‘Muzzle’ (2023) Ending Explained & Movie Summary: Does Jake Get His Dog Back?

Aaron Eckhart stars in the 2023 crime thriller Muzzle as Jake Rosser, a disgruntled police officer in charge of a K9 dog named Ace. Directed by John Stalberg Jr., the movie runs for 1 hour and 39 minutes and is more-or-less an entertaining watch that explores how people deal with the loss of creatures who are extremely close to them. There aren’t too many movies of this sub-genre, and were it not for a few errors and slightly underwhelming script, this movie would have won many accolades. Here’s a detailed summary and ending of the 2023 crime thriller, Muzzle.


Spoilers Ahead

What Happens To Ace?

Muzzle opens with Officer Jake Rosser driving around the more rundown parts of LA in his car, along with his most trusted companion, Ace, a German shepherd. Jake is a part of the K9 unit, and Ace seems to be his best friend and partner in the line of duty, which explains why he was rambling on about the semantics of the English language to the dog when he’s needed to answer a call. While investigating possible drug trafficking, Ace starts sniffing under a car, and soon after, it explodes, killing one officer. A suspect takes off on foot, with Jake and Ace chasing him. The suspect commands Ace to stand down in German, and a gunfight ensues between him and Jake, which ends up killing the suspect. However, Ace is also shot and injured, and Jake demands the paramedic look into the matter because, for him, Ace is no less than a regular police officer. However, the insensitive paramedic asks Jake to hold on until an officer has been examined because a person’s life is more valuable than that of a dog. Frustrated, Jake headbutts the paramedic, and the altercation is captured on the phone camera of a pedestrian, earning Jake the ire of his colleagues and superiors.


What Does Ramos Advice Jake?

As it turns out, this isn’t the first time that Jake has lost his temper, as he is a veteran with PTSD from his tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. He’s ordered to undergo therapy by a professional while suspended from the force. Meanwhile, Jake learns that there were traces of fentanyl found in Ace’s blood, making him curious. In his building, Jake encounters a woman named Mia, who seems very interested in this gruff man who’s apparently the worst to be around. However, she showers him with affection and care, and there’s no apparent motivation or reason behind it, making the whole situation seem hilarious. Jake meets with Ramos, a detective colleague who agrees to help Jake out of this spiraling situation, and her last advice to help the broken man is to “get a dog.”

How Is Jake saved?

At the K9 compound, Jake meets with Leland, the trainer of the police dogs, and agrees to take home a dog that had been kept caged with a muzzle on her face. Leland calls the dog Socks and points out that she has a titanium tooth, which indicates that her former master subjected her to brutal abuse. Jake instantly bonds with Socks, and she doesn’t bite or attack, so he decides to take her home. Socks prefers the food that Jake eats, and the two quickly start becoming friends. She helps Jake out of his depressive zone that he’d been in after Ace’s death, and he gives her a loving home. Around this time, he also starts dating Mia properly, although that has zero correlation to the plot.


Why Was Socks Taken Away From Jake?

Jake learns from a homeless man named Dante that there’s a house with a symbol on the front gate that is connected to illegal drugs being brought in from China. Dante identifies Socks by name as well, which seems interesting. Jake finds the house that the informer had mentioned and, using clues, breaks into it known for being a front and kills an attacker. The attacker had a dog as well, and he’d commanded Socks in German, much like the very first suspect. Jake trespasses into a shady building where drugs are being prepared. He spots a chemist doing something with fentanyl, but before he can apprehend the man, Jake is drugged and knocked out. Before passing out, he’s said that he’s got two choices: to commit suicide or join the drug dealers. Upon refusing to switch sides, Jake is left in the dirt, and he wakes up next morning to find Socks gone, and he’s suspended for a very long time for these continuous turmoils he finds himself in. Mia leaves Jakes because she’s frustrated with him not being honest with her, although even this excuse seems rather thin. Ramos once again comes to his rescue and tells him to seek someone named Luis.

What Happens In The Final Showdown?

Luis, aka Santiago, was the police officer who was originally the owner of Socks, but when his daughter got sick, Luis turned to the drug dealers. He would bring police dogs to the drug gang, which would keep the dogs drugged so that they wouldn’t sniff out drug shipments. However, Socks was taken from Luis, and he gave up that life. Knowing all that he needs to do, Jake is ready to go get his dog back, and he’s helped by Hernandez, an officer who initially hated him. Jake infiltrates the drug ring’s base with a shotgun, and when he’s attacked by a drugged-up dog, it’s blown to bits by a high-powered sniper rifle wielded by Hernandez.


Thanks to the tag team of Jake and Hernandez, most of the criminals are killed quickly, and Jake spots the same woman who’d offered him the ultimatum enter a building with Socks on leash. Jake follows the woman inside and finds that Socks is sitting at her foot in a docile manner. However, there are two other dogs, looking like hell-spawn, baring their teeth from their frothing mouths at Jake. Jakes tries calling Socks to him, but she’s become loyal to this woman who keeps her high on fentanyl. Realizing he has no chance of winning against these dogs, he throws his gun down and mentions the ultimatum the woman had thrown him. He asks her if she knows what the German word for ‘suicide’ is, and the moment she mentions it, with a snap of his fingers, Jake makes Socks rip her throat out. As the other dogs start attacking her, she shoots in her dying breath at one of the dogs. Later, Jake can be seen running through the streets with a dog in his arms.

Does Jake Get His Dog Back?

Muzzle‘s ending takes place a year later, where Jake is seen driving around town talking about how hot Iraq can get and how people could fry eggs on rocks, until it’s revealed that he’s talking to his baby in the back seat. The car stops at an intersection, and Mia is seen to be walking Socks to the car, who has lost one leg but seems healthy and happy. So, not only does Jake get his dog back, but he also finds a loving family in Mia, and together they have a kid. As it turns out, everything works out perfectly for the gruff policeman with anger issues.


However, Muzzle does have certain flaws. Arguably the worst addition is the character of Mia, and it’d have not affected the plot in the slightest had she not been a part of the cast. It can be attested that there aren’t too many movies that explore the relationship between a police officer and K9 dog, and Aaron Eckhart does an alright job of expressing his emotions for both Ace and Socks. Funnily enough, there seems to be more chemistry between Eckhart and the dogs than he has with Mia. The story could’ve worked a bit more with how Jake fought his suicidal tendencies, anger issues, and PTSD with socks instead of jumping right into an investigation. Sure, they went on runs together, but the healing as such isn’t presented with so many details that’d make the story convincing. In the end, though, Muzzle showcases the relationship between a man and his dog, so you can surely give it a watch.

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Indrayudh Talukdar
Indrayudh Talukdar
Indrayudh has a master's degree in English literature from Calcutta University and a passion for all things in cinema. He loves writing about the finer aspects of cinema, although he is also an equally big fan of webseries and anime. In his free time, Indrayudh loves playing video games and reading classic novels.

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