Netflix’s White Lines Ending Explained: Who Killed Axel Collins?

Major spoilers as we unpick the events of the White Lines finale…

Axel in White Lines Netflix
Photo: Netflix

Warning: contains finale plot spoilers.

In the White Lines finale, we learn exactly what happened to Manchester DJ Axel Collins, whose mummified corpse was discovered in the deserts of Almería, Spain 20 years after he went missing from the island of Ibiza. His sister Zoe’s investigation into his murder had led her to tie up and interrogate Calafat family head of security (and her lover) Boxer.

Before Zoe’s father Clint was killed in a road accident, he had kidnapped Oriol Calafat, believing him to have been Axel’s killer. When Oriol escaped his bonds, he attacked Clint, causing the accident that killed him. Oriol phoned Boxer, who rescued him, sent him home and reported the crash.

Spanish police officer Miguel – a friend of Clint’s who had helped him in the original investigation into Axel’s disappearance – told Zoe that 20 years ago, Boxer had thrown her father off the island and threatened to kill her if he returned. Boxer was protecting his boss’ son Oriol, whom Clint suspected of having killed Axel.

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Oriol was in fact innocent of the murder. He had burned down the club Axel named after Kika, and hated Axel for sleeping with both his sister and mother (to whom Oriol was incestuously attracted), but he didn’t kill him. On the night Axel was killed, Oriol was having sex with David after shooting up for the first time. David had never provided Oriol with an alibi for the night of the murder because he didn’t want Oriol’s powerful crime lord father to know it was him who first gave his soon-to-be addict son heroin.

Axel’s killer was in fact Anna (Angela Griffin), one of the group of friends who’d left Manchester together for Ibiza in 1996. On the night of his 24th birthday party, Axel told Anna that, disillusioned with the life they led, he’d sold all of the group’s clubs, property and music rights to Oriol Calafat at a bargain price, and had burned all 100 million pesetas on the bonfire that was the centrepiece of the party, so they could all start afresh.

On the night of her wedding to Marcus, Anna had had sex with Axel and when Axel threatened to tell Marcus about it on the night of his party, she held him under the water of the swimming pool until he passed out. Thinking Axel dead, Anna told Marcus what had happened (leaving out the wedding night cheating) and he helped her to put the body in the boot of Oriol’s Alfa Romeo Spider to bury it. (Explaining why bloodstains and Axel’s tooth were discovered in the boot of the car, which Oriol later sold to Cristobal, the son of his father’s rival Pepe Martinez.)

On the journey, Axel regained consciousness and crawled out of the car. Marcus reversed the car over him, but he survived. Anna tried hitting him on the head with a tyre wrench but he didn’t die, so she took the screwdriver he’d used to escape the boot and used it to stab him through the back of the head, finally killing him.

Then, off-screen, Anna and Marcus presumably drove Axel’s body to Almería and buried it in the desert there, on Andreu Calafat’s land, to implicate Oriol, Axel’s most public rival. Marcus then helped Anna to cover up the murder for 20 years, until which point the Spanish statute of limitations on it had expired.

Anna ended the series rejected by Marcus, who was now in a relationship with Kika Calafat, and marrying George, even though she didn’t love him. Neither Marcus nor her eldest daughter Tani attended the wedding.

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Marcus ended the series with his house repossessed and 276,000 euros in debt to the widows of the Romanian drug traffickers that Boxer had killed. He was though, finally over Anna, in love with Kika and making a business proposition to her father Andreu. His proposal was designed to get himself out of the mess he was in with the widows on account of the seven kilos of cocaine he owed their husbands. He told Andreu to cut out the Romanians and take control of the drug trafficking on the island by going direct to the source, and that he would be the man to lead the operation.

Zoe ended the series in Ibiza, scattering both her brother and father’s ashes into the sea and saying that learning the truth just left her cold, but her journey was only just beginning.

White Lines is available to stream on Netflix now.