What happens at the end of One Day? Netflix series plot and ending explained

14 February 2024, 10:05 | Updated: 16 February 2024, 11:39

Netflix's One Day follows the relationship between Emma and Dexter across 20 years
Netflix's One Day follows the relationship between Emma and Dexter across 20 years. Picture: Netflix
Alice Dear

By Alice Dear

Netflix's One Day is a must-watch with a difficult ending so what happens at the end? And do Emma and Dexter get back together?

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Netflix's series One Day has become an instant hit on the TV streaming service, but viewers have one question they need answered - what happens at the end of One Day?

One Day is based on the 2009 book by David Nicholls and was already adapted into a film in 2011 starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess as Emma Morely and Dexter Mayhew, which means the plot of the story is already widely known.

As Ambika Mod and Leo Woodall step into the roles of Emma and Dexter, a new audience of people who haven't read the book or seen the film are invested in the couple's relationship and want to know how it ends.

Here's a breakdown of One Day's plot synopsis, including what happens at the end of the series. WARNING: This contains spoilers for the entire series!

Netflix's series of One Day stars Ambika Mod and Leo Woodall and tells the story of Emma and Dexter's relationship
Netflix's series of One Day stars Ambika Mod and Leo Woodall and tells the story of Emma and Dexter's relationship . Picture: Netflix

What happens at the end of One Day?

After 20 years of friendship and missed moments to be together, Dexter and Emma finally realise their feelings for each other while in Paris.

The couple move back to London where they get engaged while co-parenting Dexter's daughter Jasmine with Sylvie and Callum, but Emma wants to have a baby herself.

One day, Emma goes for a swim before cycling to meet Dexter, but gets hit by a car and dies. Dexter struggles to deal with the loss but is supported by his father, ex-wife Sylvie, as well as Emma's ex-boyfriend Ian and her friend Tilly.

The series ends in 2007 as Dexter returns to Edinburgh with his daughter and reminisces about the first day he spent with Emma. The final scene sees Dexter reimagine the moment he parted ways with Emma on the stairs, and this time kisses her.

In One Day, Dexter and Sylvie get married and have a daughter before splitting after her affair with his best friend Callum is revealed
In One Day, Dexter and Sylvie get married and have a daughter before splitting after her affair with his best friend Callum is revealed. Picture: Netflix

One Day plot summary

One Day is a romantic Netflix series which follows the relationship of Dexter Mayhew, played by Leo Woodall, and Emma Morley, played by Ambika Mod, over 20 years as they continually miss opportunities to be together.

Emma and Dexter meet for the first time on graduation day in 1988 at Edinburgh University at a party where, after a night of talking and drinking, end up at Emma's flat.

Instead of sleeping together, the pair talk and the next day climb Arthur's Seat before the arrival of Dexter's parents cut their day short and they part ways.

The pair become close friends, connecting mainly by phone calls where they support each other through the difficulties of life.

Emma moves to London and starts a relationship with her co-worker Ian, but they split after realising they're not right for one another
Emma moves to London and starts a relationship with her co-worker Ian, but they split after realising they're not right for one another. Picture: Netflix

Later, Emma moves to London and starts a relationship with Ian, played by Jonny Weldon, while working in a dead-end job at a restaurant. She eventually quits and becomes a teacher.

Meanwhile, Dexter pursues a career in television where he starts abusing drugs and alcohol. Following the death of his mother, he cleans up and meets Sylvie, played by Eleanor Tomlinson.

After years together, Emma and Ian split up after she sleeps with her colleague at work.

At the end of One Day, Emma is hit by a car while cycling to meet Dexter and dies
At the end of One Day, Emma is hit by a car while cycling to meet Dexter and dies. Picture: Netflix

After falling out at a dinner, Dexter and Emma reunite at Tilly's wedding where he reveals his is engaged to marry Sylvie. However, the pair share a kiss.

In 1998, a married Dexter and Sylvie welcome a daughter, Jasmine, but their marriage is struggling. It is later revealed that Sylvie is having an affair with Dexter's friend Callum.

After his split with Sylvie, Dexter travels to Paris where Emma is now living after becoming a published author. Here, we find out that Dexter and Emma had slept together before she relocated to France and met her boyfriend Jean-Pierre.

During this trip, Dexter and Emma finally realise they should be together and start their relationship - at last.

The pair move back to London where they become engaged and co-parent Jasmine with Sylvie and Callum, who have become a couple. Emma wants to have her own child with Dexter, however, becomes upset when it doesn't happen straight away.

One day, after going for a swim, Emma is cycling to meet Dexter when she is hit by a car and dies. Following her death, Dexter struggles with the loss and returns to abusing alcohol. His ex-wife Sylvie and his father help to support him alongside Tilly, Ian and the rest of Emma's friends.

The series ends with Dexter revisiting Edinburgh with his daughter, where he walks up Arthur's Seat and reminisces about his first day with Emma.

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