Warning: This article contains major Brazen spoilers, the new Alyssa Milano movie on Netflix.
What do you get when you take Alyssa Milano, best-selling romance author Nora Roberts, a dominatrix, and a murder mystery, and put those things together? A highly watchable movie on Netflix, aka Brazen.
Brazen, which began streaming on Netflix on Thursday, is based on the novel Brazen Virtue by Nora Roberts, originally published in 1988. Some updates have been made to the plot to fit a modern setting—for example, the victim in the book is a phone sex line operator, whereas in the movie, she works as a dominatrix cam girl for web clients. The film was directed by Monika Mitchell, while writers Suzette Couture and Donald Martin adapted the screenplay. The cast includes former Charmed star Alyssa Milano, as well as Sam Page and Malachi Weir.
Though the movie is only 90 minutes long, sometimes you just want to know who dunnit, am I right? Don’t worry, because Decider is here to help. Read on for the Brazen plot summary, as well as the Brazen ending explained.
BRAZEN PLOT SUMMARY:
Grace Miller (Alyssa Milano) is a famous mystery-crime author who’s known for her ability to get inside the killer’s head. Her book tour is interrupted when she receives an urgent call from her sister Kathleen (Emilie Ullerup) asking her to come to visit her in Washington, D.C. When Grace arrives, Kathleen tells her sister that she’s on the mend from a drug addiction and is hoping to earn back visitation rights to see her young son. However, Kathleen’s ex-husband, Jonathan Breezewood (David Lewis) is an asshole with connections in high places, and he is doing everything he can to keep Kathleen away from their son. But, Kathleen says, she has something on Jonathan: She has proof that Jonathan is stealing from his family’s trust, and she plans to use that proof to blackmail him.
Unfortunately, Kathleen’s plans are cut short by her untimely murder. While Grace is on a date with Kathleen’s cute next-door neighbor, a police detective named Ed (Sam Page), someone breaks into Kathleen’s house and strangles her to death. Grace is, of course, devastated, and insists on being involved in the police case to help solve the murder. She soon learns that her sister was living a secret double life, moonlighting as a dominatrix cam girl named Desiree.
The investigation gets underway. Grace’s top suspect is Kathleen’s ex, Jonathan, but the police say he has a solid alibi. (He was at a political fundraiser at the time of the murder.) The police are more interested in investigating Kathleen’s cam girl clients. While visiting with her sister’s former students—Kathleen’s day job was teaching high school English—Grace gets a tip from a teenager named Jerald Baxter (Matthew Finlan), who is the son of a senator and who seems to have had a special relationship with his late teacher. The tip turns out to be a red herring, but it does lead the police to a kid named Richie (Jack Armstrong) who works at the cam girl company, called Fantasy Inc, and has been secretly accessing and sharing the performers’ real identities.
Then another cam girl is murdered, by a masked assailant caught on camera. He whispers “Desiree” as he attacks, which was Kathleen’s stage name. Meanwhile, both Jonathan the ex-husband and Jerald the star student are acting weird at the funeral. Grace meets Jerald’s mom, the senator, who apologies to Grace for her son’s “issues with boundaries.” When Grace impresses the police captain with her analysis of the two victims’ body positioning after they were killed, she is officially added to the investigation team as a consultant.
Grace receives anonymous flowers for “Desiree” with a threatening note that says she is where she belongs. This leads them to the credit card of a businessman whose son, Rand, was in Kathleen’s class. The police question Rand (Daniel Diemer), and get the distinct impression he is hiding something. Then another dominatrix is attacked, and she lives. She reports that though she did not see his face, she was attacked by a teenager wearing a fancy watch. Rand owns a fancy watch! But, it turns out, everyone in his grade owns that watch—it was a class present. Wah wah. Then Grace learns that Rand is in a romantic relationship with Richie, the former Fantasy Inc. employee. For whatever reason, this detail clears him of all murderous suspicion.
Grace comes up with a new plan to catch the killer: She will wear her sister’s cam girl costumes and become the new Desiree. They will lure the killer into attacking her and then arrest him.
WHO IS THE KILLER IN BRAZEN? BRAZEN ENDING EXPLAINED:
The killer in Brazen is the polite young son of the senator, Jerald Baxter. Duh! It’s not exactly a huge twist. The police realize Jerald is the killer after Jerald tries to kill Rand at school, and screams that Kathleen is “his.”Then, even though they had this whole plan to bait the killer with Grace, the police all abandon Grace to go arrest Jerald. (Really guys? You couldn’t spare one cop to watch over Grace?) Of course, Jerald isn’t home when the police arrive. He’s at Kathleen’s house, ready to attack Grace. But first, he confesses: He killed Kathleen and the other dominatrix because he was in love with Kathleen, and hated that she lived a double life. “They were all Desiree!” he says, which is his sick way of justifying attacking other cam girls, too.
Although there were some hints early on that Jonathan Breezewood may have hired Jerald to murder Kathleen, and then Jerald got carried away, this turns out to be a red herring, too. Jerald acted alone, and Grace catches his confession on tape. Jerald roughs Grace up a bit, but then Detective Ed rushes in to save the day. The movie ends with Grace and Ed on the couch, happily kissing. Aw!
And that’s it! As far as murder mysteries go, Brazen is not exactly a revelation. But there are worse ways to spend 90 minutes of your day, right?
Watch Brazen on Netflix