‘The Recruit’ Season 1, Episode 1: Recap And Ending, Explained: Who Was Max Meladze?

“The Recruit,” an intriguing spy thriller with raunchy humor and a tense narrative, has just been released on Netflix. “The Recruit,” a comedy-thriller starring Noah Centineo and Laura Haddock, will keep you entertained as you see a CIA rookie lawyer, Owen Hendricks, use his street-smart skills to escape every potentially perilous situation. In less than a week on the job, Owen Hendricks began handling classified reports about the CIA’s clandestine actions. However, obtaining that information from an imprisoned asset would be a difficult undertaking. Would he be able to come up with a solution? Let’s look into it.


Spoilers Ahead

Who Was Max Meladze? 

“The Recruit” begins in a snowy landscape where several agents are carrying out an attack on Russian soldiers. During the mission, Owen Hendricks noticed the Russian forces’ trucks and notified a US operator, who urged him to keep off the channel because he was a lawyer. But it didn’t seem like Owen was keeping off the channel as he seemed to be attacking someone. The scene shifts to two weeks earlier in this operation, to the CIA office when Owen Hendricks, who had only been in the CIA for two days, receives a call from the general council, Nyland. Nyland directed him to go to the Senate Intelligence Service and inform them that they would have to prevent Senator Smoot from reading a classified paper at a public session. It wasn’t simply an order; it sounded like a threat when Nyland told him that if he couldn’t stop Smoot from reading it, he’d have to quit the CIA. So, Owen had to be the scapegoat to approach Mr. Smoot and tell him not to read the document, but Smoot was adamant that he would and, in addition to that, he would also subpoena him. Therefore, Owen had to warn him that viewing classified material was a violation of 18 US Code 798 and that if he continued to do so, a campaign video against him would be difficult to ignore. Owen’s method worked like a charm, and he proved his efficiency in just two days. Violet and Lester, his coworkers, became envious of him and delivered him a slew of “grey mail,” which were effectively threatening letters from assets that threatened the CIA with releasing their secrets if it didn’t aid them.


Now it’s Owen’s responsibility to go through each of these letters and determine whether the writers of these letters can back up their claims. Among these threatening letters, Owen’s attention was drawn to a case in which an asset named Max Meladze, who was imprisoned in Phoenix, threatened to expose confidential information about Shelby Shaw and PW Butcher if the CIA did not assist in clearing her record. Owen began probing and learned from a sleepyhead SOG operator, Janus, that PW Butcher is a code name in which PW meant the operating site and Butcher was the name of the operation. Because this operation appeared to have occurred previously, Owen met a member of the old ops department and learned that PW Butcher was a 2009 operation in Belarus, and Shelby Shaw was a DO officer named Dawn Gilbane that worked on the operation in Belarus. Owen also found that there was no way for an asset to know the operation and the officer’s code name, and if Max Meladze really knew the names, she may be a CIA agent or a hip-pocket asset whose files and the case officer’s ID would not be available. As soon as Owen learned of the facts, he alerted Nyland, who instructed him to continue the investigation. But, according to records, Dawn Gilbane was in Yemen, so Owen planned to fly there to get answers to his questions.

In between, we see Owen’s roommates, who were possibly his law school classmates; one of them, Hannah, who was also his ex-girlfriend, was working at a law firm. Owen didn’t tell them where he was going to keep the case confidential, and we found that Owen’s mother, who kept contacting Hannah, had no idea her son was working for the CIA because he hadn’t talked to her in six months. Owen left for Yemen early in the morning and encountered a disaster he was not prepared for. He arrived at Dawn’s lair in Yemen, where her men apprehended him since they suspected him of being a spy. Dawn emerged and inquired if he was pretending to be an idiot because there was no cable traffic when he arrived, and he had no diplomatic support either. He didn’t even have a black passport, which would have granted him diplomatic protection. Owen realized he had been duped, as his coworkers didn’t even tell him about it. Dawn stripped him off, tied him up, and plucked off one of his fingernails so Owen could reveal his true identity. When Dawn went to pull out another fingernail, Owen got scared and gave a monologue about how his father, a military soldier, was blown up in Afghanistan, and his mother told him not to follow this path, but he wanted to do it anyway, so he joined the CIA as a lawyer, but when the information about old operation in Belarus appeared, he thought it would be a great adventure, but now he could understand how all these things work in the CIA and now he couldn’t run away from all this. Dawn left him and briefed him about Max Meladze, who was a great asset for the CIA since she had a close relationship with Russian intelligence, but Dawn couldn’t recall her case officer’s name because it had been several years since the operation in Belarus.


What Did Owen Find Out In Phoenix?

Owen returned to Langley, very drained from the torment he had to face in Yemen. But as soon as he went to his house, he received a call from Nyland, who wanted to see him immediately. Nyland had not asked him to travel to Yemen in the first place, but now that Owen had visited Dawn, Nyland was impressed. Therefore, considering Max was a vital asset for the CIA, he ordered Owen to go to Phoenix to speak with her. Owen arrived at the prison in Phoenix and learned from a jailor that Max had viciously murdered a truck driver named Salvator Kwitny, for which she had been arrested. Owen met Max Meladze, and after only a few minutes with her, he understood she was cunning and deceptive. She told him about the covert operations documents she had and that she had put the materials in a storage locker. Following Max’s instructions, Owen went to a storage locker and took a bag out, but some goons found him with the bag and chased him down to grab it, but when they opened the bag, an acid flash that Max had kept inside injured their faces. Owen discovered cash in the bag, but he did not tell Max where it was kept and warned her that the bag would be turned over to the police. So, Max reminded him that she had highly sensitive records pertaining to the CIA’s clandestine activities and that if anything happened to Max or someone attempted to assassinate her, she would release all of those details to the media. She misled Owen by preventing him from calling Nyland and asking him to assist in clearing her record with the FBI; otherwise, she couldn’t assist Owen in getting those documents.

However, Owen wanted to walk away, claiming that he didn’t want to assist a killer like her, so Max told him her final words: her Handler’s name was Not Bob. Owen returned to Langley’s office and ran into Janus, who had fallen asleep again and forgotten what day it was. Owen urged him to notify him of Not Bob’s true identity, and Janus informed him that everyone at the CIA knew who Not Bob was and that he was now chief of staff to the president of the United States. Nyland contacted Owen again to inquire about the meeting he had with Max, but Owen appeared to be keeping some secrets from him and just informed him that this case was believable, and Max had some knowledge concerning the CIA, so Nyland instructed him to keep investigating. Owen went to his office and contacted Max at the Phoenix jail to ask whether he could trust her, and Max assured him that he could only if their interests were matched. So, Owen told Max that he would assist her in erasing her record, and Max began to believe in him. The point is, why did Owen want to help Max even though he thought she was incredibly manipulative? In my judgment, he learned that her handler was no ordinary investigator but rather a man who was now the president’s chief of staff. So he realized the importance of the case, and because he craved such excitement in his life, he began looking for it. He thought Max might be risky for him, but she was honest and could provide him with a lot of information. Let’s take a peek at what happened next in The Recruit’s second episode.


Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Poulami Nanda
Poulami Nanda
Poulami Nanda hails from a medical background, yet her journey is to cross the boundaries of medicine and survive in the cinematic world. The surrealistic beauty of cinema and art has attracted her from a very young age. She loves to write poems, songs, and stories, but her dream is to write films someday. She has also worked as a painter, but nothing attracts her more than cinema. Through her writings, she wants to explore the world of cinema more and more and take her readers on the same ride.

Latest articles