Created by J Blakeson, ‘Culprits’ is a heist thriller series, now streaming on Hulu. It is based on a book – ‘Culprits: The Heist Was Just the Beginning’ edited by Richard Brewer and Gary Phillips. The series stars Nathan Stewart-Jarrett in the lead as Joe/David, who becomes part of an assembled team for a heist. After a while, post their failed mission, the crew members find themselves getting killed one by one. While the show packs a punch with compelling action set-pieces, it also presents a revenge thriller that is rooted in socio-economic concerns. Besides, Stewart-Jarett, it also stars Gemma Arterton, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Niamh Algar, Kamel El Basha, and Tara Abboud in the central roles.

Spoilers ahead.

Culprits (Season 1) Recap:

What is ‘Culprits’ on Hulu about?

J Blakeson’s ‘Culprits’ follows a heist-gone-wrong narrative while exploring the themes of socio-economic inequality, class disparity, and racial prejudice. Starring Nathan Stewart-Jarrett in the central role, it tells the story of a gay, black man with a questionable past – striving to have a better future for his partner and their children. The show presents the stories of other heist crew members who come from different parts of the world. 

Who is Joe, and how does he get involved in a heist?

Joe Petrus (Nathan Stewart-Jarett) is a former bodyguard who lives in the US with his partner Jules Burner (Kevin Vidal) and his two children – Frankie (Maria Nash) and Bud (Baeyen Hoffman). Jules had two kids through his previous marriage. During an encounter with Joe in a bar, they struck a chord and began their relationship. At present, Joe plans to start a business at a store lot. However, it becomes harder for him because of the racist parties on the other side. While building a relationship with Jules and his family, Joe hides some dark secrets from his past.

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On the other hand, we see Joe bump into Fixer (Karl Collins), who forces him to meet his boss – Dianne Harewood (Gemma Arterton). Joe had heard of Dianne’s reputation as a criminal mastermind. So, he eventually meets her. She offers him a chance to be a part of a heist with a huge payoff. However, to partake, he must leave his present life, change his identity, and disappear for good. While he takes his time to think it over, Anton Irving (Tom Mothersdale) meets him in his gym to question him about his meeting with Diane. But Joe reveals no details. Later on, he learns that Irving is not a cop, but a former military man, who has been a long-time accomplice of Dianne. Dianne sent him to confirm that she could trust Joe. Ultimately, Joe agrees to be a part of the heist. 

What was the heist about? Besides Joe, who was part of the heist?

For the heist, Dianne brings up a team of trustworthy experts from different walks of life. They all are meant to know each other not by their actual identity but by their given names. Joe is Muscle. Dianne is Brain. The con artist is called Officer (Kirby Howell-Baptiste), assassin Inga Beatrice is called Specialist (Niamh Algar), former stunt driver Marcello Bari (Vincent Riotta) is Driver, Anton is Right hand, explosives expert Robert Yates is Fuse (Mark Field), then there’s Soldier (Laura Morgan). 

To go past the security lock and open the vault, Dianne decides to contact Malek Mizouni (Uriel Emil). But he refuses to engage in this unlawful activity and says he is past such things. However, his father – Youssef (Kamel El Basha), overhears the conversation and offers his services. Since Youssef is quite old for this risky work, Dianne expects his granddaughter and protégé Azar (Tara Abboud) to be a part of their mission. Youssef opposes this decision. Still, Azar agrees to be a part of the heist.

What happens during the heist?

During the heist, Officer stays outside while others break into a facility. While opening the vault, Azar ends up getting her hand caught up in the structure. So, if someone needs to go past, her finger will get cut. Her grandfather, Youssef, tries to prevent her from hurting herself for the mission. But Azar decides to go along with it. Eventually, Anton opens the vault and goes past it while Joe takes care of wounded Azar. Anton soon realizes that Dianne has a different plan altogether for the heist. He feels betrayed and asks her upfront. 

At the moment, Dianne offers a cut of the money to him. But, the next moment, she calls Fixer and tells him to take care of Right Hand. Once Anton gets in the car, he gets shot – which shocks Azar and Youssef. They wait for Joe to enter the car – to realize he is delaying the process by waiting for Officer, who got injured by the facility’s security team. Youssef wants Azar to save herself from the police. So, he expects her to drive the car away immediately. She waits to witness Dianne getting bombed right outside the building. So, ultimately, she decides to flee. 

What happens after the heist fails?

After the heist fails, Azar and Youssef travel and stay in another European country. Specialist lays low by moving to a desolate location – hoping no one to find her. Right after the heist, Joe helps the Officer heal from her injuries. But the Officer understands the risk he is putting himself into for her. So, she offers help from her credible sources for him to leave the country. With that help, Joe travels to the US and restarts his life. One night, he leaves home to retrieve his package. On the way, he gets caught up in a hit-and-run accident between two other cars. 

