‘Maggie Moore(s)’ is a new black comedy crime thriller that premiered at the 2023 Tribeca Film Festival. Starring Jon Hamm, Tina Fey, and Nick Mohammed in the central roles, the film is directed by Hamm’s Mad Men cast mate, John Slattery.

The script, written by Paul Bernbaum, follows two small-town police officers trying to crack a strange case. They find that two women with the same name were murdered within a short span of time.

In case you’re wondering how they investigate the murders and the true story behind the film, keep reading.

Spoilers ahead.

Maggie Moore(s) Movie Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis

What happens in Jon Hamm starrer Maggie Moore(s)? 

The film takes place in a desert town in New Mexico where police chief Jordan Sanders (John Hamm) is required to investigate a bizarre case. One night, he reaches a crime scene to find a woman’s dead body lying on the ground. His associate informs him that the woman’s name is Maggie Moore (Mary Holland). It reads that on her driver’s license. Sanders finds it strange since he recently started investigating the murder of another woman named Maggie Moore (Louisa Krause).

Who is Maggie Moore?

Ten days before the second murder, Jay Moore (Micah Stock) was working at his Castle Subs franchise shop in this small town. Tommy T (Derek Basco) arrives there through his Liberty Bell food truck to deliver expired goods. Jay usually sells these expired, molded products to his customers since he can buy them from Tommy at almost no cost. He says he does it to provide his wife, Maggie, with her desired niceties.

Later, Jay returns home to find Maggie with an envelope filled with little children’s photos. She confronts him about why he has such photos and accuses him of being a pedophile. He tries to explain that he got them for his deal with Tommy T. However, she does not listen to his pleading and kicks him out of the house.

Moore’s neighbor, Rita Grace (Tina Fey), overhears their loud argument and tries getting a peek from her house. Jay goes to the store to confront Tommy. Instead, he gets told to keep his mouth shut.

Maggie Moore(s) Explained - Jon Hamm & Tina Fey
Jon Hamm & Tina Fey in Maggie Moore(s) (2023)

Jay tries getting back with Maggie. But she stays mad at him. He goes to get a massage and whines about his miserable life. He wants to be as successful as Howard Schultz of Starbucks but keeps failing at every attempt. So, after the massage, he calls Tommy to set up a meeting with a man named Kosco (Happy Anderson).

Why does Jay Moore meet Kosco?

Later at night, Jay walks into Kosco’s house and tries to have a dialogue. Kosco points out that he is deaf and asks what Jay needs him to do. Jay reveals that Maggie threatened him file a complaint against him because of the children’s photos. That’s why Jay asks Kosco to ‘scare her off that idea.’

How does Jay Moore learn about another Maggie Moore in the town? 

On his way back, Jay stops by a pharmacy to buy some stuff for himself. Sammi (Oona Roche) works at the counter and is incredibly chatty. She asks him for his royalty member details. He shares the contact number. She checks the store data and finds it registered to Maggie Moore’s name, who lives in Hanover Court. He says they do not live there. Sammi checks again and realizes that two Maggie Moores are registered under that same number. These details hardly matter to him. He just wants to get done with paying for the stuff.

Meanwhile, a widower, Jordan Sanders, attends a writing class to work out his feelings about his past with his ex-wife. He goes on a date with a classmate but keeps finding flaws in her.

The next morning, while discussing it with Deputy Reddy (Nick Mohammed), he accepts that he is still not over his ex-wife’s loss. Reddy, who has recently moved from the UK, keeps making jokes, and Sanders finds them inappropriately timed. The latter keeps bringing up the differences between US and UK humor and pokes fun at how US residents find UK humor odd.

Meanwhile, at Castle Subs, Jay receives a call from a senior Castle Foods officer – Jerry Connor, asking why he has not purchased any inventory in over three months. Jay somehow manages to cut the call before the officer learns about his scam.

Meanwhile, Jay’s employee – Greg (Nicholas Azarian), asks him about a customer’s complaint, who questions him about a molded item. Soon after, Jay goes to Maggie’s diner to meet her. He believes Kosco would have done his job by then, and he could get back in her life. But he learns that she did not show up at the diner at all.

How do Jordan Sanders and Rita Grace meet? 

