NBC series Good Girls is a darkly comic crime romp which plays like Ozark meets Breaking Bad but with a bunch of mums. Christina Hendrix stars as alpha mother Beth, who is bored of her seemingly perfect life, while her little sister Annie (Mae Witman) is an irresponsible single mum who works at a grocery store. With Beth’s best friend Ruby (Retta), who needs money to pay for meds for her daughter who has kidney problems, the women go down an increasingly dark criminal path.
The season one pilot introduced the premise: Beth, Annie and Ruby decide to rob the store that Annie works in when they find themselves in dire financial states. Annie thinks there’s around 30k in the safe which would be enough to bail each of them out. But when they count the cash it’s closer to half a million.
Turns out that money belongs to shady gangster Rio (Manny Montana) – Annie’s dodgy boss Boomer (David Hornsby) had been turning a blind eye to money laundering via the store. Rio is not happy and he wants his money back. Unfortunately the trio have spent quite a chunk, in particular Annie who’s blown it on a new car, laptop, phone etc.
Now they have to work with Rio, initially retrieving ‘a package’ for him from Canada, which turns out to be laundered money, then taking care of an injured associate and then helping Rio ‘wash’ the laundered cash.
The structure of the show tends to see the girls come up with a cunning new way to make/launder money (or a stupid one like doing another robbery) and then inadvertently promise one criminal or another a ridiculous amount of cash to fix whatever mess they have found themselves in, meaning they are constantly grifting but never really have any meaningful, stable, available cash.
And of course criminal activities of this scale don’t go unnoticed. Family members, former bosses, employees and the cops grow suspicious as the noose tightens around the accidental suburban gangster mums network.
Here’s where we are left at the end of season three…
Is Boomer Dead?
No! Or rather, probably not. Boomer as you will recall was Annie’s awful boss at the Fine and Frugal where she worked. During the initial robbery he clocks her back tattoo and attempts to blackmail her into sleeping with him. When she won’t he tries to rape her, but Beth interupts and attacks him. The two women tie him up and keep him in a tree house but he escapes.
Boomer is a perpetual pain in the ass for the women, discovering their money laundering racket with their army of shoppers and blackmailing Mary Pat (Allison Tolman) to marry him (who in turn had been blackmailing the girls).
Beth offers Boomer a pay-off to disappear but instead he goes to the cops who put him in witness protection. Mary Pat manages to coax his location out of him and the girls head there with the intention of killing him, but tired of waiting for Mary Pat, he turns up at her place. When she tries to get away from him with her kids she accidentally – and then not accidentally – runs him over. She tells Beth, Annie and Ruby that she then cut him up and put him in the freezer. They get rid of the (packaged up) body at a massive tip.
Though we spend much of season two believing that Boomer is dead, with Beth, Annie and Ruby in the frame for his murder (Mary Pat goes to the cops), and Rio hiding the body before the police can track it down and later using it to blackmail them, a shock revelation occurs toward the end of the season. Boomer’s not dead!!! Instead the body belonged to Mary Pat’s ex-husband Jeff who died of natural causes. Mary Pat hid the body so she could continue to collect his disability cheques.
Boomer’s been hiding in his grandma’s attic but she persuades him to come clean to stop Beth going to jail for his murder.
In season three Boomer is back. We learn he got a load of face tattoos before he went to jail (presumably for faking his own death and for his part in the Fine and Frugal money laundering operation). He pops back up in season three when Rio sends the women to pick up another ‘package’ – Boomer had set a fire and broken out of prison on Rio’s command.
The last time we see Boomer he’s in a sports bag in the custody of Rio and his men. We’d expect him back in season four in some capacity.
Beth and Rio
Part of the fun of the show is the fizzy relationship between Beth and Rio. He excites her, she fascinates him and there’s crazy sexual tension between the two which is consummated more than once. Though Beth ‘ends’ things with Rio – both professionally and romantically, the fact that he has hidden Boomer’s body (which is actually Jeff’s body – see above) to help the women out means he’s able to blackmail them into washing more money for him. He’s not going to let Beth go.
However, their relationship deteriorates fast after Beth shoots Rio. At the end of season two Rio abducts her and gives her a chance to shoot the officer who has been pursuing her, Agent Turner (James Lesure), but instead she turns the gun on Rio leaving him to bleed out.
Or so she thought… season three reveals he’s not dead – Agent Turner called an ambulance and saved his life with the agreement that he would become Turner’s informant. Not one to be controlled by someone else, Rio callously murders Turner. The case against Beth is derailed but Rio is hardly going to let her get away with trying to kill him.
