Story recap – what happened in The Recruit season 1?

By Adam Lock
Published: December 16, 2022 (Last updated: March 3, 2024)
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This is a story recap of the Netflix series The Recruit season 1, which contains spoilers as it details what happened.

The Recruit is a spy adventure series from creator Alexi Hawley. The Netflix original follows rookie CIA lawyer Owen Hendricks (Noah Centineo), who finds himself tied to a murderous criminal in his first few weeks on the job. This new partnership takes Owen on a global adventure, where he must negotiate with dangerous spies and deadly cartel bosses, whilst following orders from his boss back in the States. Here’s what happened in each episode of The Recruit season 1:

Story recap – what happened in The Recruit season 1?

Episode 1 – “I.N.A.S.I.A.L.”

Newbie lawyer Owen is sent to the Senate to stop Senator Smoot from releasing classified information at a public hearing. He completes the job successfully but makes enemies with Smoot, who then sends him a subpoena. Co-workers Lester and Violet are jealous of Owen’s early success and hand him their gray-mail files. Owen looks through these boxes of letters that contain threats aimed at the CIA. One from the murderer Max Meladze stands out to Owen. In the letter, she mentions a classified mission and an agent’s pseudonym. Owen follows up on this name and travels to Yemen to meet with Dawn Gilbane. She tortures Owen and then supplies him with some info on Meladze. Owen meets with the murderer in a Phoenix jail and she reveals the location of her incriminating documents. Owen goes to retrieve these files and is attacked by Spanish crooks, who want the bag of money he has uncovered. Owen runs and hides the money. He then agrees to help Meladze.

Episode 2 – “N.L.T.S.Y.P.”

The Spanish crooks, led by Talco, order a hit on Meladze in prison, but she survives the attack. Meladze asks Owen to appease the Spaniards and then gives him advice on the subpoena in return. The crooks take Owen hostage and he leads them straight to the hidden money. Owen finds out Meladze’s old case officer’s name and heads to Vienna to meet with Xander. The American doesn’t reveal much about Meladze but says that she was put in charge of other assets, so she knows a lot of valuable intelligence. Owen is then attacked on his journey back to the airport. To avoid death, Owen jumps into the river.

Episode 3 – “Y.D.E.K.W.Y.D.”

Owen climbs out of the river and heads home with a new sense of paranoia. His boss Nyland orders him to oversee Meladze’s prison transfer. At court, he meets Kelly, whose father was killed by Meladze. Owen’s co-worker Amelia helps him to get Meladze’s case transferred, in return, they go on a date. Owen needs Meladze’s case dropped and Amelia suggests talking to the Attorney General. Owen is sent to Beirut to help with Lester’s own mission. Owen calls Meladze for advice and he gives her information on her case officer, but no names. Owen helps Lester with his problem and the duo bond. Owen speaks with the Attorney General, who thinks his request is a prank. Meladze figures out who her case officer was and sends Xander a threatening message.

Episode 4 – “I.Y.D.I.A.A.C.”

Violet feels left out of Owen and Lester’s bonding trip and asks for more challenging work. Owen is handed an AI case, which he passes on to Violet. The investigation causes her no end of stress and she believes Owen is trying to purposely sabotage her. Nyland asks Owen to drop the Attorney General angle, they need Meladze’s release to be clean, so she can be redeployed as an asset again. Owen tells the Attorney General that he doesn’t need his help anymore. He makes another enemy and the Attorney General tells him that there is an eyewitness, who saw Meladze kill Salvatore (Kelly’s father). Meladze finds out who the eyewitness is and sends a hitman to kill them. At a fundraiser, Owen surprises Smoot and nearly kisses Hannah (his ex). Owen sleeps with Amelia and then she gives him advice on the eyewitness. He goes to interview the eyewitness, but the hitman attacks. The eyewitness enters witness protection and Meladze’s case is dropped, she is released from prison that day.

