Insomnia (movie) question - spoiler

I just recently saw the movie and I still dont understand how the ending made any sense.

How can the bullet found by Ellie Burr (Hillary Swank) be traced to Will Dormer (Pacino)??

The bullet that was fired (and found) came from Finch’s gun, so how could have Burr known Pacino was lying? What did I miss?

I don’t think it was a bullet. I think it was a casing from Dormer’s backup gun. I thiink that the place she found the casing shows where he was standing when he fired, hitting his partner. This told Ellie that the bullet was NOT fired by Finch from down near the water, as Dormer claimed, but was fired by Dormer from where he said he was standing when his partner was shot.

AUUGH . . . my memory is fading as I attempt to access this, and now that I think of it, if the above is correct, why would she want to throw the casing away? She could have just said she found it somewhere else.

You’re correct, it was the casing from the shot fired by Pacino from his backup gun.

There probably wouldn’t be enough there for convict Pacino for anything, unless the gun was turned over by Pacino (more likely considering the end) but it was enough for Swank to start doubting the story; combined with the fact that she knew he carried that type of gun as backup, she was able to figure out he had fired a weapon and the only reason to lie would be if he had shot his partner.

It wouldn’t have been enough, by itself. But the IA cop (can’t remember his name) was busy digging up dirt on him, and Pacino’s character was doubting his own motivations for shooting. I think it would have been just enough to ruin whatever life he had left.