Celeste's In Trouble On 'Big Little Lies'

Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/Courtesy of HBO

HBO's Big Little Lies got off to an exciting start, with amazing performances from its leads and, despite the domestic setting, actually introduced a murder mystery in its opening sequence. And unlike most murder mysteries, not only is the identity of the killer secret, but the victim is also a mystery as well. Could Celeste be the one who was killed on Big Little Lies? Now, if you're really looking for spoilers, you could read the book Big Little Lies, since so far it seems like the miniseries is faithfully adapting its source material (more on that below). But it's far more fun to speculate based on the first episode.

Like Madeline, Jane, Bonnie, and Renata, Celeste doesn't appear in the interviews with the police. And in the opening, there's a POV shot of someone unsteady accompanied by a voiceover of someone's heavy breathing that sounds a whole lot like Nicole Kidman. It's unclear if the POV is from the victim, the killer, or just a witness, but that certainly didn't seem like it was from one of the people who were interviewed by the cops. And Celeste certainly seems like the major character who is in the clearest and most present danger, because of her husband, Perry, who threatens her in the premiere. But if you ask the Big Little Lies fans, it's another husband who's probably the murder victim:

Another fan theory posits that it's possible that there's some complicated sexual history between BFFs Celeste and Madeline that could be responsible for the death of either character.

Those theories are certainly possible, but book readers already have an idea of where the story is going. Already read Big Little Lies, or simply the kind of person who likes knowing SPOILERS before they happen? Well, consider this your warning, because if you read on, you'll see who the victim is in the source material.


So, in the book, Perry is the victim, and there's nothing so far that suggests that's changed. He's presented as the exact same abusive, manipulative person he was in the novel, who can go from charming to angry within seconds. And Celeste's distant behavior makes a lot of sense, too, since she's trying to disassociate from her abusive relationship, not because she's secretly plotting to kill Madeline, or something. In fact, if the show changes anything, it may be who the killer is. Wouldn't it be so cathartic to have Celeste play a bigger role in his death? In the book, it's Bonnie who winds up pushing Perry to his death, but so far, maybe Big Little Lies will change things by making Celeste less of a victim, and therefore an even more complicated character.