The Postcard Killings’ Killer Identity Revealed Early On With 1 Crucial Detail


  • The real murderers in ‘The Postcard Killings’ are Mac (Simon) and Sylvia (Marina), not Pieter and Nienke.
  • Mac’s comment about Sylvia appreciating art is a subtle clue that reveals their identity as the killers.
  • Simon and Marina’s murders are inspired by art and serve as a message of rebellion against their abusive father.

The Postcard Killings doesn’t keep the identity of its killers secret for long, but it gives away its villain twist early on with one subtle but crucial detail. The Postcard Killings is a crime movie directed by Danis Tanović and based on the 2010 novel The Postcard Killers, by Liza Marklund and James Patterson. The Postcard Killings follows NYPD Detective Jacob Kanon (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), whose daughter and her husband are killed in London during their honeymoon, and so he begins to investigate the case.

Kanon soon finds other, similar murders in other European countries and teams up with Dessie Lombard (Cush Jumbo), an American journalist in Sweden who received one of the killers’ postcards, to find out the meaning of the postcards, the identity of the killers, and their motives. The Postcard Killings has a couple of twists regarding the identity and backstory of the killers, and one subtle but important clue in the first act of the movie gives away who the real murderers are.


The Postcard Killings Ending Explained

The Postcard Killings has a couple of twists about the killers and their backstory that lead to a suspenseful ending with a final shocking reveal.

The Postcard Killings Sylvia and Mac on the train

Parallel to Kanon’s grief and the first steps in his investigation, The Postcard Killings introduces the audience to newlywed American couple Mac (Ruairi O’Connor) and Sylvia Randolph (Naomi Battrick) on a train during their European adventure. On the train, they meet Pieter (Dylan Devonald Smith), with whom they start a casual conversation. Sylvia mentions that Pieter’s tattoos are beautiful, with Mac telling Pieter that his wife “appreciates art”. However, they start to feel uneasy around Pieter and get off at the next station.

Throughout most of the first act of The Postcard Killings, the audience is led to believe that Pieter and his wife, Nienke (Sallie Harmsen), are the killers, but the real murderers are actually Mac and Sylvia, and Pieter and his wife are their next targets. Minutes after Mac and Sylvia go out with Pieter and his wife, Kanon and Dessie learn that each murder is inspired by a work of art, with the bodies manipulated to recreate these pieces – and Mac’s mention of Sylvia’s love for art is the subtle clue that gives them away.

Why Simon & Marina’s Murders Were Inspired By Art

The Postcard Killings book showing Goya's Saturn Devouring His Son

The next big twist in The Postcard Killings is that Mac and Sylvia are actually Simon and Marina Haysmith, and they aren’t a married couple. Simon and Marina are the children of Simon Haysmith Sr. (Denis O’Hare), who was in prison for stealing millions from his Wall Street clients. Haysmith Sr. was very strict and abusive to his children, particularly to Marina, and as he loved art, he taught them all about it from a young age.

By recreating famous works of art with their murders, Simon and Marina are sending a message of rebellion to their father, using what he loved against him and destroying his idea of the perfect children. Dessie also realizes that Simon and Marina are telling their story through the art pieces they choose for every murder, which are all related to either love, pain, or death. What Marina and Simon want is not only to destroy their father but to be able to love each other freely and without judgment.

The final twist in The Postcard Killings is the reveal that Simon and Marina could have married each other and lived a happy life together as there was no blood relation between them. Simon and Marina were adopted by the Haysmiths, with Simon Sr. having a list of specific details he wanted in his children. Had Simon and Marina known the truth, the events of The Postcard Killings would never have happened.