What Big Sky's Wild Series Premiere Twist Means For The Ryan Phillippe Show

big sky abc promo photo cody ryan phillippe

(Image credit: ABC)

Spoilers ahead for the series premiere of Big Sky on ABC.

The much-hyped Big Sky finally premiered on ABC, and viewers who went into the first episode of the Ryan Phillippe series were in for a huge twist by the end of the hour. Namely, this isn't actually going to be a Ryan Phillippe series! The show that had been touted as starring Phillippe as private detective Cody Hoyt seemingly went ahead and killed him off in the very first episode, and it wasn't pretty. Assuming Cody really is as dead as he seems, it means some pretty big things for Big Sky.

Based on the end of the episode, Cody seems very dead. State Trooper Rick Legarski seemingly was going to help Cody track down the two teenage girls who went missing on their road trip to visit Cody and his ex-cop wife Jenny's son, but Rick pulled a gun and shot Cody in the front seat of Cody's own vehicle. Big Sky didn't show the actual impact or Cody afterward, but the angle suggests that Rick shot him in the head, and it's clear from the blood spatter that Rick didn't exactly miss.

Throw in that the chances of anybody finding Cody to help him are slim even if he somehow didn't immediately die, and I think it's safe to say that Ryan Phillippe won't be the star of Big Sky after all. And honestly, well done to Big Sky! Phillippe was arguably the biggest name attached to Big Sky, as Katheryn Winnick's claim to fame is a History series and Kylie Bunbury has had some bad luck with her TV series.

Ryan Phillippe got the valuable "and" placement at the end of the opening credits. Cody was even poised to be at the center of a love triangle. Who could have guessed that he'd be dead by the end of the premiere? And who knew viewers would already have to consider what his murder means for the rest of the series? Kudos to Big Sky on the shocker. After only one episode, his death is bound to be a game-changer.

Although Cody managed to tip Cassie off about where he was going and with whom, Cody was the closest by far to tracking down the girls who were kidnapped by the very creepy Ronald Pergman, played by Chicago P.D. veteran Brian Geraghty. He was so close that Rick, who had originally seemed like a tactless and off-putting but nevertheless well-intentioned trooper, showed his true colors and pulled the trigger. Cassie and Jenny have lost their best lead, and the missing girls don't have forever, whether Pergman intends to kill them or traffic them.

His death also means Cassie and Jenny sustained a big loss. For Jenny, she lost her husband (even if they were separated) and father of her child, and Cassie seemed to be falling for him. At the very least, Cassie cared deeply for him. Whether this lights a fire under them or makes them want to back off from the case remains to be seen, but after seeing them in the premiere, my money is on them doubling their efforts. He was also arguably a buffer between them, even if he was also the source of their conflict in the first place.

On the plus side -- if there is such a thing -- maybe Cassie and Jenny can bury the hatchet and work effectively together. Cassie and Jenny are both investigators, so they have the experience and the motivation. Cody's death also presumably means more screen time for Katheryn Winnick and Kylie Bunbury as co-leading ladies, which can only be a good thing. Winnick proved her acting chops with her years as Lagertha on Vikings, and Bunbury could have a better shot at a hit with Big Sky than she got with the one-off Pitch and Brave New World.

See how Big Sky picks up on Cody's death with new episodes airing Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC, following The Bachelorette. For more options now and in the coming weeks, be sure to check out our 2020 fall TV premiere schedule and our 2021 winter and spring premiere guide.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).