The Hulu crime drama series Death and Other Details is a murder mystery that unfolds on a luxury cruise, starring Mandy Patinkin as Hercule Poirot-esque detective Rufus Coteworth and Violett Beane as protagonist Imogene Scott. With ten episodes to go, the chances of the story falling flat are quite high. The first episode peaks interest with an old and new case coming together. Coteworth repeatedly reminds us that everything is an illusion and that we can trust no one. Rufus met Imogene when she was a little girl and had recently lost her mother. He was investigating her death, and Imogene played a key role since she was the only witness. Eighteen years later, Rufus and Imogene met again on a luxury cruise. Seeing him reminded Imogene of her painful past and how he had betrayed her trust.
Who was the murder victim?
The party on the luxury cruise was a celebration of the retirement of Lawrence Collier, the CEO of Collier Mills. The Chun family (who owned a global fast fashion empire) was set to invest in Collier Mills, and the deal was to be announced during the sail. Lawrence’s daughter, Anna, looked forward to the party in the hopes that her father would finally announce her as the CEO. Anna was accompanied by her wife, Leila, who, after an accident, turned erratic and suspicious. Anna’s brother, Tripp, owned several failing businesses, and his only constant was his coke addiction. Tripp invited Keith Trubitsky to make an impression and convince him to invest in his business. The businessman from Indianapolis lacked taste and enjoyed bragging about his expensive accessories.
Imogene and Anna had been the best of friends since childhood. The Colliers had pretty much adopted Imogene after her mother died a gruesome death in a car bombing. Her mother worked as a secretary to Lawrence Collier, and the family readily took Imogene in after the unfortunate event. Imogene was invited to the cruise as well. She always felt that she belonged to neither of the two worlds. Even though she had grown up with the Colliers, she knew she would always be an outsider, but at the same time, she could not let go of all the comfort and opportunities she received as a result of her connection. When Imogene watched Trubitsky misbehave with a waiter, she decided to confront him. She aimed to hurt his ego and make him pay, and to do so, she stole the card from his room. She sneaked into his room, smashed his watch, and took some cash out. The next thing we knew, Keith Trubitsky was found dead in his room. Even though Imogene seemed to be the obvious suspect, the truth was far deeper than petty revenge.
Why did Imogene agree to become Rufus’s assistant?
Before leaving Trubitsky’s room, Imogene noticed the surveillance camera in the corridor. When she found out about the murder, the first thing that crossed her mind was that she had to get rid of the evidence. Quite conveniently, Imogene had befriended the head of security, Jules, on her first day on the cruise, and she had memorized the passcode to the security room. To Imogene’s surprise, the video footage that could have incriminated her was deleted. As it turned out, Rufus had already gone through the surveillance footage, and he was the one who deleted a portion of it. Before deleting it from the system, he transferred a copy of it and used it to convince Imogene to be on his side. If Interpol got their hands on the footage, Imogene would be charged with a crime she had not committed (or so we are told).
From the very beginning of Death and Other Details, there is one particular characteristic of Imogene that we are made familiar with—her affinity to steal anything she likes. From a young age, she developed a habit of stealing, especially from those who had abundant wealth and did not value the little things she did. Her habit did not change over the years. Rufus disclosed that she continued to steal from Colliers Mill, where she worked as a marketing assistant. Imogene could lose everything she loved if Rufus handed the video evidence to Interpol, and she did not have much choice but to cooperate with him. Imogene detested Rufus because he broke his promise. She believed in him when he said he would get hold of her mother’s killer, but instead, he walked away from the case as soon as the Colliers stopped paying his fee. Rufus later explained that the truth was a lot more complicated than what met the eye.
How did the killer enter the room?
Imogene accompanied Rufus during the investigation. It was a locked room murder, implying that there was no other way to enter the room but the door, and according to the surveillance footage, no one entered through the door except Imogene. But based on the way his blood had pooled in his extremities, Rufus deduced that he had been killed four or five hours before his body was discovered, suggesting that Imogene was not a possible suspect. They decided to question the housekeeper who had discovered the body. The woman only spoke Cantonese, and Teddy Goh, the staff manager, was protective of her employees, especially because most of her crew were her relatives.
Imogene soon figured out that there was a bigger conspiracy behind the murder, and Rufus had some idea about what had possibly gone down. The key to finding the truth was Imogene, since she was the only one who had entered Trubitsky’s room that night. Imogene closed her eyes and tried to remember what she had seen. While there were a few details Imogene did not remember well, she was certain that she saw a green guayabera in the room. All of a sudden, she realized she had missed a key detail—the bar cart. The green guayabera was on the bar cart that was in the room at night, but it was missing when the body was found. This suggested that the murderer had entered the room in the bar cart, and if that had been the case, then they must have seen Imogene enter the room as well.
Who was Keith Trubitsky?
At the end of Death and Other Details Episode 1 Rufus revealed that he was still trying to find the last piece of the puzzle from an old case. He had accepted the Chun family’s invitation because it allowed him to study the Collier family closely. We find out that Rufus was quite close to discovering the truth behind Imogene’s mother’s murder. A man who used the alias Viktor Sams was responsible for blowing up Scott’s car. After tracing the parts of the device that caused the explosion, Rufus discovered that a man by the name of Viktor Sams had purchased several of the parts. Lawrence Collier did not cooperate with Rufus after the Viktor Sams discussion. He seemed to have lost faith in Rufus and stopped paying him to investigate the case, but it is also possible that he was afraid of Rufus finding out the truth.
Imogene tried to figure out the reason why Rufus was back in her life. She went back to her childhood memories and realized that a man was accompanying Rufus the day he discontinued the case. The man turned out to be Keith Trubitsky; he was Rufus’ assistant, not the ill-tempered businessman he pretended to be. The ending of episode one suggests that Rufus was on the luxury cruise to investigate the death of Imogene’s mother. It had been eighteen years, and he had not given up on finding the truth. Maybe someone figured out Keith’s real identity, and they were desperate to stop Rufus from investigating the old case. Or perhaps Keith made new enemies as a pretentious businessman, and when things did not go as planned, they murdered him. With several notable figures aboard, anyone could be the murderer, and it all came down to Rufus and Imogene to join the dots.