Skip to main contentSkip to footer

The Tourist: the ending of Jamie Dornan's BBC drama explained

Warning, spoilers ahead for all six episodes of The Tourist

the tourist jamie dornan
Emmy Griffiths
Emmy GriffithsTV & Film Editor
Share this:

Jamie Dornan's The Tourist has been met with a hugely positive reception from viewers and critics alike, and has finally come to its shocking conclusion on BBC. We have explained the ending of the twisty thriller here, but warning! Major spoilers are ahead from this point for those who still need to catch up!

MORE: The Tourist: viewers divided over shock ending

The series expertly managed to answer our (and Elliott's) questions about who he really is and why he was crashed into by a compulsive liar in a cowboy hat. Having previously worked as an accountant for a disturbed crime lord, Kostas, he fell in love with Kostas' girlfriend Luci and ran away with her, taking Kostas' treasured bag containing the first one million dollars he ever earned.

WATCH: Have you been watching the series?

Kosta then tracked them to Australia, sending his henchmen to deal with them. However, being friends with Elliott, one of them gives him a heads up that Kosta knows where they are. The cowboy-hat wearing American then buries Kosta underground as insurance as he goes to hunt down Elliott and Victoria, eventually leading to Elliott's car crash and subsequent amnesia.

tourist kosta

We finally found out why Kostas wanted to kill Elliott 

In the final episode, after gently holding a restaurant hostage while providing evidence that they were innocent of committing any murders, Elliott is free to continue with his life. There are some questions, like why he ever agreed to work for Kosta, but generally he realises that he has never killed anyone and wasn't a terrible person. Until the final piece of the puzzle, a woman he vaguely remembers named Lena Pascal, comes to visit him.

tourist jamie dornan 0

Elliott discovers that he was a ruthless gangster

During her visit, she reveals that she was one of his drug mules, and he would make her practice smiling and waving. She revealed that the two women who were carrying drugs alongside her both died on the flight after the bags leaked in their stomachs, and after she left the flight, Elliott ordered the drugs to be cut out of her, leaving her with an horrendous injury. She then leaves, telling Elliott that his punishment is having to live with what he has done.

MORE: The Tourist viewers aren't happy with this detail in show

MORE: The Tourist: viewers think they have already worked out the plot twist

After being unable to hand himself in for the crime and losing his only friend, Helen, who is disgusted to hear about the sort of person he was before his injury, Elliott takes a drug overdose. Meanwhile, Helen has had time to think about who he is and is advised by a friend to accept him for who he is now. As Elliott lies dying, she messages him an emoji of a burrito, which was previously said to be Elliott's 'happy place'. Receiving the message, Elliott smiles.

tourist pic

Helen sends him a message of a burrito

The ending is deliberately vague, as it doesn't reveal whether Elliott survives the suicide attempt or not after receiving Helen's message – and it appears that viewers had mixed feelings over the ambiguous conclusion. Taking to Twitter, one person wrote: "Good grief, that ending of #bbc's #TheTourist. It's going to haunt me in a good way for a long time, a mark of a great show in my books. #JamieDornan mesmerises. And #DanielleMacdonald is a revelation."

Another person added: "Omg they can’t leave the ending of #TheTourist like that nooooooooooooo……watched six episodes," while a third person tweeted: " What an ending to a brilliant series! I’m left stunned, slightly weepy and smiling!"

Like this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.