Scott Frank, who created the hit miniseries “The Queen’s Gambit,” is back with an intriguing neo-noir series, “Monsieur Spade.” Frank, along with fellow showrunner, Tom Fontana, chose the iconic gumshoe Samuel Spade from Dashiell Hammett’s “The Maltese Falcon” novel. The 1941 film adaptation with the same name became a noir classic with Humphrey Bogart immortalizing the detective.

Frank and Fontana try to extrapolate on the “The Maltese Falcon” story with a clever connection to the original and an understatedly good Clive Owen. Owen’s semi-retired, French-living Spade makes up for an intriguing first episode for the AMC series. It takes time to accommodate the city-centric Noir detective into an idyllic French village. But Clive Owen and the episode climax would make the audience thoroughly looking forward to the next episode.

Monsieur Spade Episode 1 Recap:

The Connection with “The Maltese Falcon”

It has been a few years since the event of “The Maltese Falcon.” Just in case you need a refresher, charismatic American private investigator Sam Spade embarked on a case that started with the death of his partner. It was Brigid O’Shaughnessy who had brought the case to Spade and his partner. During that case, chasing the “Maltese Falcon,” he and O’Shaughnessy would become close. However, in the end, it would be revealed that it was O’Shaughnessy who killed Spade’s partner. He eventually handed her over to the police.

O’Shaughnessy, while serving a life sentence, would develop a terminal disease. Spade, using his connections, would get her out on parole after her second year of imprisonment. However, it would later be revealed that the disease was not as life-threatening as it was thought to be. O’Shaughnessy would take her first chance out of America. But, her freedom was short-lived as she would seem to die in an accident in Istanbul.

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The Beginning of Monsieur Spade

O’Shaughnessy’s death would soon prove to be a challenging enterprise for Spade (Clive Owen). It would appear that she left a task for the mercurial detective. Spade must rescue her daughter from Istanbul and take her to her father. A man named Philippe Saint Andre. Spade did what he was asked. He takes the girl, Teresa (Cara Bossom), to the French village of Bozouls. But the Saint Andre household, consisting of matriarch Audrey and her lost son, Philippe, was not welcoming to either him or the child. The local police super, Patrice (Denis Menochet), was not interested in helping Spade and warned him not to look for someone like Philippe.

When it seemed Spade would leave Bozouls without achieving his task, he would meet the enigmatic vineyard owner, Gabrielle (Chiara Mastroianni). It would almost be like love at first sight for Spade. The attraction was immediate, and they got married. Thus, the San Francisco-based gumshoe became an enjoyer of the quaint life of a French village.

The Return of Philippe Saint Andre

Eight years have passed since Spade’s meet-cute with Gabrielle. And tragedy has befallen Spade as he is now a widower. We see him visit the grave of Gabrielle. We get to know that Spade enrolled young Teresa in a convent school. He often visits her, and everyone at the convent knows him. Spade appears to live the retired life at the lavish villa, that is passed to him from his wife. However, the peace is soon broken as he learns that Philippe has suddenly started to communicate with Teresa. Phillipe’s letters have recently been delivered to her, and Grandma Audrey has shown signs of becoming quite giving towards Teresa.

This is not the only bad news for Spade, as he also learns from his doctor that he has emphysema. Meaning he has to quit smoking or risk dying. Spade also receives a warning from local drunk Jean-Pierre Devereaux (Stanley Weber). Jean-Pierre and his wife, Marguerite (Louise Bourgoin) are co-owners of the local pub where Spade has half ownership. Jean-Pierre is under the impression that Spade is having an affair with Marguerite.

Monsieur Spade Episode 1 Ending Explained:

Why Is Philippe Coming Back for Teresa?

Monsieur Spade Episode 1 Recap & Ending Explained
A still from Monsieur Spade Episode 1

As Spade tells the Mother Superior in Teresa’s convent, Philippe is not someone who has shown any signs of care towards his daughter. Neither has Philippe’s mother, Audrey. However, O’Shaughnessy, Teresa’s mother, did love Teresa. As per Spade’s knowledge, O’Shaughnessy and Phillippe garnered a significant amount of wealth when they were operating in Istanbul. If “The Maltese Falcon” is anything to go by, O’Shaughnessy is capable of stealing artifacts that would be worth millions of dollars.

It is needless to say that Teresa’s parents have a significant wealth, however ill-gotten that might be. O’Shaughnessy put this wealth in a trust fund that is under the name of Teresa. Teresa will be inheriting that when she comes of age. This is the primary reason Philippe seems to have sprung into Teresa’s life, as she is soon to become an adult.

What is Sam’s History with Philippe?

Apart from Teresa’s father, who refused to be a part of Teresa’s life, Sam also has another connection with Philippe. Another reason Philippe would love to come back to Bozouls is revenge. When Spade met Gabrielle, she confessed to being blackmailed by Philippe. Gabrielle, who had been married before was harboring a secret regarding her ex-husband. With Gabrielle’s insistence, Spade arranged for Philippe’s participation in the War. Thus throwing him into a life that he did not want.

Is Teresa Truly on the Side of Sam?

It is difficult to read Teresa and Spade’s relationship now. There is no doubt that Spade has grown fond of her. It probably is not an exaggeration to say Spade thinks of himself as her father. However, Teresa knows that both her mother and father were sent to prison due to the involvement of Sam Spade. After coming back, Philippe places a call to Spade. During the conversations, threats were exchanged through the phone. Things turn ugly when Spade hears a gunshot sound at Philippe’s end. Spade immediately informs the police. But Patrice mostly ignores that as his perpetual motto of not getting involved with anything Philippe is still quite prevalent in his life. Later that night, Teresa comes to Spade’s house with her father’s blood on her clothes.

Who Killed the Nuns?

Teresa tells Spade that Philippe came to see her, all bloody from his gunshot wound. Although Spade mentioned that Philippe did nothing but endanger her as well, Teresa was quite adamant. There seems to be a love for Philippe on Teresa’s part. Teresa mentions that she does not know who shot her father. Philippe was only able to tell her that ‘very dangerous men’ were after him.

Teresa mentions that the hooded monk, whom we have seen interrupting Spade and Patrice’s breakfast conversation, has come around after Philippe left. That monk also created a ruckus and hit the Mother Superior with the cane. Spade visits the convent and finds young girls locked in one room. They seem to be safe, and they mentioned Teresa has the keys. As Spade searches more, he stumbles upon a shocking scene.

The nuns of the convent, all six of them including Mother Superior, are brutally killed by someone. As the show ends with the image of the six dead bodies of the nuns, we begin to wonder about the killer. Is it the mysteriously hooded monk who hardly seems to be a monk? Is it Philippe, maybe with some help from Teresa? Despite not wanting to think of Teresa as a criminal, she could lie to Spade as her mother did during the Maltese Falcon case. It seems Monsieur Spade would have to come out of the peaceful retirement and comb the French countryside now.

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Monsieur Spade Episode 1 Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Wikipedia
The Cast of Monsieur Spade Episode 1: Clive Owen, Cara Bossom, Rebecca Root, and Chiara Mastroianni
Monsieur Spade Episode 1 Genre: Neo-noir, crime drama, mystery, period drama | Runtime: 6 Episode
Where to watch Monsieur Spade

High On Films in collaboration with Avanté

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