WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Defending Jacob Episode 5, “Visitors,” now streaming on Apple TV+.
Defending Jacob’s latest episode, “Visitors,” puts doubt into the viewer’s mind regarding Jacob’s (Jaeden Martell) innocence. As his dad Andy (Chris Evans) and mom Laurie (Michelle Dockery) find options limited to boost his case, their last resort is the “murder gene” theory the defense wants to use.
However, one ray of hope emerges when Andy starts digging up dirt on Jacob’s former best friend, Derek (Ben Taylor), who now becomes a suspect. What’s intriguing is that given his actions, he may be worse than Jacob, especially as he has a hidden agenda.
Earlier this season, when the murder was first committed, Andy (as the then district attorney) interviewed kids at Jacob’s school, with young Sarah (Jordan Alexa Davis) seemingly having something to say. She stalled but eventually, she calls the anonymous tip hotline, although it’s unclear what she held back. Seeing as she’s the only classmate visiting and still befriending Jacob, it’s obvious she doesn’t think that with her inside info, he’s the killer.
Andy gets word Derek was actually interviewed by cops and he tries to hit up former colleagues to no avail. He eventually ends up at Sarah’s after-school job where she reveals Derek’s more than he seems and could be deflecting blame onto his ex-bestie. Andy suspects ulterior motives thanks to Derek’s various disparaging posts online about how Jacob secretly hated Ben and wanted him dead. Sarah confesses she and Ben had a thing and he convinced her to send him nudes, which he then tried to use to blackmail her for sexual favors.
A distraught Sarah confided in Derek, who took a dark turn and said he’d fix the problem. He eventually showed up at her house two days before Ben was killed with Ben’s phone. However, Sarah was livid as she doesn’t know what he did or what drama he was pulling her into. He left in a rage after admitting he stole it from the locker room when Ben was showering. This is why Sarah believes returning the phone may have led to something more. It’s possible the next morning when Derek went to give it back at the park, he may have killed Ben as things got heated and left it there. Interestingly, with the phone in evidence and the defense team now looking to scour it for clues, Derek’s fingerprints could help exonerate Jacob.
As for Derek, when Andy confronts him he avoids being grilled by revealing Jacob was into torture porn and other dark things his family has no clue about. Andy grows even more suspicious because he’s wondering if all these boys crushing on Sarah created a deadly rivalry. The way Sarah reacts, it also seems like Derek may have been gaslighting her into something and when things didn’t go his way, framing Jacob became part of the plan.
This explanation would help clear Derek’s own name and seeing as Sarah and Jacob got closer, it could be that he wants Jacob in jail out of jealousy. It’s unclear if Derek did seek Jacob’s help out when he found out what was Ben was doing, but right now, Jacob’s pissed at Sarah for hiding all this. When she messages him, he replies with “slut,” suggesting he wasn’t in the romantic circle. It could be a major clue as to his innocence because he really doesn’t seem to be in the know and he may not have had any reason to murder Ben. Still, Derek could have lied and used Jacob as an accomplice.
Written by Mark Bomback and directed by Morten Tyldum, Defending Jacob stars Chris Evans, Michelle Dockery, Pablo Schreiber, Cherry Jones, Jaeden Martell, Sakina Jaffrey, Betty Gabriel and J.K. Simmons. The miniseries is now streaming on Apple TV+ with new episodes out every Friday.
KEEP READING: Defending Jacob Introduces a Very Personal Villain
Defending Jacob's latest episode, “Visitors,” introduces a new murder suspect in the case, and he may be worse than Jacob.