Riverdale is full of suspicious goings on, though the main enchilada of mysteries plaguing Archie and friends is obviously that of Jason Blossom’s killer.
First thought to have drowned in Sweetwater River, the body of the captain of the Riverdale football team, destined to carry on the legacy of a maple syrup magnate, eventually washed up, marred by a bullet hole to the head. Instantly, everyone who had ever crossed paths with Jason became a suspect.
While we wait to discover the identity of said killer (or is it killers?) on the hit CW show, let’s take a look at the crowded suspect pool.
The Main Players
Archie (K.J. Apa)
Why he’s probably the killer: Don’t be fooled by his docile and unassuming demeanor — Archie has plenty of what Freud would likely dub Mommy Issues (he did sleep with his teacher after his mom left… Oedipal much?) Add to that the fact that he’s just a little too good, and something has to give somewhere, right?
Why he’s probably not the killer: Archie is the incredibly wholesome star of the comics on which Riverdale is based. Couple that with the only three things he’s thought about all season: girls, music, and his parents. He’s the type of person who, if he’d killed someone, would almost definitely be plagued by his conscience and turn himself in.
Jughead (Cole Sprouse)
Why he’s probably the killer: A possible sheep in wolf’s clothing, Jughead’s got his fair share of red flags. From his alcoholic Southside Serpents father to his mother who left him to become a squatter and the torment he endured at the hands of the football team (motive, motive, motive), Jughead might not be quite as gentle as he seems. In fact, for such a sweet guy, he’s pretty quick to anger.
Why he’s probably not the killer: Jug’s pretty dedicated to tracking down the killer, if for no other reason than to stay close to Betty. Jughead’s also our narrator, and, not being omniscient, he’d have a pretty hard time narrating the goings-on of the town if he was stuck in prison all next season, sans minions. After all, this is Riverdale, not Rosewood.
Betty (Lili Reinhart)
Why she’s probably the killer: She’s the sweet-as-cherry-pie-girl-next-door 98 percent of the time, but there’s that last two percent wherein Betty is completely unpredictable and even a bit unhinged. While she has more than enough sugar to counter Veronica’s spice in other incarnations of the classic comic, Riverdale’s Betty has plenty of her own spice to dole out. Just look at her spur-of-the-moment identity crisis while enacting her revenge against Chuck. Betty continues to surprise, not least because she hardly seems to recognize this alternate version of herself. Who’s to say she didn’t attack Jason whilst play-acting as a dominatrix? After all, she’s certainly got an ax to grind with anyone who’s ever hurt her precious sister Polly.
Why she’s probably not the killer: While it seems like a matter of time before her Type A personality totally gives way, Betty seems more protective than vindictive.
Veronica (Camila Mendes)
Why she’s probably the killer: Riverdale’s very own femme fatale arrived seemingly out of thin air… and on the heels of Jason’s murder no less. Timing, right? Despite her frequent proclamations that of course she had nothing to do with the killing because she’d never even met Jason, Ronnie isn’t off the hook just yet. Let’s not forget that both her parents have a serious morality deficit, and Ronnie admitted to having tortured a classmate into transferring schools way back when. Apples and trees, man.
Why she’s probably not the killer: If her alibi does check out, Veronica was nowhere near Riverdale when the shot was fired. She’s also a fan favorite, and we doubt Ronnie would be very skilled at coordinating those lips with an orange jumpsuit.
Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch)
Why she’s probably the killer: You mean aside from that heavily implied twincest? (It only took forever for the characters to call it out themselves.) Oh, and how about those wigs? It’s not out of the realm of possibility that they’d belong to Cheryl, and not her dad (that whole his-hair-went-prematurely-white-because-he-saw-a-ghost story really needed some work). It’s wholly possible that Cheryl has a bit of a Norman Bates-style identity crisis going on and got jealous when she learned about Polly, taking it out on her brother. After all, she is supposedly the last one to have seen him alive and she’s already admitted to lying about what happened once.
Why she’s probably not the killer: Cheryl claims to have loved Jason more than anything, and she says it often (and creepily) enough that we’re inclined to believe her love didn’t morph into an urge to kill.
FP Jones (Skeet Ulrich)
Why he’s probably the killer: DILF as he may be, FP is beyond creepy (and not just because his Scream role still haunts us). Aside from his wayward parenting skills, we already know he can be bought to do some shady stuff. And what was with the third-degree about Jughead’s research? He’s also in possession of Jason’s varsity jacket — or he was — and there’s no way that’s a coincidence, right? Maybe he knew Jughead was bullied by the football team and was protecting him? OK, probably not. Either way, he’s the lead suspect for that sterling crew of police in Riverdale. For now, at least.
Why he’s probably not the killer: Generally if someone is guilty, framing them is pretty unnecessary. Yet that incriminating gun was nowhere to be seen before the cops raided FP’s trailer. When asked point blank by Jughead if he had anything to do with the murder, FP didn’t deny his involvement but did insist he’s not a killer. We can’t rule him out as an accomplice, which could explain how sketchy he sounded asking Jughead who he thinks killed Jason.
Alice Cooper (Mädchen Amick)
Why she’s probably the killer: In case you’ve forgotten, the Coopers hate the Blossoms. And vice versa. Honestly, hate is probably too light a word to use. After all, when the cops were searching for Jason, Alice could be heard telling her husband, “I hope in those last moments he suffered.” Doesn’t exactly sound like a mournful woman, right?
