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The Real Reason Maggie Naird Went To Jail On Space Force

Contains major spoilers for Space Force season 1

Prison etiquette dictates that you never ask a fellow inmate what they're in for. Space Force series creators Greg Daniels and Steve Carell must have an intuitive understanding of the Prisoner's Code, because they're staying pretty tight-lipped about just how Maggie Naird (Lisa Kudrow) earned her excessive sentence.

All ten episodes of Space Force season 1 landed on Netflix on May 29 with high production values and an all-star cast overflowing with proven comedic talent. The Office alum Steve Carell pulls double-duty as series co-creator and leading man, Four-Star General Mark R. Naird. He's joined by Kudrow and the familiar-looking Diana Silvers (Booksmart), who plays Maggie and Mark's rebellious teenage daughter, Erin. John Malkovich (The New Pope) rounds out the Space Force team as lead scientist Dr. Adrian Mallory, a kind of intellectual foil to the brutish Naird.

On the surface, Space Force is exactly the kind of absurdist sitcom one might expect from the creative team that brought you The Office, but upon closer examination, the series reveals its multitudes. In addition to the requisite gross-out beats and one outrageous sequence involving a chimp-stronaut charged with repairing a broken satellite, Space Force includes a bit of light political satire courtesy of its stranger-than-fiction premise. It's also concealing a bit of a slow-burning mystery at its core.

For most of season 1, General Naird takes periodic helicopter trips to visit his wife at a federal supermax facility outside Cheyenne, Wyoming. This is no Club Fed, where white-collar offenders take a year-and-change to re-read Ayn Rand and work on their short game. Maggie's prison is the real deal, and she seems as out-of-place behind bars as Piper Chapman on season 1 of Orange Is the New Black. Several months are missing from the first episode — the time period in which Maggie, presumably, committed a heinous crime, got arrested, and was successfully prosecuted. We know it happened because we see the end result, but the events themselves remain a mystery.

So, at the risk of getting in trouble while the guard's back is turned, what's the real reason Daniels and Carell tossed Maggie in the clink?

Maggie's mysterious crime is likely a gag at your expense

Season 1 of Space Force leaves us with only three real clues as to the nature of Maggie's misconduct. First, whatever she did fell under federal jurisdiction. Since the Nairds used to live in Washington D.C., where federal jurisdiction prevails, this hint isn't as helpful as it might otherwise be. We also know that she's guilty of her crime. Every character on the show accepts the fact of her incarceration, and Mark Naird himself even notes that she did something "very, very bad." Last and most importantly, Maggie pegs the length of her sentence at 40 years, though whether this is the minimum or maximum remains unclear. Forty to 60 years is generally the second longest sentence prescribed by law, the worst fate shy of life in prison.

Yahoo! Life posted an interesting analysis of these clues in an attempt to suss out what potential crimes fit the bill. The outlet concluded that in order for a general's wife without any (known) priors to receive 40 years in the federal pen, she would have had to commit an act of terrorism, piracy, homicide, kidnapping, drug trafficking, or a heinous sex crime. Assuming we can eliminate the Law and Order: SVU explanation for a lack of obvious comedic angles to exploit, that leaves us with five potential categories of felonies.

While we appreciate Yahoo!'s legal research, there simply isn't enough canonical information in the first season to divine the exact specifications of Maggie's crime. According to the creators, that ambiguity is by design. "At the moment, we're kind of enjoying the mystery around it and the question marks that it raises," Daniels told The Wrap. "It causes you to lean in because we're dropping little hints about what it is and how serious it was. So we're enjoying not being specific at the moment. You didn't miss anything. It's not in there."

For now, that remains the official explanation. Maggie's in jail because ... reasons. Her enormous sentence and the Naird family's resignation to her fate are essentially gags. Everyone in-universe just accepts the incarceration as fact, while the audience is left in the dark.

We may get some new details whenever Space Force season 2 comes out, but for now, Daniels' creative team is committed to remaining mum.