Monsieur Spade Season 1 Ending, Explained: What Happens to Zaid?

From the brilliant minds of directors Scott Frank and Tom Fontana comes the phenomenal tale of intrigue, wit, and good old-fashioned mystery, ‘Monsieur Spade.’ The series seeks to dazzle its audience with an absorbing narrative accompanied by unexpected twists and turns bound to keep each viewer coming back for more. Set in the quaint little town of Bozouls, France, the protagonist and master investigator, Samuel Spade, finds himself and the people in the town entangled in a web of secrets and enigmas.

Season 1 of the noir-mystery series has six solid episodes of mesmerizing crime, drama, and unpredictable happenings one wouldn’t see coming. Packed in a period-style package, ‘Monsieur Spade’ unearths various themes of deceit, conspiracy, and even elements of fantasy. While ‘Monsieur Spade’ uses its premise and meticulous narrative to answer most queries it presents throughout its runtime, some questions remain. SPOILERS AHEAD

Monsieur Spade Season 1 Plot Synopsis

Samuel Spade is a hardened private investigator whose talents have brought him to the small town of Bozouls, France. He is tasked with delivering a girl, Teresa, to her father but is unable to find him. Spade eventually meets a wealthy vineyard owner and falls in love. He takes care of the girl, admitting her into an orphanage, and provides generous money to support the establishment. Years later, after the death of his wealthy wife, he inherits all her property and decides to retire with the grief left behind by her death.

Things change when the reported father of Teresa returns and brings along with him a slew of interlinked mysteries that Spade unearths gradually. Caught in between the crosshairs of government intelligence, rebel propaganda, and religious fanaticism, Spade seeks to find a way out of the mess. Through this journey, his bond is strengthened with Teresa as she voyages through adolescence and self-realization.

The finale is a crescendo of everything picked up through the journey of the previous episodes, ending in a classic showdown. Its penultimate scene conjures a familiar setting reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot- an interrogation of sorts inclusive of all representatives from important parties. It also introduces an important new character who holds the sovereign chair in this meeting, an official of the UN who dictates the order. It ends with each party dismissed and the boy taken away by the official’s crew.

Right at the end, we see a glimpse of a retired Spade, who puts away his iconic hat and attire, seemingly never to be touched again. While this certainly doesn’t mean he won’t come back, there is a firm chance he wouldn’t want to after the fiasco that just took place. ‘Monsieur Spade’ turns the cogs in its viewers’ minds, asking them to stick around because once they get a taste, they’ll keep coming back.

Is Zaid Safe?

Zaid, a mysterious boy whose character is made to be most alluring, is heavily featured throughout the series possessing incredible traits of intelligence and ability. The boy, of Algerian descent, is being hunted by various parties, some of whom are top-secret government details. While the French and British intelligence are both in line, others follow suit each having their own plans of infiltrating the town and capturing the boy. Their motive? To use the boy’s crafts for their benefit.

Local Algerians, including the Muslim Imam, claim that the boy might be what they refer to as the Mahdi, who appears only during the end of times. The Mahdi is said to be a descendant of the Prophet Mohammed and is brought to the world to rid it of evil and injustice. To the others, the boy is a cryptography tool, able to figure out the most complex codes and construct near-impossible-to-decipher ones. This is visually represented by the scribblings that Zaid leaves behind wherever he stays.

Apart from the French, British, CIA, and KGB, who are all looking for the boy, the authorities at the Vatican are also in the chase. The cardinals believe that the boy can mathematically prove the existence of God. Hence, he is also a top priority for them, so much so they would kill for any information about the boy. In the midst of all this is Philippe Saint-Andre, who is also looking for Zaid but only seeks to be a broker of sorts and will sell the boy to the highest bidder.

In the last episode, a showdown occurs between all parties, but ultimately, the boy is whisked away by Spade and Teresa. We then walk into the final segment, where we’re introduced to a new affiliate, Virginia Dell, who works with the UN. She appears to hold all the authority within the forum of officials and suspects that she’s assembled in the final few minutes of the episode. As she dismisses everyone in the room, her eyes fall on Zaid, who follows her after she whistles the tune ‘Colonel Bogey March,’ which appears to be used to call Zaid. Dell takes Zaid away, and the episode ends with a small visual representation of Spade finally retiring.

While the finale doesn’t provide any answers to what eventually happens to Zaid, we, as viewers, can most definitely speculate. Apart from the fact that the episode showed Zaid in UN custody, we may ponder that Zaid’s fate still isn’t safe. Throughout the series, it is made clear that Zaid is very important to several countries’ intelligence agencies, and they aren’t going to give up Zaid that easily. According to the MI6, the UN has no jurisdiction; the French and CIA also have the same stance.

