The Woman In The House Cast Didn’t See That Twist Ending Coming Either

Star Kristen Bell says it was easier to guess her Good Place character was in hell than predict Lisa/Chastity’s killer.

Kristen Bell as Anna, Shelley Hennig as Lisa/Chastity in 'The Woman in the House Across the Street f...

Spoilers ahead for The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window Season 1.

At the start of Netflix’s The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window, Anna (Kristen Bell) is struggling to resume a sense of normalcy after her daughter’s tragic death. Each day, she chases psychotropic meds with practically overflowing glasses of red wine. That is, until handsome widower Neil (Tom Riley) and his adorable nine-year-old daughter Emma (Samsara Yett) move into the house in direct view of her perch on the wine-soaked armchair in her living room. It’s there that Anna witnesses the apparent murder of Neil’s girlfriend Lisa (Shelley Hennig). And when nobody believes her, she decides to track down the killer herself.

In her investigation, Anna learns that Lisa’s real name was Chastity, and that Neil was just the latest target in a line of her cons. This leads Anna to believe that Neil killed Chastity — or maybe Chastity’s hot co-conspirator Rex (Benjamin Levy Aguilar), who she winds up sleeping with. She also briefly wonders if she herself may have blacked out and killed Chastity in a jealous rage — which is what the police come to think — but rules that out and turns her suspicions to her handyman Buell (Cameron Britton). However, the Season 1 finale reveals it was someone Anna never expected: nine-year-old Emma.

Believing that Buell — who she learns was secretly living in her attic — is on his way to harm Neil and Emma, Anna belly-crawls her way across the rain-soaked street to their house. Once inside, she discovers that both Buell and Neil have been stabbed. Holding the knife, Emma calmly recounts that she asked Lisa to buy some chocolate bars for her school fundraiser, but her dad’s girlfriend replied, “Sugar is the worst thing you can put in your body.” So as the supposed flight attendant was about to leave for work, Emma grabbed a knife and approached her. “I don’t think sugar is the worst thing you can put in your body. I think this is,” she said before stabbing Lisa in the neck.

“People always underestimate children, underestimate what they’re capable of,” Emma tells Anna. “I even surprise myself. I mean, I didn’t know I was capable of murder.”

The nine-year-old then confesses she killed her dad because she didn’t like his ventriloquist act, drowned her pregnant mother because she didn’t want a sibling, and pushed her teacher out of a lighthouse. Oh, and as for the reason the police found Anna’s palette knife with Chasity’s body? Emma ran up and stole it while Anna was getting her a check for a box of chocolate bars.

Emma explains that she plans to frame Anna again by killing her and making it appear is if it was self-defense. A violent scuffle ensues between the two, and just before Anna’s ex-husband Douglas (Michael Ealy) arrives, she fatally stabs Emma with a glass shard, ending the standoff.

It’s a plot twist so wild, even the show’s cast was caught off guard. “Reading [about the ending] was a shock,” Tom Riley, who plays Neil, recently told PopSugar. “We shot all the episodes at once, so we knew by the time we'd started filming how it was going to end — but reading it, I didn’t see it coming.” Bell, for her part, joked in the same interview that it was easier to guess that they were in hell on The Good Place than predict this killer.

This was intentional. “Once we were really outlining, the most important thing was that the end be a genuine surprise. And if we didn’t get there, if you got there, and you were like, ‘Oh, I knew this all along,’ it wouldn't work,” co-showrunner Hugh Davidson told Entertainment Weekly. “So we spent a lot of time trying to figure out a way to make it feel genuinely surprising at the end. That was really important to us.”

Bell, who’s also an executive producer on the series, described its satirical tone as a “fun” tightrope walk and a chance to perform the “best bad acting” of her career. “I hope people are very uncomfortable when they watch.”