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The Ending Of Netflix's Treason Explained

Figuring out what the inner workings of MI6 might look like is always exciting, and Netflix's new original miniseries "Treason" is no exception. Following an attack on the head of MI6 in broad daylight, it's up to loyal aide Adam Lawrence to fill the shoes of the big man. As he settles into his new role, Adam's life is turned upside down, with national and international threats posing life-or-death risks. With a cast including Charlie Cox, Ciarán Hinds, and Olga Kurylenko, "Treason" packs a punch from the get-go — with the season finale delivering exactly the sort of ending fans are looking for.

Even when the drama gets confusing, "Treason" is easily able to make good on its early promise of providing a tense and mysterious spy thriller for audiences to enjoy. With so many twists and turns revealed in the final moments, it's not a surprise to learn the exact details of just what would happen in the final twist were up in the air until the very last minute, as Oona Chaplin explained to Independent. Fans can keep an eagle eye out for Easter eggs in between the revelations, with so much more left to be explored if Netflix decides to pursue any future seasons. 

While we patiently wait for news about another installment, here's exactly what went down in the season finale of "Treason."

It's a masterclass in double-crossing

Any good crime drama needs gripping twists and turns that keep the audience on its toes. All the way through Season 1 of "Treason," viewers have been kept at a moral crossroads. Who are the good guys, really? Does Adam know more than he lets on? By the finale, the narrative reveals itself to be an exciting exhibition of double-crossing. Not only is Adam stuck in a limbo of moral ambiguity, but the supporting characters are each embroiled in their own acts of deception. Dede commits the ultimate act of backstabbing by killing Adam off, while Maddy meets with Kara to try to finally get answers on the Baku incident.

Though the program was criticized by outlets such as the Evening Standard for its frenzied pace, the payoff is huge if viewers can keep ahead of the confusion. While Angelis furthers his agenda by framing Adam after his death, Kara is still the scapegoat — but now audiences see her best interests for what they actually are. Confusing plotlines that keep a viewer guessing until the very last minute is perhaps the direction that the classic crime drama needs to head in. With so many binge-able options out there (plus a lifetime of "CSI" reruns), an original program needs to take big risks to stay fresh. "Treason" does exactly that by setting its characters against each other with its masterful double-crosses.

Adam is in over his head

From the moment the opening episode begins, Adam Lawrence is charged with a role that he can't really fill. Thrown into the deep end after Kara attempts to assassinate Angelis, Adam's time as the head of MI6 is a near disaster. On the one hand, it creates an exciting situation that we don't often see. On the flip side, the events of the season finale highlight all of Adam's character flaws. From the moment his daughter is held hostage, Adam has gone about everything — and we mean everything — in the completely wrong way.

In the context of the season finale, his mistakes ultimately cost him his life. Though we won't be seeing Adam return for any plotlines if the show ever ends up with a second season, the damage done is enough to leave those around him picking up the pieces for a long time to come. As everyone closes in on the enormous target on Adam's back, it's exciting to anticipate the inevitable dead end he runs himself into. The truth will come out, and now Adam is removed from the picture, how much can vital information stay a secret?

Angelis becomes the ultimate villain

When we think of the actor Ciarán Hinds, who plays former MI6 chief Angelis, we think of his legendary status. Best known for his roles in "Above Suspicion," "Shetland," and films such as "Belfast," it's quite a surprise to see Hinds play someone who's this downright nasty. Since his attempted assassination in the first episode, it's been clear that Angelis is playing the entire organization — which is only made more painfully obvious when his collection of private files is revealed. In the finale he ups the ante, eventually stating that Adam has committed an act of treason in an attempt to explain his death.

This a bold and morally gross move for Angelis to to make, but it makes sense given what he is trying to hide. When the final episode starts, all his secrets spill out when Audrey finds out about the Russian plot and Malik discovers his ongoing blackmail. It's here that Angelis taps into ultimate villain mode, stopping at nothing to desperately tie up all of the loose ends. It remains to be seen if viewers have properly understood what Angelis is fully capable of. The season finale goes a long way toward showing the seeds he has sown, but it wouldn't be surprising to discover even more revelations in any potential future installments.

