Is Max Meladze dead in The Recruit?

By Adam Lock
Published: December 19, 2022 (Last updated: February 17, 2024)
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Is Max Meladze dead in The Recruit? This article discusses the final scene of the season 1 finale of Netflix’s The Recruit and contains spoilers. 

On Friday, 16th December 2022, Netflix released their latest spy-adventure series The Recruit, which has steadily made its way up the top 10 TV Programmes list over its first weekend. The series from creator Alexi Hawley (The Rookie) centers on a naive CIA lawyer called Owen Hendricks (Noah Centineo), who finds himself caught up in the deadly world of American espionage and Russian crime. His first major assignment involves Max Meladze, a mysterious and dangerous individual who will go on to change his life forever. Fans who have binge-watched the entire series already will be desperate to know one outcome from the show, is Max Meladze dead?

Who is Max Meladze?

A key player in the series, Max Meladze is a Belarusian spy working for America Intelligence, someone who is now capable of dismantling their entire agency with her classified knowledge. She was a vital CIA asset back in the day, working deep undercover in the Russian and Belarusian Mafia, but she has since turned on the Americans after a set of unfortunate events in the States. She was abandoned and left to fend for herself after seeking asylum in the US. This led to her becoming involved with the wrong types and then she committed a vengeful murder. Max was caught and thrown in prison in Phoenix, Arizona for killing trucker Salvatore Kwitny.

We’re introduced to the criminal after she has sent a threatening letter to the CIA, one that is intercepted by rookie lawyer Owen Hendricks. In the gray-mail letter, Max threatens to release classified information about her time infiltrating the Russian Mafia and her correspondences with the Americans, particularly senior caseworker Xander Goi and the mysterious Not Bob. It is later revealed that her knowledge is even greater than first thought, due to her being in charge of other assets at the time. She is clearly a ruthless and formidable foe, happy to kill and torture others to get what she wants. Someone that cannot be trusted at all.

Who plays Max Meladze in The Recruit?

Max Meladze is played by Laura Haddock, a Hollywood actress who you may recognize from her role in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. In those Marvel films, she played Meredith Quill, Peter Quill’s mother. She can also be found in The Inbetweeners Movie, Transformers: The Last Knight, and Downton Abbey: A New Era. Laura Haddock is an English actress who used a strong Russian accent for her role as the relentless criminal mastermind.

Is Max Meladze dead in The Recruit?

In the final scene of the season 1 finale of The Recruit, Owen and Max are captured and taken hostage. Tied to chairs in a grim-looking basement, they discover that Nichka Lashin is behind this kidnapping. Max looks up at Nichka as she enters the room but calls her by a different name – Karolina. Looks like Nichka is Max’s daughter Karolina. There’s no time for a family reunion though as Nichka/Karolina shoots her mother at close range, right in the chest.

The shock and pain of the shot seem to knock Max out instantly. There is clearly blood oozing from her bullet wound. Therefore, it seems unlikely that she was wearing a bulletproof vest at the time. The question remains though, could Max survive this shot, and does she? Close-range gunshot wounds are a lottery really. She could die instantaneously or live for hours. I imagine that the aftermath of this shooting would be addressed in a second season if Netflix are to renew the series.

It is a surprising climax to the series that leaves things open-ended for the future of the series. If I was to hazard a guess, I’d bet that Max will survive this injury and live to fight another day, if she can receive the appropriate medical treatment in time. The showrunners would be scoring an own goal of sorts if they killed off one of their more interesting characters so early on in the show’s run.

What do you think happens to Max next? Is she dead? Please comment below. 

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