Episode 5 – “T.S.L.A.Y.P.”

Meladze meets with the Spanish crooks to sell them her safe-house business. She needs money to use as a bribe to get back into the Russian Mafia. The Spaniards try to kill her instead. The Chief of Staff, Kevin Mills requests Owen’s presence. He wants to know who gave up his code name to Meladze. Owen thinks he’s free of Meladze, but he’s forced to work with her once again. Nyland orders him to go and retrieve Meladze, who has gone rogue. She forces Owen to book a night in an expensive suite instead. Owen uses Hannah’s credit card for the bill. Meladze tries to seduce Owen, but he turns her down. Meladze opens up a little and tells Owen that Xander told her about Kevin Mills’ code name: Not Bob. Meladze buys Owen some new clothes and prepares him for the transaction with the Spaniards.

Episode 6 – “I.C.I.N.C.”

Owen negotiates terms with the cartel. He manages to get 7 million dollars from them, by selling Meladze’s safe-house business and other perks. Gilbane picks up Meladze and Owen. Now they have the funds, they are going to vet Meladze and place her back in the system as a new asset. Owen apologizes to Hannah for taking her money. Owen tells Kevin Mills about Xander blabbing. Meladze is questioned, and given a psychological interview and polygraph test at the agency. Owen worries that she’ll fail and nearly has a panic attack. Owen doesn’t trust Gilbane and she doesn’t trust him. Owen ends up taking a polygraph test himself and admits to seeing Meladze naked. They both pass their tests, but Amelia breaks up with Owen. Meladze needs more money. They decide to withdraw money from her Swiss bank accounts. A trip to Geneva is organized. Nyland sends Lester and Violet to spy on Owen and tells Owen to watch out for Gilbane.

Episode 7 – “I.M.F.T.B.S.”

Xander is also in Geneva to oversee the mission. He’s bugged Owen and Meladze’s hotel suite. Meladze takes out all the hidden cameras and microphones. A spy called Marta tries to seduce Owen, but he sees through her flirtatious ways. Marta spies on Owen and Meladze, along with the Americans and the Russians at a meal that night. Meladze fights a Russian spy in the toilets, who was sent by Russian mob boss Kirill. Meladze gifts Owen with a fancy watch and explains what dirt she has on Xander – he slept with Kirill’s wife. Meladze and Owen sleep together. The next day they go to the bank, but Owen has messed up with the time zones, and Meladze’s account is still blocked. They use her safety deposit box instead. She passes Kirill photographs that prove Xander was sleeping with his wife. Kirill pays Meladze for this information. Xander is then killed. Hannah and Terence arrive just in time to see Owen and Meladze running away. And Marta watches all of this.

Episode 8 – “W.T.F.I.O.H.”

Lester and Violet scrub the crime scene. Owen and Meladze escape on a coach and head for Gilbane’s base in Germany. Meladze throws Owen’s phone out of the window so they won’t be tracked. Owen and Meladze are taken hostage at Gilbane’s until they can prove that they aren’t compromised. Meladze explains why Xander was killed. Marta is revealed to be Nichka, a Russian spy. Gilbane plans a meeting with Lev, the Russian who needs bribing. Nichka and her people crash this party and a shootout follows. Owen goes to rescue Meladze and kills a Russian agent in the process. Lev thinks Meladze has orchestrated this ambush, so Meladze has to kill Lev. Owen and Meladze escape again, but Owen has had enough now. He quits, but Meladze threatens to shoot him. He says that he regrets trying to save Meladze and walks away. Hannah comes to pick up Owen, but he is kidnapped first. Owen and Meladze are taken hostage by Nichka. Meladze reveals that Nichka is her daughter, Karolina. Nichka then shoots Meladze and asks Owen why he was running around with her mother.

That is the full story recap of what happened in the Netflix series The Recruit season 1. What are your thoughts on the story? Please comment below.

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