'Cruel Summer' fans have theories about who killed Luke in Season 2.

8 Theories About Who Killed Luke On Cruel Summer, Ranked

The prime suspects may not be who you expect.


The puzzle pieces are finally starting to come together on Cruel Summer Season 2, but of course, pretty much everybody is still a suspect in the mystery of who killed Luke Chambers. However, as more information has been revealed, some would-be murderers seem more likely than others. So, as the big finale draws closer, it’s the perfect time to rank the best theories about who killed Luke, from the long shots to the most convincing.

Spoiler alert: This ranking will take into account events through Cruel Summer Season 2, Episode 8. Before we get to the suspects, let’s address some of the crucial facts about Luke’s death. His corpse was discovered in the lake in the summer of 2000, almost exactly six months after he was killed on New Year’s Day. The coroner’s report revealed that he’d ingested a dangerous amount of benzodiazepines, and also that a bullet had grazed his ear. The ending of Episode 8 revealed how both of those things happened to him. After Megan and Isabella learned Luke was two-timing them at the New Year’s Eve party, they tied him to the bed at his cabin and crushed multiple pills into his drink. When Luke revealed to Megan that he had slept with Isabella back in the summer of 1999, Isabella pulled a gun on him, likely resulting in the bullet that nicked his ear.

That clears some stuff up, but still doesn’t reveal who actually killed Luke. Let’s start off with the least likely candidates and work our way up to the prime suspects.

8. Debbie


Yeah, Megan’s mom has mostly been on the sidelines, but her main thing this whole season has always been protecting her girls. She was the only other person to know the truth about the sex tape, and she was also clued into Isabella’s shady past, as well as picking up on some clues about Megan’s connection to Ned. She could know a lot more than she’s letting on, and if she discovered that Megan and Isabella were in trouble, she could very well go to extreme lengths to protect them... including finishing the lethal job they unintentionally started.

7. Isabella


It definitely feels like all the murderer signs are pointing squarely at Isabella, which is actually why she’s pretty low on the suspect list. Sure, she’s the new girl with a shady past, an unhinged obsession with Megan, and all the motive in the world to want to kill Luke — but that’s just not how Cruel Summer works. There’s bound to be a bait-and-switch coming, right? Or maybe we shouldn’t overthink it too much.

6. Jeff


Jeff has been holding a treasure trove of video evidence all season long, but it hasn’t really been unleashed yet. Why is that? Maybe because he doesn’t want anyone else to see what’s really on his camera. He could have a motive to want to kill Luke due to his jealousy over Megan dumping him for Luke. Plus, he was keeping a close eye on Megan at the New Year’s Eve party, which could mean he saw her sneak off to the cabin and stumbled on Luke in a vulnerable position.

5. Megan


There’s a lot of reason to believe Megan killed Luke, or at least led him to his death. Her turning on Luke would probably most closely mirror how Season 1 ended, and be a deliciously dark twist. The fact that she constantly mentions how well she knows Luke and the woods where he died adds to the suspicion — maybe she didn’t directly kill him, but led his drugged body to the lake that meant so much to them and left him to die. However, in the grand scheme of things, the Megan theory suffers in a similar way to the Isabella one, where it would just not be a big enough shocker if she was revealed to be the killer.

4. Nobody


Ever since Season 2 began, fans have been drawn to a wild theory that Luke may not actually be dead — and it’s only grown more likely with a few clues that have been dropped throughout the season. There are a lot of ways this theory could come to fruition. Maybe Luke worked with Megan and Isabella to disappear so he wouldn’t be forced to go to a college he hates, or maybe he worked with his dad to fake his death to pin the crime on someone else as an act of revenge. Or maybe he worked alone and fooled everyone, finally escaping his toxic family in Chatham once and for all. The main drawback to this ending is that it might be anticlimactic for a murder mystery show to end with no murder.

3. Ned


Arguably the most suspicious character of all is Ned. He lives in the woods where Luke was killed, he’s very trigger-happy with his gun, and already openly threatened Luke’s life earlier in the day on New Year’s Eve. Not to mention he has serious beef with the Chambers family, which is motive enough for him to want to kill Luke, even if he wasn’t also dating his protégé/only friend Megan. It’s easy to find a ton of reasons why Ned would be the killer... which of course, isn’t always the best for these types of theories. Is the case against Ned simply too obvious to be a good twist?

2. Brent


We already know Luke’s older brother is a disgusting criminal who seems to have no conscience at all, but would he go so far as to commit fratricide? Probably! At least, that’s what the extremely suspicious promo for the final episodes hints at. A quick clip shows Brent holding Luke underwater, seemingly drowning him. The animosity between the Chambers boys has been apparent from the start, and Brent still blames Luke for exposing his secret sex tape collection. But despite it all, the number one prime suspect to be Luke’s killer is another Chambers man.

1. Steve


Yep, Luke’s dad. The true villain of the season. Every ounce of toxic patriarchal bullsh*t that Megan and Isabella have had to deal with originated from Steve Chambers, who was easily able to get the sheriff’s department to cover up Brent’s illegal sex tapes and direct the police to investigate pretty much everyone but himself in Luke’s murder. His abusive relationship with Luke had become more and more apparent as the season went on, and it wouldn’t be hard to imagine Steve snapping and going too far if he found out Luke had ruined his college chances.

As heartless as killing his own son may be, Steve also has some sneaky motives to do it. He could easily pin the murder on Ned, finally winning their deep-seated feud, while also incriminating Megan and Isabella, the two girls he perceives as ruining his family name. In fact, he may not have even had to kill Luke to get his perfect revenge. Notably, Steve is the only person who saw Luke’s corpse and confirmed it was his son. He easily could have lied to cover up a fake-death plan he concocted with Luke. Whatever the case, there’s no way this season is ending without Steve revealing the true depths of his villainy.