As Dell dismisses each official, it’s quite evident that they all support the idea their organizations will pursue the boy further through whatever means necessary, legitimate or illegitimate. Using this perspective, we can claim that Zaid is by no means safe with the UN. The film is set in the sixties, and the UN during that period was going through numerous changes, especially as countries were decolonizing and the Cold War began. The UN might not have noticed if Zaid had just disappeared from their custody one day.

Not to mention, the Vatican cardinals and Muslim religious leaders would also pursue this child through their own means and for their own agendas. Apart from this, there are underground freelancers, like Philippe Saint-Andre, who could use the acquisition of Zaid as a means to earn some big bucks. It’s very safe to say that Zaid would have been in big trouble. However, the reality of the finale remains open-ended.

The UN could have very well taken him in, given him a new identity, and sent him back home to Algeria, where he would have the privilege of being a boy instead of a means to an end for others. The bottom line is that Zaid is an asset of immense value and will only be free when his pursuers look at him as a boy rather than an acquisition. The only people who look at him as a boy are Teresa and Spade.

The inclusion of Zaid paints a picture of how humanity is sometimes lost in appropriating patriotism, belief, greed, and a sense of nationality. The fact that most of them, other than Dell, Spade, and Teresa, forgot that they were dealing with a child is what makes Zaid phenomenally important to the plot. Whether he had a decent upbringing or was perpetually on the run is yet to be seen. We might know more if there is a second season. However, for now, we know Zaid is not safe, and the only way he will be is if the world remembers that he’s just a boy.

Is Teresa Spade’s daughter?

Towards the end of the series, viewers are provided a note to ponder, an inclusion of a new scenario. What if Teresa was Spade’s daughter all along? The answer to this, however, has been implied yet not confirmed. Through Spade’s knowledge, Teresa’s age was first revealed to be just four years old. During the events of the series, we see her grow up into a 15-year-old teenager. This is when things start to unfold. Philippe Saint-Andre returns, and with him, a series of calamitous events.

While all of this is happening, Teresa’s age is still presumed to be 15, just as anyone would think, as per Spade’s knowledge. However, a new perspective is provided by Marguerite Devereaux in one of the later episodes of the series. Spade has just walked away from impending doom as he is coaxed by his own wits and the appearance of another mysterious person’s presence from entering Philippe Saint-Andre’s hideout. He takes Teresa to the local bar owned by Marguerite Devereaux.

Here, Marguerite tries to act as the voice of reason, parlaying with Spade about Teresa’s true age. Marguerite says that Spade should act more like a father figure to her, but he isn’t having any of it. According to Spade, she is the same 14-year-old, but Marguerite sees her as much older. She explains that no 14-year-old would act the way Teresa does. This includes the way she appears to have a budding romance with Henri, housekeeper Helena’s grandson, and her reasoning beyond her presumed age. She could easily be older, maybe even 17 or 18, she tells Spade.

Marguerite also cooks up a scenario of her birth, explaining that Brigid, Teresa’s mother, could have withheld information about her birth from him. Apart from this, she talks about how it is plausible to believe that after Spade helped Brigid get out of prison, they must have had relations through which Teresa was conceived. However, Spade never sees Brigid again and never really expects this outcome. This conversation, though, isn’t as convincing as what happens in the finale.

Right at the end, Dell, the UN official, lays out the facts for each of the representatives from the various groups that want Zaid. Here, Teresa reveals that her true age is 17, not 14, as opposed to what every single character thought. This is, in turn, a clear indication that Teresa is actually Spade’s daughter. According to the timeline, Brigid and Spade had relations after she was released from prison before going to Istanbul, where she met Philippe Saint-Andre.

Philippe Saint-Andre was not Teresa’s father this entire time, it was actually Spade. Now, of course, just the revealing of an age doesn’t necessarily confirm it, but the series implies that Spade is the father. The show even concludes on a good note when Spade tells Teresa to call him Sam instead of Mr. Spade. This is an indication that Spade realizes that Teresa has been his daughter all along, and it’s just that the facts had been hidden from him.

Who is Virginia Dell?

Towards the end of the finale, we are introduced to a new character who seems to have authority over everything. Virginia Dell, played by Alfre Woodard, is a retired Lieutenant Colonel and the undersecretary of the UN’s Peace and Conflict Resolutions who shows up and takes the chair of sovereignty. She’s first introduced at the end of the showdown at the bridge. Dell requests the presence of everyone involved with the child in a room and confronts all of them. She exposes each person’s secret and affiliation in a grand reveal.

This is a clear indication that Dell is very well connected at the highest levels, which allows her clearance to investigate each person’s information. She claims full authority over the child and, in the end, whisks him away to safety. After all, she is affiliated with the UN’s Peace and Conflict Resolutions at the highest levels.

Her inclusion into the narrative serves as a resolution to the overwhelming amount of conflicts that have been building throughout the series. Dell brings a sense of closure to the story and the central clash involving the various parties about the child. Even though her introduction was right at the end and appeared for a very short time, her character is pivotal to completing the series on a good note.

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