‘Based On A True Story’ Ending, Explained: What Happened To Ruby? Will There Be A Season 2?


True crime podcasts were Ava Bartlett’s way of escaping her reality. Much like the memes circulated on social media, Ava listened to murder mysteries soon after waking up and even when she went to bed. She was married to Nathan Bartlett, a celebrated tennis player who once had to give up on his promising career after an injury. Based on a True Story is about Nathan and Ava’s desperate attempt to rescue their failing marriage. Ava was pregnant, and Nathan’s demotion got them worried about their future. Ava wanted to do something exciting, like a podcast, but they could not decide what subject they wanted to explore. Just as they were losing hope, the sudden entry of a stranger completely changed their lives.

Spoilers Alert

‘Based On A True Story’ Plot Summary: What Is The Series About?

A plumber entered Ava and Nathan’s house to fix the new toilet they bought. He recognized Nathan from the time he defeated Roger Federer. When he informed them about the mold in their pipeline, Nathan decided to use the little star power he had left. He offered Matt tennis classes in exchange for a free repair. Ava did not expect that to work, but surprisingly enough, it did. Matt and Nathan gradually developed a friendship over the tennis classes. They hung out at a bar where they played darts. When Matt pointed out to Nathan that the bartender was checking him out, Nathan blushed at the possibility. He always felt inadequate due to his unsuccessful career, but the thought that a young stranger could find him attractive brought back his confidence. Nathan gradually started to lose everything that he cared for in his professional life, and he was filled with rage. Meanwhile, there was a serial killer on the loose who was popularly known as the “Westside Ripper.” With Nathan losing control of himself, the audience is left to wonder if he is, in fact, the serial killer.

Ava was obsessed with the new serial killer, and the fact that he operated in Los Angeles made it all the more thrilling. Apart from obsessing over true crime podcasts and discussing sexual fantasies with her girlfriends, Ava worked as a realtor. Now that Nathan was demoted, she felt all the more responsible. She tried to target selling properties that could bring her more profit, but she was failing at her job. But there was a silver lining to her sad professional life— she recently met a young buyer, and she could not take her mind off him. Ava imagined being with him in unlikely places, and she struggled to keep her thoughts in check. One morning, when Ava noticed Nathan’s laptop lying around, she decided to take a sneak peek. She noticed that he was scrolling through a profile of a young girl, and surprisingly, the next thing he checked was a recent article on the Westside Ripper’s new victim. But why was he so obsessed with the new victim? The audience is aware that the victim was the bartender Nathan assumed was interested in him. The last time he met her, he was disappointed to see that she barely remembered him. Considering the rage he carried within, we are left to wonder if Nathan murdered the girl simply because she failed to remember him.

Why Didn’t Nathan And Ava Inform The Police About The Westside Ripper?

While watching the news about the recent Westside Ripper murder, Ava noticed something that struck her as odd. For the first time, the Ripper had left something at the crime scene— his blue boot covers. Matt compulsorily wore them whenever he entered their house, and she had recently learned from Nathan that the victim, Chloe, worked as the bartender at the bar they frequented. Matt also had scratches over his arms, further confirming her doubt. Ava connected the dots and came to the conclusion that Matt was the killer. She assumed that he followed her home and killed her. Nathan did not believe that Matt could be the Ripper. Ava tried to dig into his past, and Nathan informed her that he had a kid. He used to live in Pomona, but he shifted to Los Angeles after someone in his building was attacked.

Ava verified the details online and found that the attack victim was a brunette, and she was not just attacked but murdered. The moment they saw that the apartment where the Pomona victim died was the building Matt mentioned he lived in, they knew that Matt was the Westside Ripper. They had two options: they could either inform the police and solve one of the biggest mysteries, or they could bring Matt on board and start a podcast show with the killer himself. Ava believed that by handing him over to the police, they would get nothing in return. They desperately needed money, and the podcast was the answer. They decided to make a deal with him; in exchange for their silence, they would offer him the opportunity to join the podcast, and they decided to bar him from committing any other murder after he agreed to the deal. Ava was convinced that Matt would agree to the deal, considering that he had to choose between going to prison and starting a podcast.

What Was Matt’s Plan For The Podcast?

As it turns out, Matt Pierce was the serial killer. He noticed Chloe at a supermarket, and he followed her everywhere she went. His obsession drove him to the point where he wanted to murder her more than anything else, and that is exactly what he did. Nathan decided to deal with Matt alone; he stated that he knew the truth, and he offered Matt to join their podcast. Matt did not answer immediately, and it made Ava and Nathan all the more tense. With the LAPD detectives questioning Nathan because he used to visit the bar, he was almost ready to admit the truth. But he feared failing Ava once again, and when he received Matt’s call, he knew they were in the game. Nathan and Matt discussed the terms and conditions of the deal, and all Matt cared about was that he and Nathan continued to play darts. It was a strange request, but the meeting went better than Nathan expected. 

From the very beginning, Matt knew that Nathan was incapable of coming up with such an elaborate plan. Especially since they were married, he considered it impossible that Nathan had never discussed his plan with Ava. Eventually, Nathan and Ava had to come clean to Matt. Matt started to take decisions for the team soon enough. For example, the warehouse that Ava and Nathan chose to record the podcast had multiple flaws, and only a criminal would know how to bypass them. Matt chose the recording place, and he eventually tried to dictate the editing of the podcast. He was narcissistic, and he wanted to be the prime focus of the show. Nathan and Ava felt guilty at times, knowing that the man they collaborated with was a wanted criminal, but their situation made it impossible for them to back out.

