‘Scoop’ (2024) Ending Explained & Movie Recap: Who Is Sam Mcalister?

Netflix doesn’t at all try to hold back from making fun of Prince Andrew in their latest film, Scoop. The Philip Martin-directed film is based on former BBC editor Sam McAlister’s book about securing one of the most sensational interviews of Prince Andrew in the history of the BBC. The context is rather grave, as the interview was focused on the grim subject of Andrew’s friendship with the late Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted sex offender. Billie Piper is electrifying as McAlister, and so is Gillian Anderson, who plays Emily Maitlis, the famous British journalist who took the interview. But it is Rufus Sewell who delivers the standout performance as the controversial Prince. However, the film still falls quite flat, as, at the end of the day, it doesn’t really offer anything substantial to the viewers. Despite all the brilliant performances, Scoop remains just another Netflix film that fails to reach the heights of Spotlight (2015).


Spoilers Ahead

What Happens In The Movie?

In 2010 NYC, paparazzi Jae Donnelly managed to click a series of photos of Prince Andrew and Jeffrey Einstein walking in the park. The photos clearly hinted at the friendship between Epstein and Andrew remaining strong as ever, even after Epstein was convicted and served time in prison for his sex crimes. 


Who Is Sam Mcalister, And What Does She Want?

The year is 2019, and things are not looking good at the BBC, with as many as four hundred employees about to lose their jobs. People associated with “Newsnight,” one of the top-drawing programs, are okay, but for the time being only. Sam McAlister, the no-nonsense producer of the show, is desperately looking for a sensational bit of news that can turn the wheel for them. As fate would have it, Sam stumbles onto that nine-year-old photo of Epstein and Andrew in a newspaper. And the reason behind that is that Andrew is still in the news, although this time for something good at least—arranging a meeting between a bunch of investors and entrepreneurs. Rufus Sewell’s Prince is soon introduced, giving the inauguration speech at the “Pitch @ Palace” event in a very chilled-out fashion. Sewell brings a very callous attitude to the character, which works very well in its favor throughout the movie.

What’s Eating Prince Andrew?

The short answer is being best friends with a pedophile. And maybe for being a pedophile himself, if we take the legal allegation of Virginia Giuffre into account, which says Andrew had been intimate with her for at least three times when she was a minor. Seeing his old photo in the newspaper has rattled the man for sure, so much so that he goes on to approve the hiring of Jason Stein, a man who would dedicatedly work on fixing the Prince’s image. Andrew’s PA cum right-hand man, Amanda, is not too happy with Jason’s way of doing things, even though she’s the one who hired the guy in the first place. Upon getting an email from Sam, Amanda decides to call her to Buckingham Palace for a friendly visit. Of course, the sole purpose of the visit is to find out whether Sam or the BBC would be helpful for Andrew or not in his whole “image recovery” scheme.


Does Sam Manage To Secure An Interview With Prince Andrew?

For real-event-based movies and shows, having a certain kind of edge is an absolute necessity – given that the audience already knows what’s going to happen (if they don’t, they can always Google). That’s where you need an Aaron Sorkin or an Adam McKay to add a zing to the story, which can hold the audience. Otherwise, there’s not much there for the viewer. I’m sure a lot of people are somewhat aware of the entire sex scandal and the infamous interview with Prince Andrew. Even a documentary series has already been made on the same subject. 

Other than the surface-level thrill, mainly due to the performance of the cast, Scoop doesn’t quite manage to hit the stride. You know for a fact that Sam McAlister is going to get Prince Andrew to sit in front of Emily Maitlis at some point in the film, which is basically the whole point. Once Sam connects to Jae and gets hold of all the photos of young girls who were possible victims of Epstein (and maybe Andrew), it becomes evident that she’s not going to let things go. Even though the first meeting with Amanda doesn’t turn out fruitful for her, the death of Epstein provides her with another opportunity. Because this time around, Andrew can’t just stay silent. So he basically welcomes the death of his reputation by agreeing to a one-hour interview. Sam succeeds in her assignment and passes the baton to Emily. 


What Happens At The Interview?

Can you expect an exclusive interview with a royal family member to not cause any stir? No, right?  While Sam has been the driving force behind the narrative of Scoop for the first two acts, it’s Emily who takes center stage in the final one. The film even shows Sam’s frustration after getting sidelined by Emily and their boss, Esme Wren, but that plot doesn’t go anywhere, and a few moments later, we find Sam inside the Buckingham Palace on the day of the interview.

Gillian Anderson has much less screen time compared to both Billie Piper and Rufus Sewell, but she still manages to establish how nerve-wracking the whole thing is for Emily, because it’s she who’s going to sit in front of Andrew, after all. However, the film’s biggest failure is probably not being able to make the interview exciting enough. Especially if you see the actual interview, you realize how banal the film version is in comparison. Andrew tries to dodge every single curveball Emily throws at him, including directly asking if the Prince has any remorse over the friendship with Epstein. The Prince tries so hard to act cool, yet gives away a lot through his terribly vague answers. When Emily brings up the topic of Virginia, Andrew refuses all of it, but he somehow remembers that he took his daughter to a popular pizza place on the “exact same day.” 


It’s ironic how Andrew actually thought the interview had gone well for him before (deservingly) turning into meme material after it came out. This makes his mother (you know who that is, right?) angry, as she soon takes away his titles and a lot of privileges. For “Newsnight,” though, the interview is a grand success. Sam, Emily, and everyone associated with it deserve rounds of applause for that. 

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Rohitavra Majumdar
Rohitavra Majumdar
Rohitavra likes to talk about movies, music, photography, food, and football. He has a government job to get by, but all those other things are what keep him going.

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