Who was the real American Vandal? (Netflix theory)

No, actually, not a theory but the obvious truth!

I’ve just finished watched the complete 4+ hours of the new Netflix mockumentary ‘American Vandal’ – a parody of true crime documentaries such as ‘Making a Murderer’ and ‘Serial’ where the film makers try to clear a convicted criminal. But set in a high school where someone has painted 27 dicks on teacher cars. I loved this show and watched the whole thing in two sittings.

So now come the spoilers, so please go and watch the show first and then come back…

Who actually did the crime?

The show leaves it open ended. It implies Christa did it to get back at the school for ignoring her complaint about the coach. But film maker Peter only gives this as his best guess, knowing how speculation ruined Dylan and many other students lives during the series.

It could also be taken that Dylan may have been involved, having drawn the same doodle on Ms. Shapiro’s driveway. But this seemed more like Dylan yearning back for the life that he thought he had to live up to (and the balls were different, a very good subtle clue!). Plus he has a concrete alibi.

I think the true American Vandal is Peter Maldonado – the film maker and narrator to the show. Here are my reasons why:

  1. Peter’s alibi means nothing without video evidence. He had a cinema stub showing he went to see a film at 1.45pm. How easy would it have been for him to enter the cinema, have the ticket ripped, and left again to commit the crime? And no mention of who he was with at the cinema.
  2. He had access to the security tapes and proved he knew how to delete it.
  3. Peter benefitted from the crime. He could create a documentary following his efforts to exonerate Dylan (or whoever got the blame), knowing he was innocent and could very likely find evidence if he keep looking.
  4. When Sam did his investigation into whether Peter could have done it, benefitting from the documentary is discussed among jokes about liking dicks as his motive. Peter was clearly annoyed about this part and wanted Sam to do a proper investigation – perhaps he was just concerned Sam had hit the nail on the head and didn’t want it public?
  5. The final episode spends a lot of time on Dylan and how he adjusts to life after being exonerated. The documentary briefly goes back to the crime, but under the guise of ‘not implementing another person without hard evidence’ Peter offers his best guess and the question isn’t answered. That’s because Peter has done his job, got the story he wants, and doesn’t want anyone else looking into it.
  6. (Here we get a little more farfetched) The girl who held the party at her Nan’s house – she was surprised when Sam said they hadn’t been there. This was supposed to be taken as a hit at their popularity as everyone was there – but what if she remembered seeing Peter there but was too drunk to be positive about it? This is flimsy though, he isn’t in any videos, and why would he go there just to steal the spray paint, unless he saw the prom-posal on Facebook Live and thought it’d be good for the documentary? (Maybe ignore this one!)

I bet with another watching there would be more clues. From early on I was suspicious but from about episode 4/5 I was certain he did it. I spent the whole of the last episode waiting for some clue to come about that showed it was him, with Sam completing the documentary. But perhaps the way it ended was even better. The clues are there but being an unreliable narrator we have to find the real conclusion ourselves!

I’m not seeing much about American Vandal online just yet, but I suspect this will be a major theory!

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