Charlie Cox is perfect for British crime procedurals

Thanks to "Daredevil," this is far from the first time we've seen Charlie Cox in a hit Netflix original. However, "Treason" goes a long way to securing his future as a leading crime drama star. Though we've seen him in shows drams like "Kin" before, the character of Adam Lawrence kicks Cox's performance in the genre to another level. Alongside having questionable morals, the speed at which Adam's life falls apart is unlike the typical pace of British crime procedurals. Acting as the head honcho of a pillar in national security while juggling family life means that Adam can rarely see things for what they really are, which is what makes his character so intriguing.

In an interview with FILMHOUNDS Magazine, Charlie cites "Treason" being the perfect fit for him because of what's at the heart of the show. "What was interesting about 'Treason' was that it was this spy thriller on the surface, but when you get underneath that, you're left with this family pulled apart by the job that Adam does ... That was what was really fascinating about it, and that's what I felt was different from a lot of shows in this genre."

Who is Dorian?

A key narrative thread throughout Season 1 of "Treason" is the Baku incident. It's something we know next to nothing about, and that doesn't really change as we progress into the season finale. However, we do know that it's something of international importance that links Adam and Kara to a sordid history. The exact events that took place in Baku remain cloudy, though we know it's the driving reason why Kara is able to get Adam exactly where she wants him throughout the season. 

We eventually learn that Kara's men were taken out during the Azerbaijan mission by a mysterious figure called Dorian. By the season finale, it's alluded to that Adam might have been Dorian all along. However, between Adam's demise and Angelis' revelations, this ending is quickly ruled out. This means that the elusive Dorian — now assumed to be MI6 agent Patrick — still offers up questions, and is likely to be a key narrative plotline in any spinoffs or possible future seasons. The fact it's a story that brings Maddy and Kara together is interesting in itself and hints that there is likely to be more to Adam's world than we even know exists.

Dede's future is uncertain

First introduced to us as a suspicious friend of Maddy, Dede's journey throughout Season 1 of "Treason" has arguably been the most unexpected. On assignment with the CIA to take down Adam, she gets the job done in the season finale, but by the time she does, Dede seems like a completely different person. From the moment she approaches Maddy at work and takes her out for coffee, Dede's natural empathy makes itself known. She seems actively concerned about the family's welfare, offering up solutions to help even though they deceptively play to Dede's advantage.

In the season finale, Dede's sense of self couldn't look more different. She's acting as an operative first and foremost, with her role as a friend long left behind. Her decision to kill Adam comes with even more baggage, setting her up for hefty potential storylines to come. Even while the show's focus is primarily on MI6 and family, it's Dede that has the most mileage to be satisfyingly fleshed out. A double-crossing CIA operative traveling the world to take out people she's close to? We would watch that.

The deaths don't need to be covered up

As with any successful crime drama, death plagues almost every scene in the "Treason" season finale. Not only was the build-up to the final episode tinged by the mysterious Baku incident, but we also witness the death of Adam Lawrence himself. It's a painful moment for all sides, leaving the agents of MI6 to reflect on Angelis' true intentions while Maddy and the kids are left without a husband and a father. However, it also provides another layer of deceit for the show overall, with Adam's death not only written off as an act of treason but is blamed firmly on Kara rather than Dede.

At face value, there's no real reason Adam's death or the Baku incident needs to be covered up. Angelis has proven that he is nigh-on untouchable, while Dede slinks off into the sunset with the rest of the CIA. While neither Maddy nor Kara really has anything to lose, the decision to add this ultimate twist might purposefully be to leave enough threads loose for potential future storylines. 

How safe are Maddy and the kids?

Even though Maddy was never thrilled that a team of armed guards was parading around her house and gardens at all hours, Adam was right to insist on them. Throughout "Treason," Maddy constantly has to watch her back. As a woman who only wants to get on with her job and dutifully stand by her man, she's been dragged into her fair share of high-stakes drama. She has her own history of being armed and dangerous, as Dede reveals, but by the season finale, that's truly left in the past.

