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Netflix’s ‘Scams’ Ending, Explained

November 6, 2019
7 min read

All Kusano ever wanted was to provide for his family. He could have survived in a mediocre job that paid enough to keep him floating. But when it comes between saving his father, he decides that conning is not really that bad of a thing. He joins a team of scammers who focus on the rich elders of Japan and make millions in the process. But everything comes with a cost, and soon, each will have to pay their due. ‘Scams’ focuses on this journey, going through a number of twists and turns before teaching them a lesson. If you haven’t yet seen the show, head over to Netflix.

SPOILERS AHEAD

Plot Summary

After enjoying all the money from the scamming, a turn in the events comes when Kusano’s mother discovers what he is doing. He expects her to be angry and disappointed in him, and even though she is, she can’t help but accept that his job is the only thing that has kept them going. He has not only paid for the medical care of his father but has also paid off his student loans. Rewind to the first episode, and he thought that it was impossible to pay off that debt. So, yes, he has earned a lot. But that’s not the end of it.

After some time, things become to take a difficult turn, and not just because he has messed up. He is the part of a team and while he can account for his credibility and the hard work he puts in, there is no anticipating the actions of other members. Moreover, the involvement of the Yakuza makes it even more complicated for Kanbe to handle the business. Even the minor losses are exponentially raised, and by the time everything is resolved, they are neck-deep in debt of the crime lords while the cops close in on them.

Who Was Stealing the Money?

One of the reasons that the problems escalate to such an extent is the betrayal of the team members. Earlier, Kurusu has expressed his desire to get something more from his job. He has displayed a disliking for Kusano, but it didn’t count for much. But on the first sign of trouble, he not only prepares to jump the ship but also starts sabotaging it. With his goons, whom Kusano thinks to be “cavemen”, he plans to rob his own employer.

With the help of his mother, Kusano comes up with a list of old people who have a lot of money in their bank accounts, but the added bonus is the knowledge of their vulnerabilities. They have more intimate knowledge of the family members, even of the level of dementia that the victims suffer from. This allows the profits of the team to fly through the roof, but then the robberies happen.

There is a system in place when it comes to receiving the money from the victim and delivering it to the boss. Because Kurusu knows who the victim is and what route the money will take, he asks his friends to steal the money before it finds its way to the boss. Moreover, he knows that Kusano’s special list has not been shared with the Kanbe, so it won’t be a direct attack on the work that was lined up by him.

After a couple of robberies, it becomes clear that someone from the inside has betrayed them. While Kusano, and even Kanbe, refuses to accept it, the fact that the people whose names are on the list are the only targets makes treachery irrefutable. To Kurusu’s own foolishness, he underestimates Kanbe, which is mostly because he doesn’t know about Onuma. And where to begin about that character! Every time he comes around, the screen lights up, and even in his violence and gore, we want to see more of him.

Previously, he had rescued Kusano from Yamada. This time, he is sent to locate the robbers. When the next scam is successful, Kusano asks Kanbe to send the receiver. Kurusu relays this information to his friends and they reach the designated point to jump on the middle man and steal the money. However, Kanbe sends Onuma in place of his regular man, which leads them to Kurusu’s friends. In a scene which is not just violent, but also funny, Onuma single-handedly overcomes his friends, while Kurusu runs away. Eventually, he is found and killed, but that is not the most shocking thing about this betrayal. The real punch comes when it is revealed that Seimiya, too, was involved in this.

Ever since their first day on the job, Seimiya and Kusano had been friends. He survived the torturous training and eventually got over their personal problems with the help of the money they got from the scams. They even broke the protocol and became friends. Seimiya truly revered Kusano and was ready to follow him anywhere, just as we see Dokugawa following Kanbe. However, after the involvement of his mother, Kusano decides to meet the current benchmark and then quit it.

When Seimiya comes to know about it, he becomes angry because of two reasons. First, he really thought that they had a future in this line. And secondly, he has a pile of debt to pay and Kusano’s departure messes up his plans. He needs to pay back the money before the office is closed down, so he turns towards Kurusu, asking for help. When he discovers what his colleague has been doing, he joins in to share the profits.

The Ending: What Happens to Kusano?

After surviving the betrayal and clearing up the office, the whole team disperses. Out of the five, one is killed by Onuma, the other is tasered by Misaki’s grandmother and the third one disappears after parting ways. Kanbe decides to retire and hands over his shops to Dokugawa. However, before they can actually lead that life, they are mistakenly killed by an old couple, meeting a karmic end.

Seimiya is let go by Kusano and he takes up a regular job that pays well and, above all, is legal. Kusano, too, tries to turn back to the normal ways, but by now, the cops have caught up with him. Yamada, who miraculously survives Onuma, returns to ask for the money which Kusano frustratingly throws at this face. Due to the attack on her grandmother and herself, Misaki gives up the name of Kusano to the cops and they arrest him. However, she later rescinds her complaint and he is let go.

As he walks out of the station, Kusano sees Misaki standing on the other side of the road. But before he can reach her, a car stops in front of him and he finds Shotaro in it. The last time we saw Shotaro was in the first episode. After stealing money from the ATMs, he gets in trouble and is saved by Kusano. But then, their car crashes, and he runs away with the money. This lands Kusano in crosshairs with Yamada which eventually leads him to the scamming ring. So, if there is one person who can be held responsible for all this mess, it is Shotaro.

Finally, everything is on track for Kusano. His financial situation has stabilised, his father is okay and it looks like he might finally get together with Misaki. What does Shotaro’s return mean for him? Being a good person, Kusano could welcome him back in his life, but without fully forgiving him. It looks like Shotaro is doing well and he might give the money to Kusano which he had stolen from Yamada. He might also offer another job, illegal of course, to Kusano, but by now, the protagonist knows exactly what the life of crime entails.

The reason he got into this was his family. Now that everything is good, there is no excuse for him to return to the criminal world. However, he had also admitted at one point that this was the best job he had ever had. He had started to enjoy it. So, who’s to say that he might not be tempted again?

Read More: Scams Review | Is Scams Based on a True Story

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