Was Sam Gifford’s Death Pre-Planned? Who Framed Him Summer’s Murder In ‘Reptile’?


Sam Gifford was one of those characters in Reptile who was not only associated with Summer Elswick but whose entire demeanor was uncanny that it was easy for anybody to place him on the list of suspects, even if, in reality, he wasn’t involved in the scheme of things. He was with Summer before Will Grady came into the picture, and the investigative officers, Tom Nichols and Dan Cleary, entertained the possibility of Summer’s murder being a crime of passion.

Spoiler Alert

Tom was keeping all the possibilities open because he had absolutely no clue about the motive of the killer. He believed that the motive could be anything from a business feud to some personal grudge, and that is why he was interrogating everybody, observing their behavior, and using his experience to assess if they could have potentially committed the crime or not. Tom was in a difficult space. He had been recently transferred to the Scarborough police station, and almost immediately, he had been asked to solve the mystery behind such a gruesome murder. Summer was the kind of person who mostly kept to herself, so it was hard to find any kind of information about her. She didn’t have a huge social circle, so Tom had to rely on the testimonies of a few people and hope to bump into some incriminating evidence that could reveal who had murdered that innocent girl so brutally. So, let’s find out if the perpetrators intentionally framed Sam Gifford or if he actually had a role to play in the scheme of things.

Did Dan Cleary Intentionally Hand Over His Gun To Sam?

The first meeting between Sam and the police officers had not gone well, and the former had become apprehensive and said very clearly that he was not going to talk to them without the lawyers. This defensive attitude made Tom suspicious, but at that moment, he had no evidence to issue an arrest warrant against the man, so he had to leave from there. Tom and Dan were both waiting for the DNA report to come, and they knew that there was a high possibility that Sam’s DNA would be found at the crime scene or after the autopsy of the victim was done.

Tom, Cleary, Allen, and other officers had gone to the crime scene together with Will Grady to recreate the events that had happened on that fateful day when Tom got a call from the forensics lab. They had gotten a hit on Sam Gifford’s DNA, and they immediately issued an arrest warrant and left for his place to catch him before he escaped. Sam told them that he was having a sexual relationship with Summer, and this development had happened in the recent past after she had started distrusting Will Grady. Tom was searching his house when, all of a sudden, he saw that Sam had taken Dan’s gun and pointed it at the police officers. Tom, in the spur of the moment, ended up shooting Sam when he was trying to escape from the window, and after walking a few yards, he succumbed to his injuries.

Now, we know that it might be a far-fetched speculation, but we believe that it could be possible that Dan Cleary gave his gun intentionally to Sam so that Tom saw it and ended up taking action. Tom never intended to kill Sam, but the latter also got scared, and he ended up pointing the gun at the police officers, probably because at that moment in Reptile, he didn’t know it was not the rational thing to do. Maybe Sam knew that these police officers would not spare him and put the blame for Summer’s death on him. Maybe he had no faith in the legal system, and he would have felt that a man like him, who did not have such resources to hire a hotshot lawyer, might never be able to prove his innocence. We believe that the entire thing could have been staged, and everybody, from Allen, Wally, and Marty to Will Grady, would have been a part of it. The perpetrators would have wanted Sam to be dead so that people believed him to be the murderer and also so that he wouldn’t get a chance to say anything in his own defense.

Was Sam Gifford Framed For Summer’s Murder?

It was not explicitly said in the film if Sam was framed or not, but we believe that it could have happened, considering we had seen to what extent Willy and Wally were capable of going. Now, it could have happened that Will Grady knew that Summer was meeting Sam Gifford, and they were having a sexual relationship. Maybe he, together with Wally, planned her murder in such a manner that Sam’s DNA was found on her. Apart from that, we know that Wally had intentionally kept drugs in his house so that he could later seize the property and raise doubts about the kind of man he was and how capable he was of murdering someone. Maybe they didn’t plan to kill Sam, but clearly, his death came as a blessing in disguise. And to top it all, by default it was Tom Nichols who had pulled the trigger, and so the perpetrators knew that nobody would suspect them of anything. Had it been Wally or Will, then the authorities might have doubted their intentions, but with Tom, that was not the case.

We firmly believe that Sam had no role to play in the death of Summer Elswick, and he was probably the only one who loved her unconditionally. When Summer realized what Grady was capable of and the kind of crimes he was involved in, she must have wanted to take a step back, and there is also a possibility that she believed in Sam. Probably, Will and Wally came to know that Sam knew things, which is why they made a strategy to frame him. But Tom, at the end of Reptile, made sure that the actual perpetrators paid for their sins and were put behind bars.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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