Why she’s probably not the killer: What she said is dark, but it doesn’t sound like someone who witnessed Jason’s death, let alone caused it. While this could definitely be a case of snake eyes, it’s Riverdale, so probably not. Despite her tough exterior, Alice’s weapons of choice thus far have been limited to verbal threats, taunting (also written)… and a brick.
Fred Andrews (Luke Perry)
Why he’s probably the killer: Like the Coopers, Fred has a running feud with the Blossoms — but so does half of the town.
Why he’s probably not the killer: Fred is b-o-r-i-n-g. Hot, but boring. Sorry, but neither of the Andrews men seem to have the capacity to kill anyone, let alone the savvy to cover it up.
Hermione Lodge (Marisol Nichols)
Why she’s probably the killer: While she definitely tested the waters with Fred — and likely would’ve continued if he hadn’t put a hold on things — Hermione has a habit of putting Hiram’s interests above those of hers and Veronica’s. Whether it’s out of fear, guilt, greed, or some warped definition of loyalty, up until very recently, Hiram almost always took priority… which is odd, given that he screwed Hermione and Veronica out of their old lives and threatened their new ones. And since Hermione has proven so willing to do Hiram’s bidding and the Blossoms were instrumental in throwing Hiram in jail, it’s not too difficult to see that two and two might actually equal four here.
Why she’s probably not the killer: So long as Veronica’s alibi checks out, it’s basically a given Hermione’s would, too. She only returned to Riverdale post-Jason.
Hal Cooper (Lochlyn Munro)
Why he’s probably the killer: He wanted to protect Polly.
Why he’s probably not the killer: Yeah, Hal is a bit of a jerk, but it’s probably safe to say his bark is more threatening — and interesting — than his bite.
Penelope Blossom (Nathalie Boltt)
Why she’s probably the killer: We’re still waiting on the recipe for those daily milkshakes, but we already know there’s nothing stopping her from mixing in some horse tranquilizer or something, given that it knocked Polly out for a whole night. Plus, Penelope already slapped Alice once in public, proving that beneath her perfectly glossed, ginger façade is a real person with the potential to crack and go violent.
Why she’s probably not the killer: She seems more like an accomplice (i.e. telling Polly sob stories about Jason renouncing the family) than a full-on perpetrator, and she cries after hearing about FP’s arrest, saying, “He killed my Jason. I want him dead for what he did.” She didn’t seem to know Cheryl was listening in, so it’s unlikely that was all a front.
Clifford Blossom (Barclay Hope)
Why he’s probably the killer: THE. WIGS. And what are you hiding that you need to block off a whole wing of your house? It’s not Beauty and the Beast. Praising Cheryl for tossing the ring must mean keeping it would’ve implicated the family, right? Normally, you keep heirlooms, especially if you’re a Blossom.
Why he’s probably not the killer: On the off chance the family lore about his hair isn’t the load of rotting garbage it appears to be, we could probably give him the benefit of the doubt.
Unlikely but possible suspects:
Polly (Tiera Skovbye): There are four reasons Polly wouldn’t have offed her fiancé, and two of them are unborn. Whatever her state of mind may be, Polly really seems like she loved Jason. And now she’s taken on a new role as a “double agent,” trying to figure out how the Blossoms played into Jason’s murder. Did we mention her pretty concrete alibi for that day, when she was carted off against her will?
Hiram Lodge (Mark Consuelos): Veronica is convinced he “may have gone after Jason as payback,” so, why shouldn’t we be as well? Oh right, because we haven’t even met him yet. The white collar criminal won’t make an appearance until next season, so it’s pretty safe to say he’s out of this pool (but that doesn’t mean he didn’t pull the strings…).
Miss Grundy (Sarah Habel): Statutory rapist. “Booty tutor” (Veronica’s words, not ours). Imbalanced. She definitely had motive if Archie wasn’t the only student she was “tutoring,” and it’s likely he wasn’t. ALSO, SHE HAD A GUN IN HER CAR (the same car spotted near the river when Jason was shot). But she was busy getting busy with Archie when Jason was shot… or so we’ve been told.
Mary Andrews (Molly Ringwald): You don’t bring the ’80s screen queen on for just a bit role, right? After all, she got out of Riverdale. There’s gotta be a deeper story there, stories from the outside world. Perhaps those beefs from high school — including ones with Hermione and Alice — had something to do with it? But probably not.
Ethel Muggs (Shannon Purser): While Barb Ethel has become more involved in these last few episodes, it’d be nice to believe she really is as sweet as she seems. Then again, she might not be, and she already hates the football team.
Josie (Ashleigh Murray): A straight shooter when it comes to speaking her mind, and maybe a literal straight shooter too? Honestly though, if she felt coaching Archie with his music was too much of a hassle, it’s unlikely she’d expend her energy on A) committing a murder and B) covering one up.
Nana Rose (Barbara Wallace): She’s creepy, she knows a little too much, and she’s basically held captive by her family — maybe there’s a reason. Or maybe she’s also wheelchair-bound and shooting a football player near a rocky riverbed would prove a bit tricky.
Kevin Keller: You gotta love Kevin and his role as perpetual comic relief, but other than his new boyfriend and sheriff father, he’s basically a stranger to us. Next.
Even less likely but technically possible suspects:
Valerie Brown and Dilton Doiley. So far, we’ve pretty much only seen Valerie’s sweet side — we’re not getting any homicidal tendency vibes from this Pussycat — and Dilton’s been out of the picture for awhile.
Riverdale airs at 9 p.m. Thursdays on The CW.