One of the drivers just runs away instead of taking responsibility. So, Joe needs to deal with the police investigation. He tells the police about the license plate of the person who drove away. The white, racist cop treats him poorly and makes him feel inferior for being a black man. Later on, this incident catches up with him. The person in question – Kyle Bedrosian (Morgan Kelly), is a developer and councilman with a lot of influence in their town. So, he threatens Joe to take back his testimony. Eventually, Joe shows Kyle his place by hurting the men he hired to hurt Joe. 

What makes Joe decide to leave his peaceful life?

A still from Culprits (Season 1).
A still from Culprits (Season 1).

Joe starts learning about the deaths of crew members from the heist. Doctor (Amara Karan) gets killed by a masked assassin – Devil (Ned Dennehy), who wants to know Dianne’s location. That’s what makes Joe uproot his life and travel to England immediately. Before leaving, he comes clean to Jules about a part of his past. He reveals that he is actually English and had to change his name and identity to move away. Joe wants Jules to be ready with his and his kids’ alternate identities in case of any risk. Jules hates that Joe expects such a thing from him. He warns Joe to take care of the matter so that his kids won’t suffer. 

While Joe travels to England, Officer gets attacked by Devil. She saves herself from getting killed and travels to meet Inga. Officer tells her how the crew members are getting killed one by one. Although Officer does not trust her, she goes to London with her. That’s where they both meet Joe. During their meeting, his old friend bumps into him and calls him David. Joe/David tries to steer away from the conversation. But that was enough for Inga to lose her trust. While she leaves their company, David and Officer decide to go meet Azar to warn her about Devil. What Joe does not know is that Officer agrees to help Devil to save herself.

What happens when Joe/David meet Azar?

David and Officer manage to find Azar’s location and decide to go meet her. By then, Azar had already seen them in her town. So, she returns home to alert her grandfather – and to leave immediately. But David and Officer reached there before that could happen. He tries to calm down Azar by telling their motive for the visit. By the time he can finish, Devil begins to shoot them from the outside. They all try to fight back but fail at it. Eventually, Devil burns Youssef’s body alive, and Azar has to witness this traumatizing scene. 

Suddenly, Inga arrives there to save all of them from Devil. By then, David also learns about Officer’s secret (that she was working with Devil). So, they keep her hands tied and decide to find a way to fight against Devil. Eventually, Devil himself reaches their location and fights with Inga. He hurts her badly and ends up killing her. But Azar and David manage to fight back and lock up Devil in handcuffs. After that, they learn that Diane’s not dead and she is not behind the attacks. David takes Devil’s life. But by then, Devil had made arrangements to hurt Jules and his kids. So, Joe told Jules to drive away to Canada. 

Culprits (Season 1) Ending Explained:

Why did Dianne plan the heist?

Joe/David gets kidnapped by the pawns of a billionaire businessman Vincent Hawkes (Eddie Izzard). He understands David’s expert skills and asks him to work for him against Dianne. So, Vincent wants David to get the key for a particular lock. In exchange, he agrees to ensure Jules and his kids’ safety. David sees no other option but to accept the offer. But upon meeting Dianne, he realizes her actual purpose behind the heist. In the past, Vincent’s company had come up with faulty cars. Even though Vincent learned about it, he refused to take responsibility. 

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Because of his cruelty and an absolute lack of concern, one of Dianne’s close relatives passed away. So, the heist was a way for Dianne to seek revenge. After hearing this story, David decides to help her against Vincent. He brings both Azar and Officer back to help on this mission. Finally, when they reach the end of this job, David flips on Dianne and sides with Vincent – for the safety of his family. Moments later, David pulls another twist by killing Vincent’s ambitions and offering Dianne the revenge she always sought. But this does not end there. After hurting Vincent, he does not let Dianne have the money. He ends the only source that can connect her to it. 

Why does Azar shoot Officer in the end?

While walking out of the room, David and Officer have a light-hearted conversation. But it gets interrupted right when Azar decides to shoot her. Because Officer joined hands with Devil, he could reach Azar’s house and kill her grandfather. So, she shoots Officer as an act of revenge. After this bloodbath, Azar starts working with Dianne. On the other hand, David finds it difficult to go back to his life as Joe. He does not wish to put Jules and the kids from another one of these traumatizing episodes.

Read More: Everything Coming to Hulu in December 2023

Culrptis (Season 1) Show Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes
The Cast of Culrptis (Season 1) Show: Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Kirby, Kevin Vidal, Gemma Arterton, Niamh Algar
Culrptis (Season 1) Show Genre: Comedy, Crime, Thriller | Runtime: 8 Episodes
Where to watch Culprits

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