Emily the Criminal ending explained: Does Emily get caught?

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 28: Aubrey Plaza attends the 2022 Gotham Awards at Cipriani Wall Street on November 28, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 28: Aubrey Plaza attends the 2022 Gotham Awards at Cipriani Wall Street on November 28, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/WireImage) /

The crime thriller Emily the Criminal is now available to stream on Netflix. Since its release in August 2022, the film written and directed by John Patton Ford has been met with high praise, notably for its gripping plot and stellar performances from each cast member.

The film centers around Emily (Aubrey Plaza), a young woman failing to make ends meet due to substantial student debt. Her food delivery job pays, but it isn’t enough to get by, and as a convicted felon, she struggles to obtain a career with higher earning potential.

After doing her coworker a favor, he gives her contact information to become a dummy shopper, which appeals to Emily as the payout is considerable. In actuality, the business is a credit card fraud operation run by cousins Youcef (Theo Rossi) and Khalil (Jonathan Avigdori). Each newly assigned job comes with more risk, launching Emily into dangerous territory.

Warning: Spoilers ahead from Emily the Criminal.

What happens between Emily, Youcef, and Khalil at the end of Emily the Criminal?

After Emily dummy shops at the same location twice within a week, Khalil shows up unannounced at Youcef’s mother’s house to confront Youcef and Emily. It is revealed that the police have camera footage of the shopping incident, putting all three of them at risk of being caught. After a heated argument, we next see Emily picking up Youcef, who has a cut on his head. Though we aren’t informed who is responsible for his wound, the event pushes him over the edge, and he spirals into anger.

He reveals to Emily that he hasn’t been paid by Khalil for five months and wants out of the partnership with his cousin. Fueled with rage, he plans to clear out the funds from the business account he shares with Khalil, and any money he can find stashed at the office. As far as Youcef is concerned, he and Emily are now in business together, and he promises to give her part of the payout should she agree to help him rob Khalil. Intrigued by the opportunity for financial freedom, Emily agrees to the plan.

However, everything comes crashing down when it’s discovered that Khalil is one step ahead in the game and has already withdrawn the funds from the account, leaving Youcef with nothing after two years of work.

Emily tells Youcef that Khalil sees him as a pushover who won’t stand up for himself, suggesting they confront him in person. Youcef, however, is reluctant, as Khalil is hiding out at a house surrounded by his righthand men, who are dangerous. Frustrated with Youcef’s inability to fight back, Emily gives him a motivating pep talk, and he finally agrees to the plan after calling her a bad influence.

When they arrive at the house, Youcef waits in the car while Emily rings the doorbell and pretends to be a delivery person. She then tases the man who answers, steals his phone, and her and Youcef lock him in the trunk of his car. They use his phone to text the other men in the house pretending to be him, informing them his car was jacked and he needs their assistance at a specified address. The plan works, causing the men to exit the house, leaving them alone with Khalil.

As they enter his room, they hear the shower running, but he is nowhere to be seen. Khalil then comes up from behind and hits Youcef on the head, knocking him to the ground. After recognizing Emily, he pulls her to the floor and starts strangling her.

Desperate to escape, Emily, manages to grab a box cutter and stabs Khalil, breaking free from his grip. She holds the box cutter to his throat and threatens to hurt him if he doesn’t tell her where the money is. He finally reveals it’s hidden in the fridge, and Emily finds the cash and grabs the bag. As she leaves the house, she drops a phone by Khalil and tells him to call an ambulance, and helps a hurt Youcef out of the house.

As they make it back to the car, Emily asks Youcef where his car keys are, but he is delirious and informs her he needs to go to the hospital. Youcef is shaken up and asks Emily if she killed Khalil and shows remorse for what happened. As Emily starts to hear sirens, she knows time is running out, and she apologizes to Youcef before fleeing from the scene with the bag of cash, leaving him behind.

Do Youcef and Khalil die in Emily the Criminal?

Though Khalil and Youcef desperately needed medical attention, the film doesn’t revisit their story, so we don’t get to see what happens to them after Emily leaves. With that being said, we can assume the sirens heard when Emily and Youcef were sitting in the car indicate that Khalil was able to call for an ambulance, and he and Youcef are likely to survive, with help on the way.

What happens to Emily at the end of Emily the Criminal, and does she get caught?

The cops barge into Emily’s apartment, ready to arrest her, but they are too late as she already left town. We then see her enjoying a new life in South America, somewhere she had always wanted to live should she become debt free. Emily is content and her passion for art is still engraved in her DNA, as she draws portraits of her surroundings in the place she now calls home.

So, what does Emily do for work in South America? While giving up her life as a criminal once she was free from financial burden was always possible, it isn’t the avenue Emily took. She did however pay a lot of attention to Khalil and Youcef’s partnership, so much so that she now teaches other willing dummy shoppers the credit card fraud operation. All the same rules and processes are in place, with one significant change, Emily is now running the business with no intentions of leaving her criminal life behind.

Did you enjoy Emily the Criminal, and what did you think of the ending? Though there doesn’t appear to be any plans for a sequel, viewers can’t help but wonder what Emily’s future may hold as a carbon copy of Youcef and Khalil.

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