With Adam now no longer a threat, are Maddy and the kids actually safe? The answer is likely to rest on what Maddy chooses to do next. She could easily slip under the radar and return to normal day-to-day life, but that seems unlikely given how many questions about Adam's personal background remain unanswered. Maddy's blossoming alliance with Kara could quickly put her back in the eye of the storm, meaning the CIA and Angelis would likely keep eyes on her.

Kara is still the scapegoat

When audiences are introduced to Kara at the beginning of Season 1, she's set up to be a classic, textbook villain. Choosing to poison Angelis in broad daylight, her seemingly cold and calculating demeanor even extends to those she doesn't really know. By the season finale of "Treason," it's a completely different story. With so much personal and emotional trauma at stake, Kara's been put through the wringer. If being equally as used by Adam wasn't bad enough, she's made to be the scapegoat for his death by Angelis to avert eyes from what actually happened.

It's difficult not to feel sorry for Kara. She's only wanted answers to what happened to the people who depended on her — the men she lost in Baku — and this is something she still hasn't gotten to the bottom of in the season finale. Out of everyone embroiled in Angelis' web, Kara is possibly the most real and level-headed. Played by former Bond girl Olga Kurylenko, it's not a huge stretch of the imagination to think she could single-handedly lead a spinoff series delving into the mysteries of Baku. 

Blackmail, aristocracy, and corrupt politics

It's not until the very last minute of "Treason" that we learn just how much Angelis' hand is in the inner workings of the United Kingdom. In the season finale, it's revealed that he has been blackmailing key political figures and members of the aristocracy — both because he has a huge amount of files on their dirty laundry and because he has a secretive deal with the Russians. When the fallout concerns those that already think they're untouchable, it's not so bad to watch. However, when it starts to affect working mothers like Audrey, finding out just how far the deceit runs can be a tough pill to swallow.

Can a crime drama skirt around the dirty-handed nature of national politics? Probably not. In the grand scheme of things, the "Treason" season finale does a pretty good job of showing international threats for what they can be. It gives the events leading up to Adam's death a particularly grubby feel — especially when it's offset against the safety of his wife and kids. Even as the CIA looks to bow out, it's arguably only Angelis that isn't completely out of his depth in the national context. Even when the small finale details get confusing, the looming big-scale threats are scary and crystal clear.

There's a chance for new beginnings

Sure, our main character is dead. Still, who's to say everything from here has to be bleak and negative? The main goal of Season 1 of "Treason" was to get Adam out of his position as head of MI6, and that's been irreversibly achieved. The biggest threat to Angelis and international interest has now been eliminated, meaning the stakes can now completely change. Kara and Maddy are the most likely to take the driver's seat, tentatively working together to get to the bottom of the Baku incident. The season finale marks a real turning point for each of our supporting characters. Do they keep to themselves and play safe, or do they take matters into their own hands?

Kara can just as easily mind her own business — or even worse, fall under the thumb of Angelis — as she can do some digging in Azerbaijan to get answers for herself. With her previous military experience, Maddy could be an excellent companion, though there's a chance the children could resent her for her role in Adam's time at MI6. Whatever the next steps are, they almost certainly won't follow the pattern of bad decisions Adam Lawrence set out.

What can we expect from Season 2?

Currently, there is no concrete decision on whether "Treason" will return for a Season 2. Though Season 1 could arguably function as a limited series, there are still too many loose ends to tie up in the overall narrative for fans to be satisfied. It's a frustrating note to end on, but incredibly positive for the future because the possibility for future storylines is most certainly there. The show is already proving to be a huge hit for Netflix, and the better it does, the more likely we are to get some more juicy espionage content.

In terms of subject matter, the possibilities are wide and expansive. A future season or spinoff could follow the potential downfall of Angelis after the extent of his secrets has been revealed. Audrey could possibly play a small part in this, with her political ambitions at the forefront of Angelis' personal line of fire. The other likely path that "Treason" will take is exploring the aftermath of Maddy or Kara — or perhaps both together. For their own reasons, the questions that remain about Dorian tie into losing the man they loved — these issues could easily become the basis for either one's own individual vendetta.