Clue Character Study: Mr. Green

So, I saw a twitter breakdown of the movie CLUE, comparing it to an old 1960s(?) version of “Ten Little Indians”. It is offhand lamented that the scriptwriters felt they needed to make sure a homosexual didn’t end up being the hero. So, in the closing scene of the 3rd and “real” ending of the movie, Mr. Green has to loudly proclaim to the moviegoing audience: “I’m gonna go home and sleep with my wife.”

But I never took it to be that way.

Allow me to elaborate: [pulls out cork board with photos and string]


First, if you are reading this: spoiler alert for a movie made in 1985. I will be spoiling a LOT. Consider this your perfect excuse to go watch this movie NOW. It is a cult classic, a brilliant comedy, and holds up surprisingly well. I believe you can find it on Amazon Prime streaming at the very least.

Now, with that out of the way, let’s outline What happens in the movie in general, spotlighting Mr. Green in particular.

  1. A group of blackmail victims are invited by a mysterious host to a dinner party promising an end to the blackmailing
  2. All arrive and are given aliases, whereupon they each either have their guilty secret revealed or reveal it themselves.
  3. Mr. Green says that he is being blackmailed for being a homosexual. This causes Wadsworth to give a look of surprise and consult the blackmail materials he has in hand. More on this later.
  4. It is revealed that the last guest (Mr. Boddy) is not a victim of blackmail, but the blackmailer himself. Wadsworth reveals that he had gained possession of all the evidence that the blackmailer gathered on the guests, insisting that he can use it to put Mr. Boddy in prison with it.
  5. Mr. Boddy then produces a distinct set of potential murder weapons which he gives out in a failed attempt to get someone from the group to kill Wadsworth. The plan fails, and someone tries (and eventually succeeds) in killing him instead.
  6. After the blackmailer appears to be dead, Wadsworth reveals that he was the one to write the invitations to the dinner in an attempt to stop the blackmailer from continuing his extortion.
  7. As the evening progresses, Mr. Boddy is murdered (again, but for real this time), the blackmail materials get destroyed, a phone call from the head of the FBI is received, and a host of other murders occur: the cook, the maid, a motorist, a policeman, and a singing telegram.
  8. Wadsworth eventually announces that he has figured out how the murders were done, and also reveals that all the murder victims were accomplices to Mr. Boddy.

There are then 3 separate endings given for the film: 2 “possible” endings and 1 “real” ending. In the two “possible” endings, nothing more about Mr. Green in particular is brought to light. But in the third “real” ending, the following is revealed:

  • There wasn’t a single person committing all the murders. Each murder that had occurred so far that evening was done independently by one of the dinner guests, except for Mr. Green. He was the only guest who DIDN’T kill anyone.
  • Wadsworth reveals that the Mr. Boddy that arrived at the party wasn’t the real blackmailer, it was him.
  • Holding everyone at gunpoint, Wadsworth explains that he set this evening up in an attempt to get rid of all the evidence of his blackmailing scheme by not only having all his accomplices killed off and all the materials they provided destroyed, but having the blackmail victims do it for him. It isn’t directly stated, but it is implied that Wadsworth not only gets away clean, but now has a murder charge he can hold over every guest.
  • When Mr. Green asks if he’s going to keep blackmailing them, and Wadsworth says yes, he gets the drop on him and shoots him with his own revolver.
  • Mr. Green then reveals that he is an FBI agent working undercover to expose the blackmailer.

And at the end of the “real” ending, we finally get the line that lead me to write this. As Mr. Green is turning all the rest of the guests in to the authorities, he quips to the Police Chief:

“Okay, chief, take em away. I’m gonna go home and sleep with my wife.”

And the movie ends with a freeze frame of Mr. Green and the Chief sharing a knowing smirk.


I freely admit that I am a Heterosexual male saying this, so perhaps there is some aspects of gay culture that I am missing, but to me, this doesn’t sounds like the script writers to get rid of his gayness so we don’t end up with a gay man saving the day at the end. To me, this sounds like a ploy by Mr. Green to let the other guests know that they won’t be able to extort him over his homosexuality should they try to get out of their respective murder raps.

Remember, he is the only guest that didn’t commit a murder that night. Everyone else there is dead to rights on murder charges, unless they all band together and concoct a believable story to blame it all on someone else, but that would have to involve ALL of them: including Mr. Green. Since Mr. Green doesn’t have a reason to cover for 5 murderers, they would need something to compel him to cooperate. By saying that last line, he’s announcing to them that they got nothing to hold over him, and they’re going to jail for murder.

But I think the way the movie reads on its face is that the audience is meant to believe that Mr. Green was a plant all along, that his job at the state dept. and his reasons for being blackmailed were all a cover story to allow him to break up the blackmail ring. It all holds together pretty well: more than likely, he was put under cover to make sure no state secrets get out.