By then, Sanders and Reddy find Maggie’s car burnt in the desert, with her dead body in the driver’s seat. Later, Sanders reaches Moores’ residence to inform Maggie’s husband about Maggie’s death. Rita walks out of her house and says that Jay is not home. She invites Sanders to join her for a meal. He accepts it and has a brief conversation. He reveals that he is a widower. She reveals that she is divorced.

After the dinner, Sanders goes to the Castle Subs to inform Jay about Maggie’s death. Jay says they had a fight, after which she made him move out. Once Sanders leaves, Jay panics and calls Tommy T to confront him about his wife’s death. He only wanted to intimidate Maggie, not kill her. But Tommy is unconcerned about this issue.

The next morning, Sanders gets a call from Jerry Connor to file a complaint about Jay’s breach of the franchise agreement. Sanders and Reddy try to figure out whether that scam is connected with Maggie’s murder.

Why does Jay Moore ask Kosco to kill Maggie Lee-Moore?

Meanwhile, Jay revisits the pharmacy. Sammi reminds him that there is another person by his wife’s name. After surveilling the other Maggie’s house, he meets Kosco and asks him to murder her. Jay believes it would put the blame on someone else.

On the day of Maggie’s funeral, Jay keeps his store closed. Tommy believes Jay is tricking him. So he goes to the funeral, pulls Jay by his collar, and asks for his money back. Rita sees it from a distance. She also notices Tommy came from a Liberty Bell food delivery truck.

Later that night, Sanders calls Rita and asks her out on a date. She agrees. When they meet, she asks why he did not talk about Maggie’s death when he came to her house. He says he first wanted to tell her next of kin, i.e., her husband.

During their discussion, Maggie mentions details about Tommy’s intimidation during the funeral and the truck. So, Sanders and Reddy bring Tommy to the station. With the proof of children’s photos Jay acquired for him, they arrest him under the charges of a sexual offense.

Meanwhile, Kosco goes ahead with his assigned task. He gets in the back seat of Maggie Lee-Moore’s car to murder her. She manages to sneak out and runs away. She dashes up to the second floor of a motel. Kosco follows her with a gun. Suddenly, she decides to jump down on the ground to save herself. While still alive, Kosco shoots her and takes her blood sugar kit. It had her initials – MLM (Maggie Lee-Moore), written on the top.

Sanders and Reddy find out about Maggie Lee-Moore’s death the next day. They start discussing different possibilities of how it could have played out. They question whether the second or the first murder was a cover.

Later, the two decide to discuss it with Maggie Lee-Moore’s husband, Andy (Christopher Denham). He seems certain that a man named Duane Rich (Tate Ellington) killed her. In the past, Duane kept harassing Maggie with antisemitic remarks since she was Jewish. That’s why Andy is suspicious about his involvement in the murder.

On the other hand, Anthony Carlson (Bryant Carroll) from Castle Foods drops by Jay’s shop and acts like a usual customer. He notices the rotten bread & stale products and confronts him about the breach of contract. Jay asks for sympathy since his wife just died. Eventually, he gets angry and makes Tony leave the store. However, he goes out right outside and bribes him some money for the time being.

Sanders and Reddy meet Duane Rich to question him about his antisemitic remarks toward Maggie. He says he acted like an edgy high-schooler since Maggie did not accept his advances.

Later that night, Sanders meets Rita at the casino where she works. The romantic night eventually ends with them in bed together. But right when they are about to have sex, he backs off. He says he feels guilty about being with someone else besides his wife. Rita starts putting herself down. Sanders does not like that. He tries to make her treat herself better than that. He also confesses not being able to stop thinking about her.

In the middle of their dialogue, they notice Cassie Novak (Bobbi Kitten), a bartender, speaking about her affair with Andy. Sanders and Reddy meet her to ask if she suspects anyone Andy may have hired to kill his wife. She shares more details than they ask for.

Why does Jay Moore ask Kosco to kill Duane Rich?

Andy defends himself, saying Cassie is trying to set him up to get publicity. He tells the reporters to speak with Duane Rich about the murders. Jay hears that news and plans a way out of suspicion. He meets Kosco and hires him again to kill Duane, but to make it look like a suicide. Then, outside his house, he notices Rita. He says the police are pinning Duane for the murders. She calls Sanders to talk about it.

