unable to process what it knows to be the truth. Rachel does mention in “Savage River” Episode 3 how they put words in Miki’s mouth during her interrogation after Jasmine’s death. So, Miki probably didn’t even realize when she accepted that she was responsible for Jasmine’s death. Furthermore, people are so bent on rage rather than reason that they sometimes overlook crucial missing pieces. For instance, Rachel didn’t realize that a couple of pages from the report of Jasmine’s death were missing. It is only at the end of the last episode that Rachel apologizes to Miki for not checking the report. Her apology is as useless as it can be. Miki spent 10 years in prison due to an incomplete report. After the missing pages were recovered, it was found that Miki was basically innocent. Jasmine didn’t die due to the water in the lungs but due to suffocation. And now, 10 years of Miki’s life are already wasted.


The Past At Play

The way “Savage River” traces its steps backwards feels ineffective. From Jasmine’s death to Hugh Lang’s death to Miki finding Hugh’s body to the knife in Miki’s locker, all these events seem random despite being connected. Furthermore, Miki’s character isn’t that amiable, so it fails to establish a connection with us. Hence, her past ceases to matter—which is necessary for the plot. On the other hand, many events and occurrences that occur in the show appear too obvious and staged. A dead body is falling on Miki out of nowhere, the constant mention of the fireworks, three kids finding an estranged car, an extra-marital affair, and more; it feels like we have all been subjected to them many times before.

In “Savage River” Episode 6, it is revealed that it was Bill Kirby’s son, Connor, who killed Hugh because the latter had found out about the former’s relationship with the latter’s daughter, Jasmine. Hugh confronted Connor about it, and Connor killed him because he didn’t want the word to spread. However, what the show doesn’t reveal clearly is what happened to Jasmine. We are told that she might have suffocated to death and didn’t due to water in her lungs. Did Connor kill her, then? It doesn’t matter, not for the show, at least. It instead rejoices in the possibility that Miki might be proven innocent after serving 10 years in prison. And what’s worse is that Connor’s death further prevents the revelation of the real reason for Jasmine’s death. Connor may have admitted asphyxiating her (so that she doesn’t reveal their relationship to the world), known how she died or thrown at least some light on the darkness surrounding Jasmine’s death.


‘Savage River’ Ending Explained: Is Miki Anderson Proven To Be Innocent?

In short, no. She rather may not have been responsible for the death of her friend Jasmine. And while the show tries to leave an open ending and keep things hanging, there is a certain incompleteness to the narrative that makes the open-ending feel like a burden. Miki didn’t kill Hugh Lane for sure, but for the people of Savage River, she will probably remain responsible for Jasmine’s death. Maybe she knows it, and that is why she leaves Savage River. She knows that the neighborhood won’t have peace as long as she is there, and neither will she. And even though Rachel tells her that her innocence can be proven, Miki will always be guilty to some people until she is proven innocent, whatever the truth.

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Shubhabrata Dutta
Shubhabrata Dutta
Shubhabrata’s greatest regret is the fact that he won’t be able to watch every movie and show ever made. And when he isn’t watching a movie or a show, he is busy thinking about them and how they are made; all while taking care of his hobbies. These include the usual suspects i.e. songs, long walks, books and PC games.

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