Matt became obsessive about the podcast; he had a lot to say and finally had the platform to do so. The fact that he did not have to repress his feelings or keep secrets made him feel all the more powerful. The first episode of the podcast did not do well after its release. There were barely any downloads, making Nathan and Ava question all the risks they had taken. The trio visited the crime-con, an event held exclusively for those obsessed with true crime podcasts. Matt realized how crazy people were about serial killers, and he wanted to cash in on it. Many idolized the serial killers, but he felt disturbed upon realizing that a few opportunists were the ones profiting from the murders that the killers committed. By selling merchandise and podcasts, people were getting rich, but the killers were dying in prison. He wanted to own his story and make money by selling his experience.

At the crime con, a woman who claimed to be the only surviving victim of the Westside Ripper came on stage and discussed her experience. Matt was confident that he never met the woman and that she was simply trying to sell a fake story. He secretly met her and threatened to kill her for making false claims. A few minutes later, the woman’s body fell from the top floor to the ground. Matt confessed that he did not kill the woman, but he eventually decided to claim her death since that would help him build his reputation. Without informing Ava and Nathan, Matt arranged a meet-up at the crime con. People rushed to the hall in the hopes of listening to the Westside Ripper. Ava was shocked to find out that he owned up to the murder even though they repeatedly requested that he not murder anyone after the podcast started. As it turns out, Matt’s sudden decision helped popularize the podcast. There were millions of downloads, and people could not get enough of the Westside Ripper. The problem was that Matt had started to believe that he constantly needed to supply the audience with fresh content, which meant he had to commit fresh murders.

Ending Explained: Why Did Matt Murder Ruby?

At the crime con, Ava dropped her burner phone on the floor, and Ruby (her best friend) picked it up. She immediately knew what was going on once she read the message Ava had sent. A few days later, at a party, Ruby asked Ava about her connection to the Westside Ripper. Ava was flabbergasted; she tried to come up with a story that would explain the burner phone, the message, and her connection with Matt. She explained that Matt was obsessed with true crimes and had in-depth knowledge about them. So, she, Nathan, and Matt came up with the idea of faking a true story. Matt was not the Westside Ripper, but he pretended to be to attract the crowd. The podcast was a lie, but they had no other choice, given that they were completely broke. The podcast was their only hope, and Ava begged Ruby not to disclose the truth to anyone. Ruby doubted Ava because somehow the burner phones did not make sense, and the story simply was not convincing. Later that night, when Ruby threatened to take Matt’s wine glass to the police station to DNA test it with the boot covers received from the scene, Ava had to admit the truth. She promised to kill Ruby if she ever spilled the truth, but apparently, she had already discussed the case with her husband, Simon. As a lawyer, she believed Simon could protect her if anything went wrong. Meanwhile, the podcast was canceled after Jessica Alba tweeted against it. With Ruby threatening to destroy them and the recent cancellations from all platforms, the team was in serious trouble.

Nathan came up with an idea (that he dreamed about) to save the podcast. They decided to start their own platform and charge the audience for access to the content. Matt was excited about the possibility, and he announced that he needed to continue murdering people to offer exclusive content to his audience. As a serial killer, he believed it was his job to kill, and he had already decided on his next victim. As it turns out, his next victim was Ruby. Ruby knew about the podcast, and she tried to strike a deal with Nathan and Ava. But after murdering Ruby, Matt informed Nathan and Ava that Ruby had attempted to inform the police, and when he found out about it, he decided to kill her to end the cycle. He also added a dart to make Nathan realize that he could frame him for murder if he ever wanted to.

Based on a True Story ends with Ava and Nathan attending their tenth-anniversary party while Ruby’s body rests in the trunk of their car. Simon tried to reconcile with Nathan and Ava. Apparently, he and Ruby decided to work out their relationship, and they chose to start over, leaving the bitterness in the past. Nathan was not ready to forgive Simon, but the moment Ruby’s phone rang inside the trunk, he distracted him by agreeing to remain friends. After the party, Nathan and Ava dumped Ruby’s body in the pit on the tennis court and drove to their new Malibu apartment to clean it. Meanwhile, we see Matt cuddling up with Tory at Ava and Nathan’s house. Just as Ava and Nathan were finally discussing names for their baby, Simon appeared at the front door. He did not seem too taken aback by the blood on the floor.

The phone call recording that Ava and Nathan came across on Ruby’s cell phone confirms that she had contacted the LAPD and tried to inform them about the Westside Ripper. Considering that the detective who received her message believed she had something relevant to share, it suggests that he might go to great lengths to find out what happened to Ruby because she was the key to finding out the identity of the serial killer. Ruby had apparently discussed the podcast with Simon, so it is possible that he will be able to connect the dots. Simon might as well want a commission to maintain silence; after all, he believed that money was all that mattered. Matt has also taken a serious interest in Tory, and we all know what he does to young brunettes. Maybe Ava and Nathan will learn not to mingle with a serial killer once he targets someone close to home. The cliffhanger ending suggests that there might be a second season of Based on a True Story, and we truly hope they work on the story next time.

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Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest.

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