Alyssa Milano’s Brazen is exactly what you wanted in a stylish, sexy murder mystery. It’s full of curves, the human and twisty kind, and short on brains.
Netflix has gotten good at sussing out mommy porn. The kind of low-risk, high reward crime mysteries with ample eye candy and an occasional love interest. Clickbait and the Deadly Illusions starring Kristen Davis are prime examples. They are fun and as deep as a puddle. That’s all they are expected to be, and as such, they are wildly successful. If you love a good who-done-it full of formulaic suspects, cute neighbors, beleaguered partners, and gorgeous women, Brazen is perfect. So brace yourself for another splash in the shallow end because Brazen is exactly what you are looking for.
Netflix’s latest escapist murder mystery is Brazen, based on the book Brazen Virtue by Nora Roberts. Although the film is admittedly an unapologetic excuse to get Alyssa Milano back in the movies and into a latex dominatrix outfit, it delivers on its promise. It is entertaining, sexy, and breezy enough to waste a quality couple of hours. Yes, some of the dialogue is a little clunky. At one point, Captain Rivera says to Grace, “you’ve got guts and a twisty mind.” just before agreeing to let her lure the killer out by posing as her dead sister’s dom character on her Fantasty Inc page. It’s that kind of unabashed coarseness that allows this film to be succeed. It doesn’t even try to take itself too seriously, and for a COVID exhausted viewer, that is all you could ask for.
In Brazen Grace(Milano), a successful crime writer came to help her sister Kathleen secure a mortgage. Kathleen is in the middle of a nasty custody battle with her ex-husband for her young son. Her ex-husband Jonathan Breezewood is the kind of connected, wealthy businessman who believes his money and maleness are enough to get anything and everything he wants. He’s your typical male douche and is played with such smugness it’s hard to imagine what Kathleen ever saw in him.
Kathleen is also a recovering drug addict, a new high school English teacher, and a secret dominatrix on an Only Fans knock-off called Fantasy Inc. Grace knows next to nothing about her sister’s new life, however when she comes to help. On her second night in town, she goes on a date with the hunky cop next door. Grace met him while attempting to work earlier that day. The power-tool-wielding hottie Ed and Grace enjoyed their first date while Kathleen was killed. Grace returned home and found her sister dead leading to Ed’s involvement.
After forcing her way into the investigation, citing her detective skills and fresh mind, Grace, Ed, and his partner uncover several possible suspects. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen before another woman dies and a third is attacked. The third victim escapes and gives a description to the police that points them to one of Kathleen’s students, Rand. Rand’s own secrets are revealed and he is ruled out as the killer leaving only one possible suspect. Here is everything you need to know about the ending of Brazen.
Who killed Kathleen in Brazen?
If it isn’t the spouse, it’s for sure the weird senator’s kid. That’s the takeaway. It wasn’t the distracted, sometimes belligerent kid Rand, the janitor, or the scuzzy peeper who used his connections with the family business to spy for free on the performers. It wasn’t even Kathleen’s ex-husband and the world’s biggest dick Jonathon. Kathleen and the other dominatrix performer were killed by Jerald, another of Kathleen’s students. After Jerald attacked Rand following wrestling practice, Ed and his partner learned that he was the culprit. While wailing on Rand, Jerald told him Kathleen was his. Unfortunately, Jerald had already escaped when Ed came to arrest him.
Meanwhile, back at Kathleen’s house, Grace was still in her Desiree gear when Jerald broke in to kill her. Grace turned the webcam on before he got to her room and tricked him into a live confession. In a rage, he attacked her, but Ed arrived just in time to shoot him. The film ends with Grace and Ed agreeing to continue their relationship because once is never enough. I couldn’t resist.
Why did Jerald kill Kathleen and the other performer?
In every encounter, Jerald gave off massive creeper vibes and so it should not have really been much of a surprise. The son of a controlling, cold, nasty piece of work, he found comfort in Kathleen before finding out she was a closet dominatrix. He evidently did not get the love he needed from his Missouri senator mom, a fact that is oddly highlighted at every turn. Missouri is the Show Me state and they have a thriving BBQ reputation but otherwise I am not sure what that plot point has to do with anything. Regardless, Jerald’s Mom rarely showed him any love and belittled him in private while flaunting her privilege in public. Jerald is the sort of entitled affluent that feels obligated to commit rape, murder, or at least get a DUI or two.
He thinks he has finally found a maternal figure in Kathleen until he comes across her Desiree persona and snaps. As Desiree she is just as controlling and aggressive as his mother and he kills her. The other two women were also performing as doms and they were collateral damage. Basically any woman who reminded him of his mother would be fair game from this point forward. Why he associates his mother with BDSM we never learn. Although interesting that would have taken Brazen to a whole different place.
What did the lilies signify?
At the end of Brazen the camera pans back to show a branch filled with flowers. I’m assuming this is meant to be a lily. Earlier in the film, Grace had said that lilies at a funeral are symbolic of the deceased returning to innocence. Perhaps with Ed by her side and the case closed, Grace is ready to forgive Jerald? It could also mean her sister Kathleen finally has peace of not her life.
Brazen is on Netflix right now.
As the Managing Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre entertainment. I grew up with old-school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. My work can be found here and Travel Weird, where I am the Editor in Chief.