After that, Sanders decides to question Andy extensively about his affair with Cassie. During their discussion, Andy says that he would have never thought of killing Maggie even if he wanted to get out of the marriage.

Later that night, Kosco murders Duane and leaves a note to show that Duane confesses to his crimes. Sanders finds it strange and questions whether they should consider that confession valid. He goes to speak with Rita about it but realizes she has her ex-husband by her place. He walks out and decides to keep his distance from her.

The next day, Sanders and Reddy talk about the blood sugar kit, which wasn’t next to Maggie’s dead body. They meet Andy to see if it is at his house. He notices that it is not in there. But he admits that Maggie would have never left without that kit.

Sanders and Reddy go to Bucklin pharmacy, where Maggie Lee-Moore often goes to purchase the blood sugar test kits. That’s when they realize that Sammy told Jay that there are two Maggies living in their vicinity. Sammy says that Jay had bought prepaid phones from the pharmacy. It makes the officers even more suspicious of Jay’s involvement in both murders.

Meanwhile, Jay’s Castle Subs shop gets closed because of the breach. When Mr. Connors takes that action against him, Greg suddenly leaves his stuff and runs away. Jay suspects Greg robbed him of $600 before with a fake officer’s intimidation.

Maggie Moore(s) Movie Ending Explained

Do Sanders and Reddy find out the culprit behind Maggie Moore(s)’ murders?

Reddy pulls out text records from Jay’s phone. They find many texts from Jay’s phone to an anonymous phone. They meet Tommy to question him about those. In exchange for helping to get out earlier than his sentence, Tommy tells them about a tough, deaf guy – Kosco.

The officers visit Kosco’s house to question him. Kosco opens the door and says his name is Don. He says Kosco is his squatter. During that exchange, Sanders notices a pouch with Maggie Lee-Moore’s initials. While walking back to their car, he tells Reddy that Kosco is the killer. But suddenly, Kosco shoots Reddy dead.

Kosco flees the scene and goes to Jay’s house. He shoots Jay since these murders were pinned back on him. Rita notices it from her house, and Kosco notices her noticing him. She calls Sanders and informs him. He tells her to drive right away. But before she could start driving, Kosco gets in her car’s next seat and pulls a gun on her. While driving away, she takes a courageous step to crash her car into another.

In the finale montage, we see Sanders speaking about the importance of courage in love. While Reddy dies an unfortunate death, Tommy keeps facing battles inside the prison. Andy continues his relationship with Cassie, whereas Greg gets a check as a mega ball prize. Jay’s Castle Subs officially gets shut down.

While Rita fights for her life, Sanders regrets not choosing to be with her before. The film ends with the two in the hospital, holding each other’s hands. The ending tries to tie knots among different kinds of relationships shown throughout the film. It tries to say how the couples not being able to get over their conflicts made them miserable. In the end, Sanders and Rita stay together.

Also, Read: Maggie Moore(s) (2023) Review


Maggie Moore(s) True Story Explained

Is Maggie Moore(s) based on a true story?

Yes. Jon Hamm and Tina Fey starrer mystery thriller – Maggie Moore(s) is ‘loosely’ based on a true story. If you recall the opening titles, it says that ‘some of this actually happened.’

Directed by John Slattery and written by Paul Bernbaum, Maggie Moore(s) is inspired by the real-life murders of two women from Houston – Mary Lou Morris and Mary McGinnis Morris. In the film, the names of two victims are changed to Maggie Moore. Louisa Krause and Mary Holland play the characters.

The film walks a tightrope between darkness and humor and tries to build an engaging mystery thriller. While it does not always succeed in doing so, it entertains largely due to the phenomenal chemistry between Jon Hamm and Tina Fey.

Maggie Moore(s) External link: Rotten Tomatoes
Rating: R (Some Sexual Material|Brief Nudity|Language Throughout|Drug Use|Violence)
Genre: Comedy, Mystery & thriller
Original Language: English
Director: John Slattery
Writer: Paul Bernbaum
Release Date (Theaters): , Limited
Release Date (Streaming): Runtime: Distributor: Screen Media Films
Production Co: Indy Entertainment, Convergent Media., Aperture Media Partners

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