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Breaking Down the Ending of Netflix's Twisty German Heist Thriller Crooks

Frederick Lau as Charly in <em>Crooks</em>. Credit - Netflix

Warning: This post contains spoilers for the finale of Netflix's Crooks.

When reformed safecracker Charly (Frederick Lau) is forced to take part in a robbery that goes horribly wrong, the peaceful new life he's built in Berlin with his wife Samira (Svenja Jung) and her son Jonas (Jonathan Tittel) is threatened by some of Europe's most notorious crime lords. Showrunner Marvin Kren's German heist thriller Crooks, now streaming on Netflix, follows Charly and his partner-of-circumstance-turned-friend Joseph (Christoph Krutzler), the illegitimate son of a Vienna kingpin, as they race across the continent to save Charly's family.

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The eight-episode miniseries comes to a head in Marseille, where the show's remaining players' motivations all converge—Charly and Joseph's plan to rescue Samira and Jonas from the clutches of Corsican mafia head Griselda (Virginie Peignien), Berlin clan leader Hassan's (Erdal Yildiz) attempt to get revenge on Charly for the death of his brother, and suspended cop Nina's (Maya Unger) desire to claim the stolen coin she believes will get her an audience with the Russian underworld boss who killed her father.

With the lives of his loved ones on the line, Charly agrees to attempt one last heist to help Griselda steal back a ton of cocaine that customs confiscated from a tanker ship that Rami (Kida Khodr Ramadan) gave her a bad tip about. But when Charly makes his proposal to her, he actually has a very different outcome in mind.

How does Crooks end?

The morning after Charly is able to call Joseph—who has made a deal with Nina that he will give her the coin if she helps free Charly's family—from the cell phone that Samira swiped off Rami's dead body, he's forced to leave Samira and Jonas behind at Griselda's compound while he carries out his assignment. Luckily, his secret plan has already been set in motion.

(L-R): Svenja Jung as Samira and Jonathan Tittel as Jonas in <em>Crooks</em>.<span class="copyright">Netflix</span>
(L-R): Svenja Jung as Samira and Jonathan Tittel as Jonas in Crooks.Netflix

When Griselda tries to lock Samira and Jonas in their room, Samira successfully pleads with her to allow Jonas to spend what could be his last day alive outside playing soccer. In a flashback to Charly and Joseph's call, we learn Charly alerted Joseph to the location of where Charly and Griselda's point man Serge were going to enter the sewer in order to install the drainage pipe that would help them secure the cocaine when Charly flushed it down the police station's toilets. While Charly and Serge are in the sewer, Joseph sneaks in and makes a mold of Serge's keys that he then uses to make copies. Meanwhile, Nina has set up shop just beyond the compound fence where Jonas is playing soccer.

When Joseph arrives with the copied keys, he and Nina sew them into a panel of a new soccer ball and text Samira that they're ready via Rami's phone. Samira signals Jonas, he boots his ball into the woods, and they're able to make the trade.

That night, Charly tells Serge that he needs to be ready to turn the drainage pump on in the sewer as soon as Charly flushes the first bag of cocaine. Another associate of Griselda's, Jean-Luc, cuts the station's electricity to distract the guards and Charly is able to make it over the fence. He sees Joseph waiting where they planned, radios Serge that it's time for him to leave to go to the sewer, and then makes a run for it to Joseph's car rather than breaking into the station.

(L-R): Frederik Lau as Charly and Christoph Krutzler as Joseph in <em>Crooks</em>.<span class="copyright">Netflix</span>
(L-R): Frederik Lau as Charly and Christoph Krutzler as Joseph in Crooks.Netflix

As Charly and Joseph race to get back to the compound, Samira tries to use the copied key to get out of their room. It seems like all might be lost when the key won't turn, but Jonas is able to save the day by remembering what Charly taught him about polishing keys. An all-out melee ensues as Samira and Jonas make a run for the compound gates and Charly and Joseph break in to help them. But when Joseph is shot, the group is forced to leave Charly behind as they escape in Nina's getaway car.

With both Charly and Hassan now captive, Griselda decides to make the two fight to the death in hand-to-hand combat. At first, Hassan appears to be intent on killing Charly to get his revenge. But Charly is ultimately able to convince him that his brother's death wasn't Charly's fault and that even if he kills Charly, Griselda won't let him live. The two then leap over the compound wall to either live or die together as they plummet into the ocean below.

Flash forward to some time later and it's revealed Charly has made it home to Berlin with Samira and Jonas and that he and Hassan appear to be on at least cordial enough terms to be at the same children's soccer game. As for Joseph and Nina, they've traveled to Tbilisi to continue their partnership as Nina follows through on her plan to use the coin as bait to get revenge for her dad's death.

Write to Megan McCluskey at megan.mccluskey@time.com.