After all, he DID know who Mrs. Peacock was at dinner. It is revealed in a different ending that she was receiving bribes from a foreign power in return for how her husband, a U.S. Senator with influence over defense contracts, was voting. Sure, this was a separate ending from the “real” one, but nothing in the real ending would contradict it.

And he does take an interest in what, exactly, Col. Mustard is being blackmailed over. He connects the dots on him being a client of Ms. Scarlet – who runs a brothel in D.C. and could be leaking pentagon secrets to her business. This turns out to be the “real” reason Ms. Scarlet is being blackmailed in a different ending. Again, not part of the “real” ending, but nothing contradicts it. He also points out that one of the blackmail informants (Yvette) has a connection to a nuclear physicist and to Col. Mustard, whose Top Secret pentagon job involved the next fusion bomb.

Taken all together, it all certainly fits that the FBI would suspect that high-level government interests are at stake, and would warrant an operation wherein Mr. Green goes undercover as a State Dept. employee who is gay, that gets leaked to a known informant to this blackmailer, leading to him being blackmailed. It all leads to the conclusion that Mr. Green’s homosexuality was fake.

There’s just one thing I don’t understand…

It all comes down to the scene in the study where Wadsworth is revealing everyone’s guilty secret. But it isn’t Wadsworth that reveals Mr. Green’s secret, Mr. Green jumps in and does it himself. Nothing too odd there: perhaps if a secret you were being blackmailed over was about to be exposed, you’d want to put it in your own words. But what I don’t get is Wadsworth: when Mr. Green says that he is a homosexual, Wadsworth’s *surprised*.

Why would the blackmailer (as he is revealed to be in the 3rd “real” ending) be surprised at what he is blackmailing his victim over?

Now, for the sake of the movie as a whole, it’s a great little sight gag Tim Curry adds to the film. And with regard to the other 2 “possible” endings, it makes sense: in either of those 2 endings, Wadsworth is either working for the police or the FBI, and it is conceivable that he simply didn’t have time to read thru all the material for everyone at the party and was just going to read it as he needed.

BUT... in the 3rd ending, Wadsworth is the blackmailer, so why wouldn’t he know?

Okay, here’s my theory:

Mr. Green is in fact homosexual and working in Washington and does something worthy of blackmail, but it’s not for being homosexual. Now, he is paying the blackmail and working on a way to get out from under the blackmailer’s thumb. Being a clever guy, he susses out who some of the other victims are: namely Mrs. Peacock and possibly Col. Mustard. Then he receives an invitation to a dinner party promising to put an end to it all.

Here’s where our clever Mr. Green hatches a plan.

He approaches the FBI with the blackmailing ring he’s “uncovered” and volunteers to go undercover for this operation. As part of his cover, he tells the FBI that the reason for the blackmail would be that he’s gay.

Why do that?

Because 1.) he really is being blackmailed for something that he obviously doesn’t want known, and 2.) plausible deniability should his actual homosexuality be discovered. Anyone that comes to the FBI with evidence that he’s gay he can pass off as being part of his cover story! Win-win.

“Okay” you say, “That’s all well and good, but why risk telling the guests at the party the fake secret? Wouldn’t the blackmailer know it was fake and expose his real secret anyway?”

Exactly! It’s a test!

At this point, nobody knows who the blackmailer is, or if they are even at the party at all! Mr. Boddy, the decoy blackmailer, hadn’t been revealed yet. Mr. Green may well be throwing out the false lead to see what happens: Does anyone doubt it? Will anyone call him out on it?

The thing about it being homosexuality is that it is bad enough during the “lavender scare” of the 50’s to be believable as a secret worthy of blackmail, and I would also guess that it is a secret that is slightly more blackmail-worthy than whatever it turns out he is being blackmailed for.

Since nobody calls him out on it, he can safely assume 2 things: Nobody but the blackmailer knows he’s lying, and the blackmailer, if present, is not going to correct him.

So, all Mr. Green has to do to conceal his real secret is to make sure the blackmailer is dead.

So, what happens in the end? When Wadsworth thanks everyone for eliminating all traces of his crimes, Mr. Green realizes that he is the only person left who knows his real secret, and can still hold it over him. He even says “So you’re just going to keep on blackmailing us all”, the only thing left to blackmail anyone there with is the murders that night, since all the evidence for the things they were getting blackmailed for earlier were just eliminated.

But Wadsworth says “Of course”. He knows he can hold the series of murders everyone else just committed over everyone else’s heads, but Mr. Green didn’t do any of them. So that lets Mr. Green know that Wadsworth can still hold what he really did over him.

So, rather than try to arrest or detain him, Mr. Green guns him down instead. Now he’s scott free!

And that’s my theory on Mr. Green: a clever FBI agent that manages to keep his dirty secret hidden behind an even dirtier secret.

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