Kaleidoscope is our first new Netflix obsession of 2023. The heist show flips the script on bingewatching by being the first Netflix show designed to be watched in any episode order. Instead of Episode 1, 2, 3, etc., Kaleidoscope color-codes its episodes and scrambles them up in everyone’s personal Netflix account. You can watch the episodes in any order you damn well please (though Netflix would prefer you end with the “White” Episode, aka the Heist itself).
Kaleidoscope follows ex-con Leo Pap (Giancarlo Esposito) as he gathers a crew to steal $7 billion in unregistered bearer bonds from high security company run by his long-time nemesis Roger Salas (Rufus Sewell). Chronologically, the story spans from the “Violet” episode, set 24 years before the heist, to the “Pink” episode, taking place six months afterwards. Over the course of all eight episodes, you’ll see the wild twists, intense betrayals, and even noble sacrifices play out. And, no, not everyone makes it out of Kaleidoscope alive. In fact, very few characters walk away.
Now, you might be asking yourself…what exactly is the true ending of Kaleidoscope on Netflix? After all, it’s a radical show designed to be watched in any order. Is the end of Netflix’s preferred finale, “White – The Heist”, the true ending? Or do we need to look at the series as a whole? We prefer the latter. That’s because many characters die over the course of all eight color-coded episodes of Kaleidoscope. The biggest mysteries are why these characters die, how they met their end, and who ends up with the $7 billion in the end.
MAJOR SPOILERS FOR ALL EPISODES OF KALEIDOSCOPE AHEAD!!
Here’s everyone who dies in Kaleidoscope, everyone who survives, and your guide to who actually made off with the money…
Kaleidoscope Ending Explained: Who Dies in the Netflix Heist Show?
Yes, so a lot of people die in Kaleidoscope and thanks to the random episode order, it’s not always clear how or when or why they died.
Let’s go through the body count in chronological order, episode by episode, starting with the earliest death to affect the plot…
“Violet: 24 Years Before the Heist”
The first death — by chronological order — occurs in the “Violet” episode. We learn that young Ray Vernon (Giancarlo Esposito) and pal Graham Davies (Rufus Sewell) work together on schemes to hustle themselves into rich folks’ homes to crack their safes. Ray wants out of crime and attempts to work an honest job running an auto repair shop. When his wife Lily’s (Robinne Lee) racist country club bosses fire her, Ray decides to team up with Graham on a jewel heist at the club. The heist goes awry and Graham sets a fire to cover their escape. However Ray discovers his wife was called back to work by her harried bosses. She is trapped in the club’s dungeon-like offices and dies. Ray goes to jail and Graham is reborn as Roger Salas. Lily Vernon is accidentally killed by a fire Roger/Graham starts.
“Blue: 5 Days Before the Heist”
We learn in “Yellow: 6 Weeks Before the Heist” that Ray/Leo’s grown up daughter Hannah Kim (Tati Gabrielle) is working with her father as a mole in Roger’s company. However, to cover her tracks, Hannah frames an innocent coworker named Andrew (Patch Darragh). By the time “Blue: 5 Days Before the Heist” rolls around, someone is blackmailing Roger. He figures out it’s Andrew, confronts him, and later dispatches his personal hitman after Andrew. Andrew is murdered by Roger Salas’s goons for threatening Roger’s secret past as Graham Davies.
“White: The Heist”
As things fall apart during the heist, Bob (Jai Courtney) violently pushes wife Judy (Rosaline Elbay) to join him in leaving the team behind and taking all $7 billion for themselves. They get into an altercation with the driver, R.J. (Jordan Mendoza), who realizes Bob wants to betray them. Because Judy snuck R.J. a gun in a previous episode, he is able to shoot Bob…in the butt. R.J. then aims his gun at Bob’s head and we hear a shot. R.J. falls dead because he was shot by Judy. Stan (Peter Mark Kendall) arrives in time to see them hide R.J.’s body in a dumpster. Bob shoots at Stan, who runs off. Bob pursues him. Judy, contrite over all that’s occurred, creeps up behind Bob and strangles him with a crowbar. She leaves him for dead. Ava later drives by his corpse. What neither see is he creates a makeshift tracheotomy and survives. R.J. is killed by Judy for threatening Bob and Bob is assumed dead, but survives.
