If there’s such a thing as a hero in Clue (and we’re not 100% sure there is), Wadsworth is our man. This seemingly mild-mannered servant arranges all the events of the evening and turns out to be more than just a humble butler in the end (well, ends).
Wadsworth is the first character we meet in the movie as he drives his car up to the spooky-looking Hill House. Inside, he goes through a whole bunch of mysterious interactions. It isn’t really until Wadsworth gets down to the business of explaining what the heck they’re all doing there that he gets really interesting:
WADSWORTH: Ladies and gentlemen, you all have one thing in common. You're all being blackmailed. For some considerable time, all of you have been paying what you can afford and, in some cases, more than you can afford to someone who threatens to expose you. And none of you know who's blackmailing you, do you?
MRS. PEACOCK: Oh, please! I've never heard anything so ridiculous. I mean, nobody could blackmail me. My life is an open book. I've never done anything wrong.
WADSWORTH: Anybody else wish to deny it? Very well. As everyone here is in the same boat, there's no harm in my revealing some details. And my instructions are to do so.
Oh, the plot thickens.
Turns out, despite insisting that he has “instructions” to do specific things, Wadsworth is the one who orchestrated this whole evening? Why?
WADSWORTH: When I said that I was Mr. Boddy's butler, this was both true and misleading. I was once his butler, but it was not his untimely death this evening that brought my employment with him to an end.
COLONEL MUSTARD: When did it come to an end?
WADSWORTH: When my wife decided to… end her life. She too was being blackmailed by this odious man who now lies dead before us. He hated my wife for the same reason that he hated all of you. He believed that you were all thoroughly un-American[…] For some reason, he felt that it was inappropriate for a senator to have a corrupt wife, for a doctor to take advantage of his patients, for a wife to emasculate her husband, and so forth.
Okay, so Wadsworth basically has a tragic backstory. He and his wife were victims of Mr. Boddy’s evil schemes and she killed herself. Now Wadsworth is thinking that he can get all the other blackmail victims together, they can confront Mr. Boddy, and bring him to justice by calling the police.
It’s a good idea… until you think about it just a little bit.
The Flaw in the Plan
Why on Earth would anyone in this room want the police involved in their blackmail affairs? If Mr. Boddy is exposed, they’ll be exposed, too. These people have paid a lot of money to keep these scandals under wraps. Does Wadsworth really think that they’ll all be happy to have their secrets splashed across the front page when Mr. Boddy is in jail? Heck, killing Mr. Boddy really does seem like the simplest solution.
Wadsworth also dropped the ball with the whole let’s-invite-the-informants-to-the-house idea. You know whom the guests in the house would really like to see? All the people that sold their secrets to Mr. Boddy. People who they know.
That won’t start off a murder spree at all. #sarcasm
Yeah, so we’re gonna go ahead and say that this part of Wadsworth’s plan was not really well thought out.
The Real Wadsworth… Kind Of
Of course, it makes a little more sense when you consider Wadsworth’s role in the different endings to the movie. In the first and second ending, he’s actually an undercover FBI agent who’s been investigating Mr. Boddy (and the six guests) for some time now. He arranged the whole evening either as an elaborate plot to trap Mr. Boddy (who ended up dead) or as an elaborate trap to catch the real killer—Miss Scarlet or Mrs. Peacock.
Of course, the six-person body count is a pretty unfortunate side effect. Hard to believe even the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover was that careless.
That’s why the third ending makes a little more sense (and that’s why it’s our favorite):
MR. GREEN: You're Mr. Boddy!
PROFESSOR PLUM: Wait a minute! So who did I kill?
WADSWORTH: My butler.
PROFESSOR PLUM: Shucks.
WADSWORTH: He was expendable, like all of you. I'm grateful to you all for disposing of my network of spies and informers. Saved me a lot of trouble. Now there's no evidence against me.
MRS. WHITE: This all has nothing to do with my disappearing nuclear physicist husband or Colonel Mustard's work with the new top-secret fusion bomb?
WADSWORTH: No. Communism was just a red herring.
MR. GREEN: But the police will be here any minute! You'll never get away with this, any of you!
WADSWORTH: Why should the police come? Nobody's called them.
MRS. PEACOCK: You mean… oh, my God, of course!
WADSWORTH: So why shouldn't we get away with it? We'll stack the bodies in the cellar, lock it, leave quietly one at a time, and forget that any of this ever happened.
MR. GREEN: And you'll just go on blackmailing us all.
WADSWORTH: Of course. Why not?
Turns out, Wadsworth wasn’t a humble butler—he was Mr. Boddy all along. Of course he brought them all here. Of course he didn’t want any of them to leave. Of course he didn’t care if his informants were killed. He’s a bad dude. In fact, now he’s got extra dirt on the people he’s blackmailing.
Check and mate.
And Wadsworth would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for that meddling Mr. Green.