Sharper Ending, Explained: How Did Tom Con Madeline?

Apple TV+’s ‘Sharper’ follows the story of a group of characters whose lives get entangled in a web of lies and deceit. Divided into chapters that follow the perspectives of different characters, the film reveals that no one is what they seem. It forces the audience to pay attention to detail and figure out what every twist means for the fate of the characters. By the end, the entire series of events gets so convoluted and mixed up that it might get a little tricky to figure out who got conned in the end and who won. Here we break down that shocking ending. SPOILERS AHEAD!

Sharper Plot Synopsis

Tom runs a quiet bookstore in New York. After the death of his mother, he has remained closed off from the world. But when Sandra walks into the store, he is besotted. They click immediately and a date turns into the beginning of a good relationship. They share their troubled pasts with one another and Tom discovers that Sandra’s brother Jason has fallen in with the bad people. Sandra needs to pay them off or they will come for her. But she doesn’t have that money.

Tom reveals that he is actually the son of a billionaire and can help Sandra out with the few hundred thousand dollars she needs. They decide to meet up after Sandra has given them the money. However, she never comes back. Her sudden disappearance makes it clear that Tom has been conned. When the story shifts to Sandra’s perspective, we discover that she was trained by a man named Max to con money out of Tom.

Later, it turns out that Max is running a con with Madeline, who gets married to Tom’s billionaire father, Richard. The con on Tom was to prove him reckless and not serious with the money. Hence, Richard gives over most of his inheritance to Madeline, leaving Tom just enough to get by. For a moment, it looks like Madeline’s plan has succeeded. But then, Sandra comes back and the whole thing falls apart.

Sharper Ending: How Does Tom Get His Inheritance Back From Madeline?

The reason that Tom was pushed out of his inheritance was that he proved himself incapable of making smart decisions. He gave away $350,000 to a woman that he barely knew. This shook his father’s confidence in him. For Tom, however, it was not about the money. It was about the fact that Sandra broke his trust. He isn’t able to let that go, so he brings in a PI that his father used to employ to find things that no one could.

They find Sandra, who has seemingly fallen back into her drug addiction. When she is brought home, Madeline becomes nervous about the truth coming out. Sandra promises not to reveal her role in it in return for finding Max. Madeline contacts Max and they meet in a parking lot where Sandra confronts him. A few minutes later, Tom and the PI show up. It turns out that the PI had been following Sandra and Madeline and this was to prove to Tom that they were riffing with him together.

Tom becomes distraught by the revelation and tries to kill Sandra and Madeline. In all of it, Tom is shot and bleeds out on the spot. The PI and Sandra try to call the cops, but Madeline asks them not to. She promises to return the inheritance to Richard’s Foundation. As soon as that happens, the PI drives off, and Sandra, Max, and Madeline are put on a plane to leave New York forever. Max and Madeline start talking about the money and she reveals that the money in the foundation should have gone to Tom. But because he is dead and she is the trustee, the money is still hers.

Sandra is disgusted by the fact that they are still thinking about the money and not about Tom’s death. She goes to the washroom on the plane, and that’s when Madeline notices that Tom’s blood on her hand is not actually blood. It is something else, which means that Tom didn’t really die. They realize that Sandra is not on the plane anymore and this is when they realize that Sandra and Tom had conned them.

How Did Tom and Sandra Con Madeline and Max?

When Max brought Sandra under his wing, he taught her never to feel guilty about conning other people because their victims were usually not innocent. This was true in the case of the man that she had to seduce as her first con, but things weren’t the same with Tom. While spending time with him, she realized that he was an innocent person who lost everything because of being duped by her. When the con was done, she and Max went their separate ways. But when Sandra read about Richard’s death in the newspaper and realized that he was Tom’s father, she felt guilty for what she’d done.

To set things right, Sandra comes back to Tom and tells him everything about Max and Madeline’s plan. By then, the inheritance has already gone to his stepmother. To get it back, they’ll need to con her, but it’s not so easy. So, they seek help from Tipsy, a con artist who had previously worked with Max and Madeline but never received the cut that he deserved. He introduces Tom and Sandra to Goldie, who also has his own team of conmen.

It is Goldie and his men who play the role of the PI. Sandra fakes getting hooked on drugs and makes her withdrawal look realistic. What happens after she is brought to Tom’s house was intricately planned until the moment that Tom gets shot. We discover that they had practiced that scene a number of times. So, when Sandra pushes the gun out of Tom’s hands, it was pre-meditated. They wanted Madeline to pick up the gun so that it would look like she was the one who shot Tom.

Conning money out of people was one thing, but killing someone wasn’t something that Madeline could get away with. It was the fear of spending the rest of her life in prison that got her to forego the inheritance. Once that happened, she and Max were let go and Tom returned to his life.

What Happens to Madeline and Max?

Madeline’s main con was to get Richard’s inheritance to her name. He was old and sick and she knew that he would die soon enough. To get Tom out of the inheritance, she used Max and Sandra to con him, and her plan worked. But then, Sandra came back and Madeline got scared that her real nature would be revealed and she would end up in prison. Believing that Sandra is lovestruck by Max, she called him and they met up which is when the final showdown happened.

Madeline hadn’t planned to kill Tom but when he died, she needed to get herself out of that pickle. To make it look like she wanted to set things right, she offered to give her entire inheritance to Richard’s foundation. But even then, she was improvising. The foundation was supposed to go to Tom and Madeline was made its trustee. With Tom dead, she knew that the money would still solely be hers. So, she played along.

But then, on the plane, she realizes that Tom was never shot, and he and Sandra had conned her and Max. Now, however, everything is out of her grasp. She can’t go back to New York and will have to continue her criminal activities somewhere else. There is nothing that can be done about it now, no game that she can play to get even a single penny out of the billions of dollars she had. After the betrayal that Max faced at her hands, it remains unclear whether he would want to continue playing cons with her. But then, he did return to con Tom when Madeline asked him to. It looks like he is still devoted to her, and we can assume that they will take their business elsewhere.

Do Tom and Sandra End Up Together?

Both Tom and Sandra had been going through a rough time when they met each other. This was one of the reasons why they connected with each other, even when Sandra was supposed to be faking it with him. However, wasn’t motivated to con Tom in the same way as Max and Madeline. They made it clear that they were all about money and didn’t really care about each other either. Sandra, on the other hand, didn’t want to ruin the life of an innocent person. This inherently made her better than the duo, which is why she came back to help Tom get his inheritance back.

In the end, when she and Tom’s con has succeeded and they have defeated Max and Madeline, Tom and Sandra end up at the bookstore again. Here, they replay the conversation they had the first time they met, but this time, it is Sandra who asks Tom out to dinner. It is clear that Tom has forgiven her for duping her the first time around. There is surely a spark between them, but Tom can’t simply forget that Sandra had conned him. In time, perhaps, they might rekindle the romance. For now, however, it looks like they will at least remain good friends.

Read More: Where Was Sharper Filmed?