Tyler Perry, the prolific actor-writer-director-producer best known for the Madea franchise, is back with Mea Culpa, his overtly soap opera take on two throwback Hollywood staples – the legal thriller and erotic thriller.


Starring Destiny’s Child singer Kelly Rowland in her first leading role and Moonlight’s Trevante Rhodes, Rowland plays Mea – a high-powered defence attorney in Chicago who takes the case of Zyair (Rhodes), an artist accused of murdering his girlfriend and to whom all the evidence points.

If you've seen the film and are wondering what on earth you've just watched, read on for a full recap and ending explainer for Mea Culpa.

What in Mea Culpa on Netflix?

We start with Mea’s unhappy home life where she suspects her husband, a drug addict who recently lost his job, of infidelity. Relations aren’t much better with her terminally ill mother-in-law who appears to resent her very existence. Mea’s brother-in-law, Ray, is also the district attorney.

She then meets Zyair in her office where he is commanding and authoritative and set to stand trial for the murder of his girlfriend. Crucially, no body was ever found but brain fragments were in one of his paintings and her blood had soaked through into a below apartment. He appears to be the only possible killer and does not exactly carry himself like an innocent man but vehemently professes his innocence.

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Mea takes the case and quickly appears to be beguiled by the overtly sexual Zyair as her own marriage peters out. He tries to seduce her and she rebuffs him and they take it in turns to try and professionally separate before agreeing to continue with the case.

Mea and Zyair finally have sex in a surreally elaborate sequence in his art studio in which they both become plastered in paint.

The guilt of the adultery begins to grind down Mea and she leaves Zyair both as a client and a lover.

Mea Culpa on Netflix ending explained

Mea confesses to sleeping with Zyair to her husband in front of his entire family who, led by his crazy mother, banish her from their house.

There’s then a sudden cut to Mea on holiday in the Dominican Republic as a news report broadcasts that Zyair has accepted a plea deal and the case won’t go to trial.

Shortly afterwards and rather preposterously Mea sees a hotel maid who looks exactly like the woman Zyair supposedly killed, with the attorney now thinking her client turned lover was innocent after all. And it turns out to be the woman that was thought dead, leading Mea to smell a conspiracy.

Mea returns to her husband’s home where she discovers one of Zyair’s paintings in a closet of his sister Charlise, meaning she also slept with the artist as he painted the women he had sex with.

Things then begin to get really crazy as Mea gets boxed in by Ray and her mother-in-law as the atmosphere grows tense.

Her husband’s mum then reveals that she had been faking her cancer the entire time and had never even been diagnosed and the whole plot was part of a conspiracy to help Ray win favour with the city to run for mayor, thinking winning a high profile case would make him popular with Chicagoans.

It was his idea to fix Zyair for murder from the start so that he could simultaneously boost his profile and get revenge on his adulterous partner.

It then kicks off in the kitchen as Ray tries to kill Mea, first by poisoning her with wine then guns get draw, kitchen knives are wielded and frying pans are thrown around.

As Mea and Chalise try and escape from the house, Charlise gets stabbed while Mea makes it out to the car.

Ray and his mother desperately try and stop her but she successfully runs away after crashing the car – appearing to kill her mother-in-law with the impact.

Fleeing on foot, Mea’s husband Kal sees and picks her up and appears confused by what’s going on and calls the police. Only he doesn’t. He calls his brother instead, revealing his explicit participation in the complicated scheme.

Fearing for her life again, Mea swerves the car into an oncoming lorry which kills Kal.

A news report then reveals that Ray has been arrested and charged with a number of offences as the scheme has been brought to light.

The final shots show the actually completely innocent Zyair being exonerated and he gives a brief press conference outside of court where he thanks Mea for her help.

She is watching in the shadows when she receives a text from the artist asking to meet but instead she throws her phone in the bin, ready to go about her life anew.

Mea Cupla is streaming now on Netflix. Sign up for Netflix from £4.99 a month. Netflix is also available on Sky Glass and Virgin Media Stream.

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