1. Since Nick goes to the elevator to save Gus, so he must have noticed the "elevator killing" page from Catherine's book. Thus, he must have known that Catherine is the killer. Why then did he shot Beth?

  2. Who convinced Beth to be at that hotel at that time?


3 Answers 3


When I first saw Basic Instinct, I thought "it is a simple story, Cat framed Beth" but after seeing it recently, now I see there was a murder coven and Cat wanted out. Nick had no idea, he was played by all of them in a twisted fantasy game.

Spoilers for Vertigo:

So it plays like a happy ending version of Vertigo.


According to Wikipedia:

Beth unexpectedly arrives and explains that she received a message to meet Gus. Nick suspects Beth has murdered Gus and, believing that she is reaching for a gun, shoots her, but discovers that Beth was only fiddling with an ornament on her key chain.

Why Beth is there? We can only rely on what she said.

  • 1
    But since Nick knew about the elevator killing in Catherine's book, surely he must have known that Catherine was the killer? Or did he think Beth was working with Catherine and executing Catherine's plans? Commented Aug 20, 2021 at 13:14

Regarding Catherine's new book: the book may indicate that she is the only killer, or that she conspires with others, or that she knows the killer and psychologically "reads" her. Or that she predicts that a killer who is messing with Shooter (like trying to frame him for Nilsen's murder) would go on to mess with Shooter by killing his partner when Shooter is nearby. And since Shooter's partner is disinterested in femmes fatales, the next best private room for a murder apart from a bedroom is an elevator.

There are several reasons why Nick might still suspect Beth:

  • Beth claimed that she knows that Catherine is a sick, evil genius, but Beth had concealed this valuable information during two unsolved murder investigations (Goldstein's and Boz').
  • What Catherine and Beth claim sounds like they interacted little and rather briefly and like Beth didn't sleep with other women, but the cop who investigated Beth's husband's murder said that Beth had a girlfriend (possibly Catherine) as late as during her marriage.
  • Nilsen was investigating that murder and got murdered.
  • Beth indicated that she gave Nilsen information about Nick and that Nilsen fed it to Catherine, but Nilsen got killed before having given his version of the events.
  • Beth claims that she got a "message to meet Gus", but Nick's colleagues later look for a "message from Gus", which is not the same thing. If this misunderstanding was on Nick's part, then he had another reason to be suspicious: Gus took Nick along to check on Catherine's and Beth's past, so Gus wouldn't have invited Beth.
  • Beth works with policemen and knows that Nick had been "trigger-happy", but she disobeys when he tells her to take her hand out of her pocket and not move.

Several of these reasons are hinted at during their final dialogue:

- I got a message to meet Gus here. Where is he?
- Don't you move! I know about your husband! You still like girls, Beth?
- What?
- Take you hands out of your pocket!

If Beth wasn't in on the murder, maybe the killer asked a friend or future victim to leave a message for Beth to meet Gus at the hotel.

Similarly to this director's other films, this film might have more layers than may seem at first. Apart from the ambiguity surrounding Beth's actions, another example are the restraints imposed on the investigation by the captain. There might be corruption and thus possibly a plot to get Internal Affairs (Nilsen and Beth) out of the picture.

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