“Red: The Morning After”
Leo, Ava, Stan, and Judy eventually meet up at their safe house and argue about who stabbed who in the back, who replaced the bearer bonds with construction paper, etc. While this is going on, they realize that Stan’s glasses were left at the crime scene. Roger’s team are able to connect these glasses to the real Stan Loomis and Roger’s head goon Carlos (Hemky Madera) goes to Stan’s house to shake down his wife and mom. Stan’s wife Barbara (Stacey Oristano) manages to keep quiet, but his mom (Susan Varon) blurts out they have a tracker on his phone. Carlos kills both women and besieges the safe house. A tense gunfight and stand off ends with Carlos and his goons dying. Stan’s wife and mother are killed by Carlos, who in turn is killed by Leo and the gang.
“Pink: Six Months Later”
Six months after the heist, we learn that Bob is indeed alive and plotting vengeance against the crew. He visits Roger Salas in jail who tells Bob he’ll get $20,000 for killing Leo Pap. Bob teams up with two ex-cons and they murder Ava’s fence Zanetti (Alok Tewari) for info on where Ava and Leo are. Bob and his buddies track down a declining Leo, Ava, and Ava’s relative Teresa (Irene DeBari) to Ohio. Teresa lobs an axe into Bob’s chest, but it does not kill him. Leo reveals that Judy and Stan are waiting for him in South Carolina. Bob takes off to get his wife back and to kill Stan. Meanwhile, Agent Abassi figures out that part of the crew is in South Carolina and stages an FBI raid. Bob is killed in the FBI raid by Abassi. Judy sees Bob’s car and takes his stash of money and leaves Stan. Back in Ohio, Leo, Ava, and Teresa attempt to escape. However, Teresa and Ava are both shot and killed in their bloody fight against Bob’s pals. Leo is the only person who survives. For now.
In the final moments of the episode, a disgraced Abassi is approached by a stranger on the street who is asking for directions. He shakes her hand and within minutes, she is dead. She has been killed by the Triplets, Roger’s ultra-dangerous clients, for pursuing the case to them. She dies in a manner that Hannah describes to Leo in another episode.
Leo is clearly dying of Parkinson’s, but is followed by a mysterious man in a colorful t-shirt and baseball cap in the park. The last shot of the episode is this mystery man shooting Leo in the back and killing him. Bob, Ava, Teresa, Bob’s buddies, Agent Nazan Abassi, and Leo all die.
Who Kills Leo Pap in Kaleidoscope? Agent Toby or Stan?
Maybe the biggest mystery in Kaleidoscope isn’t who actually ends up with the money — which we’ll get to — but who kills Leo Pap, aka Ray Vernon. Upon first viewing, I thought Stan was the killer. After all, Stan has lost everything because of Ray’s scheme. He lost his mother, his wife and mother, and, in the end, Judy. Stan also has to eventually figure out that Ray betrayed him to Bob. Stan could conceivably turn on his former cellie.
However, upon rewatching the scene again, I noticed that the t-shirt the killer wears has nothing to do with Stan or his wardrobe. The cutesy characters on the shirt do have something to do with Agent Abassi. They evoke the little stuffed animals she kept on her desk and shared with her son. If you really slow the scene down, you’ll see that the bone structure of the killer also looks a lot more like Agent Toby (Bubba Weiler) than Stan Loomis. Agent Toby was in love with Nazan Abassi and blames her obsession with the Ray Vernon case for her downfall and death.
And so, it seems that Agent Toby killed Leo Pap in Kaleidoscope.
Who Actually Ends Up with the Money in Netflix’s Kaleidoscope?
In the “White” Episode, we learn that Hannah and her sister Liz (Soojeong Kim) actually staged their own heist in the middle of Leo’s. When the bearer bonds are sent to the getaway car via elevator, they make a quick pitstop in the mailroom. We now know why Hannah wanted Liz to work in the mailroom…to set up their own heist.
The sisters quickly pack the real bearer bonds into FedEx boxes and replace the stolen ones with construction paper covered with a photocopy of a bond. The bonds that wind up in the escape van are fake. The real bonds are shipped…not to Hannah, but back to the Triplets.
Yes, Hannah foiled her own father’s heist and returned the money to the Triplets. Why? Well, because she knows they are not to be trifled with. After all, Agent Abassi just sniffs towards them and dies. To steal $7 billion from them would put a target on everyone in Leo’s crew and all their loved ones. Hannah allows her father to disgrace Roger Salas, but ensures the Triplets stay happy.
So in the end, the money stayed with the evil people at the top. The Triplets kept their billions.