Faking a pregnancy Beth buys herself a bit more time, while establishing their own very successful money laundering business with the help of naive designer Lucy (Charlyne Yi), who Rio later murders.
The tension between Rio and Beth in series three is less sexual and more ‘who is going to kill whom first?’
Dean buys a gun and plans to have a go at killing Rio but Beth dissuades him. Lucy’s boyfriend Max decides he’s definitely going to kill Rio after he discovers what happened to Lucy, but he bottles it at the last minute. He says he has a cousin who might be able to help but he too isn’t the man for the job. Eventually they meet enigmatic professional hitman Mr. Fitzpatrick (Andrew McCarthy), who demands an extortionate fee to do the job. Fortunately the money laundering means they are able to scrape together the cash. Unfortunately Fitzpatrick has a ‘no crimes of passion’ policy which means that when he finds out about Beth and Rio’s former affair, their contract is void – and the women still owe him for a load of outlandish expenses.
By the end of the series, though, Fitzgerald has put Rio’s hit back on his schedule after Beth proves she’s serious about killing him.
Annie and her boyfriends
Poor old Annie doesn’t have a massive amount of luck in her love life. Reuniting with her ex-, Sadie/Ben’s (Isaiah Stannard) father Gregg (Zach Gilford), while his new wife is pregnant turned out to be a bad move which alienated her from Sadie. Later Annie dates her new boss at the Fine and Frugal, Noah (Sam Huntington) who seems great, until she finds out he’s FBI. In season three the object of her affection is Josh (Rob Heaps), a child therapist she meets when she’s sent to see an actual adult therapist. Josh becomes her therapist but she’s clearly falling for him. He has a girlfriend already (Lila) that he’s been with for many years and Annie attempts, but fails, to seduce him.
Annie’s kid who went by Sadie tells Annie in season two he’s a boy, and we understand that Annie wants money to help Sadie transition (there’s a reference made to particular drugs). In season three Sadie now goes by Ben which Annie accepts wholeheartedly, as does his dad Gregg, while Gregg’s second wife Nancy struggles initially to remember to call him Ben, and then overdoes it somewhat. While in season three Annie is struggling to get her life together, Ben is increasingly responsible and looks after his mum, including explaining to Annie’s new therapist Josh that she will become too attached and he mustn’t lead her on.
Thinking Rio is gone, Beth, Annie and Ruby embark on their own independent money laundering operation while doing normal jobs on the side, each of which contribute to the business. Ruby works in a nail salon and pinches materials, including a particular shade of polish, Annie does valet parking and gets tipped in one dollar bills which they use for the paper while Beth works at a card and stationary shop which has its own printing press.
Once they get the design right (via Lucy) and the color and texture combo right, laundering money in high enough volumes to cover their increasing costs becomes a challenge. Getting actual criminals involved doesn’t work out especially well either.
When Rio is back on the scene everything gets way more precarious – he even sends a heavy to watch Beth’s house. Eventually Beth, Ruby and Annie are printing and washing the money themselves and still having to give a cut to Rio.
Constantly striving for independence, by the end of season three the ever resourceful Beth has come up with a new plan. She and husband Dean (Matthew Lillard) have bought the whole spa business he works for at a cut price (after she robs the place of all its merchandise). They will print the fake cash and use the spa business to wash it.
Though she’s built her own fully functioning criminal enterprise by the end of season three Beth is still beholden to Rio. “When is it going to be mine?” she asks him. “You should have emptied the clip” he replies indicating that she won’t be free from him until he’s dead.
Meanwhile, Ruby and Stan (Reno Wilson) come to an agreement that they just won’t tell each other about their dubious occupations – Stan is working as security in a strip club, Ruby is… well you know. The situation works at first but begins to put real strain on their marriage, though by the end of season three the two are united.
Turner may be gone but there are new cops working the case – notably Agent Phoebe Donnegan (Lauren Lapkus) the slightly Columbo-esque dorky but dogged detective who begins to crack down on the group’s counterfeiting business. She deduces early on that it’s women running things, and follows the trail to Ruby via the charity manicure and pedicure event she organises (as a front to get her hands on supplies of the very specific color of nail polish she needs for the fake cash). Agent Donnegan has swiped Ruby’s phone while getting her nails done and found it full of pictures of her, Beth and Annie, tipping her off to the fact that Ruby’s not in it alone. Chances are she’ll be the main antagonist for the three in season four.
Good Girls season four will air on NBC from March 7