Who Is the Black Hood Killer on 'Riverdale'?

black hood riverdale

Only on Riverdale are blood-curdling screams and incest revelations served up as often as hamburgers and milkshakes. The second season of the hit CW series is in full swing, and with it comes a brand new mystery: the murderous Black Hood.

We met the masked madman in the Season 1 finale, when he entered Pop's Diner and shot our hero Archie Andrew's father, Fred, nearly killing him. His secret identity has been the focal point of these first six episodes, as we've watched him slay Miss Grundy, shoot Riverdale High students (and recreational drug users) Moose and Midge, stalk and mentally torture Betty Cooper, and, in the latest episode, "Death Proof," hunt down and shoot a Southside drug dealer known as the Sugar Man.

There are no clear leads on the Black Hood, but based on Archie's memories of his father's attack, we know the killer is a white man, middle-aged, well-built, with piercing green eyes. And, if his letters and phone calls to Betty are legit, he's attempting to cleanse Riverdale of sin and sinners, motivated by her speech at the town's 75th Anniversary Jubilee – an event he claims to have attended. He also claims that he and Betty have a special connection, one might have unwittingly made her both his primary target and the unwitting instigator of his master plan.

With all of that to consider, we decided to take a stab at the real identity – or identities – of Riverdale's Black Hood killer.

riverdale hal cooper
The CW

Hal Cooper

Of all the possible Black Hood candidates, Hal seems the most obvious. He's been sidelined for much of the season, which is always suspicious, and his relation to Betty means that he'd for sure know about the Nancy Drew book The Hood used to create the cipher he delivered to her. He was at the Jubilee, is a middle-aged white man, and, as we learned last season, is also part Blossom -- making him vulnerable to darker tendencies.

And it doesn't seem too off that Hal might hold a grudge against Alice, who kicked him out of the house last season, and who regards him with little more than sighs and eye-rolls these days. He could have planted the old news story about her Southside Serpent ties as a method of revenge, and might be isolating Betty from her friends to keep her free of trouble. If Hal is the Black Hood, it also makes sense that he keeps highlighting the connection between the two of them.

All of that makes Hal a good candidate for the person calling Betty, but is he actually the Black Hood? That seems way more unlikely. We know from Sheriff Keller that the handwriting on Betty's letter doesn't match the Hood's other notes, meaning there's a decent chance that her stalker and the killer are two different people. Maybe Hal is using the Black Hood to get closer to his daughter and reclaim his power as the Cooper family patriarch. Or maybe he really is out there strangling teachers and shooting teens. He wouldn't be the first Riverdale dad to do so…

riverdale sheriff keller
The CW

Sheriff Keller

Speaking of Riverdale dads, Kevin's sheriff father is starting to look pretty suspicious. Like Hal, he's also a white, middle-aged man with a sturdy build. And as a cop, he has plenty of reasons to loathe the seedy side of the city he keeps trying – and failing – to protect. Perhaps his inability to solve Jason Blossom's murder made him go off the deep end, becoming a demented vigilante of his own making.

But Keller doesn't totally fit the profile. He's had some truly touching scenes with Kevin this season, which would be weird if he was popping off his friends on the side. And Betty's interest in him in the teaser for Episode 7 is probably a major red herring. Then again, who else would be able to sneak into a jail cell to off the Sugar Man, which the Black Hood does at the end of "Death Proof"? His quiet entrance sure looked like an inside job of some sort.

riverdale tall boy
The CW

Tall Boy

F.P. Jones' right-hand Southside Serpent is almost a perfect visual match for what we've seen of the Black Hood so far, right down to the bright green eyes. There's also the little matter of him wearing what looks like the exact same outfit as the killer. If we're basing this totally off of physicality and nothing else, Tall Boy is clearly the most likely candidate.

But what would his motive be? As a Serpent, he's already prone to violence and crime, so unveiling him as the Black Hood would be a little anticlimactic. It would be a hit to Jughead, who uses Tall Boy as something of a mentor in the absence of his father, but he has no real ties to anyone else.

It's possible he's doing the killing, and just the muscle for a master manipulator who doesn't want to dirty his hands. Is Tall Boy being paid handsomely to carry out the violent order of a shadowy benefactor? Who could possibly have enough power and influence to make a man murder on his behalf?

hiram lodge riverdale
The CW

Hiram Lodge

Veronica's dad is back in the fold after his release from prison, and he's already up to tons of shady business. He secretly bought Pop's, built a new development atop the old drive-in, and is slowly, and silently, tightening his grasp on the city of Riverdale. All last season, we saw Hiram secretly hiring people to do his dirty work. There's almost no doubt that he's still playing the same old games, and after what seems like an organized hit on the St. Clair family, it's clear that the Lodges will go to extreme lengths to meet their needs.

Still, Hiram seems likelier to be Betty's phone stalker than the actual Black Hood. What reason would he have for shooting Fred Andrews, the man who built his SoDale development? Does he even know who Miss Grundy is? Those attacks feel personal and motivated, and Hiram doesn't really fit the bill for a vendetta-driven agent of chaos. He's too sleek and too smart to be so messy and superficial.

penelope blossom riverdale
The CW

Penelope Blossom

One person who does have personal ties to all of the Black Hood's victims is Penelope Blossom, Jason and Cheryl's mom and Clifford's widow. Think about it: Miss Grundy was Jason's music teacher, and given her pattern of preying on male students, may have had a sexual relationship with him. Moose, Midge, and the Sugar Man were all tied up in the same drug business that her husband was (Moose and Midge as users, the Sugar Man as the dealer). Fred Andrews had beef with the Blossoms after they stole his work crew and tried to ruin his construction business. Could Penelope – spiteful after the loss of her son, husband, and home – have hired a hitman to knock out anyone in Riverdale spiting the memory of her dead loved ones?

Chic Cooper

This one may seem random, but hear us out. Betty's mysterious brother is a fixture in the Archie digests, and relative newcomer Hart Denton has been officially cast in the role, so he's showing up. We don't know much about Chic other than Alice had him as a teenager and gave him up for adoption. We don't even know if Hal is his real dad; F.P. Jones implied there was more to the situation than meets the eye, and Alice's Serpent ties complicate the timeline.

Maybe Chic is the son of a Serpent, or was adopted out to one, and has been lurking on the Southside this whole time, waiting for a moment to strike the cookie-cutter family he never got to have. It would be a helluva way to introduce another Cooper kid, all of whom have their baggage (Betty has some dark mental stuff going on and Polly is, in her own words, "pregnant with my cousin's babies").

It's a cool thing to ponder... but maybe a little cheap. As with Hiram, Chic would have no known reason to pick off these specific victims, and it would be a lot to shoe-horn into his eventual introduction. Again, if anything, he's the one calling Betty, not the one killing music teachers and drug dealers.

So who could it be? It's still too early to tell, and after going through the list, we're thinking this one might not be a clear-cut case of a single baddie easily snuffed.

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Lindsey Romain is a writer and editor living in Chicago. She covers politics for Teen Vogue and has also appeared in Vulture, Birth.Movies.Death, and more. Follow her on Twitter @lindseyromain.