Rules of the Game ending explained: Who died in BBC drama?

The BBC thriller looks at sexual politics in the workplace and focuses around the death of an unknown character.

Rules of the Game

BBC One’s latest drama offering Rules of the Game made its debut in January 2022, with Maxine Peake starring as the ruthless chief operating officer of a family-run business with a toxic laddish culture.

Advertisement

When the company hires a new HR director, by-the-book Maya (Rakhee Thakrar), she begins to learn about the business’ shady history of sexual abuse towards women and clashes with Sam, who starts to realise that she may have been a victim herself on her way to the top.

If you’ve already watched all four episodes and need a breakdown on how it ended – not to worry, we’ve got you covered.

Here’s everything you need to know about the ending of Rules of the Game.

*Warning: the following contains spoilers for Rules of the Game*

Rules of the Game ending

At the end of episode three, we learn that it’s HR director Maya (Rakhee Thakrar) who was found dead in Fly Dynamic’s reception and while Sam (Maxine Peake) is let go by police, DI Eve Preston (Susan Wokoma) isn’t certain Maya committed suicide, having learned that she’d called the police the night before after her estranged husband Luke (Tom Forbes) broke into her house.

In a flashback, Sam asks Maya to sign a non-disclosure agreement about everything she’s discovered around Amy’s (Amy Leeson) death, Hugh and Tess’ (Callie Cooke) relationship and other misconduct – however, when Maya refuses, she calls Owen (Ben Batt) for help.

In the present, the senior team at Fly Dynamic tell their employees that Maya died by suicide, while Owen clarifies that they are going forward with the IPO (initial public offering). “We’re still on track for the floatation,” he says.

Meanwhile, Gareth (Kieran Bew) realises that his wife has emptied his locked cabinet, which contained sexual videos of him and Amy from 10 years prior. Carys (Katherine Pearce) tells him that she gave the flash drive to Sam, however Sam insists that she destroyed it before the camera reveals that she’s actually hidden it on top of a kitchen cupboard.

Rules of the Game Maxine Peake
BBC

At Maya’s funeral, Tess reads a note at the service that Maya had given to her, a quote from the Bhagavad Sita. The note is similar to one that was found with Maya’s body, which read: “Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.”

The police arrest Luke, while Sam heads back to Maya’s house with her mother, who explains that the Bhagavad Sita was a book that Maya found when she went backpacking around the US and returned with a copy of it and a yoga qualification.

As Sam borrows the book, the police ask Luke about the secret tracking device he’d placed on Maya’s car, his stalking and his breaking-and-entering, which she tells him is coercive control.

Back at the office, Sam asks what happened to the NDA and Owen says that Maya’s signature was on it before she died, adding that the entry records proving that Amy was with Gareth the night she died were now gone. When Owen goes to those records out of Maya’s office, Duncan (Dominic Vulliamy) says that he dropped her belongings off with her mother that morning.

Sam returns home and Gemma (Megan Parkinson) explains that it was Adam, Owen’s son, was the one giving Sam’s son Danny porn and hints that Owen was inappropriate towards her. Sam said that she should have told her but Gemma explains that her previous comments about sexual assault victims made her reluctant to say anything.

Sam then receives a payment of £500,000 from an account named Haranit Holdings Company and confronts Vanessa about it, however she says that it is actually Anita’s (Alison Steadman) account, not Owen’s. Sam visits Anita, who taunts Sam about her affairs with her son Gareth and her late husband Harry, who sexually harassed Sam when she started at the company and is Gemma’s real father.

Rules of the Game – Alison Steadman as Anita
BBC

Anita explains that she paid Sam for her discretion, before we learn that on the night Maya died, Maya bumped into Anita as she left the office and Anita tried to convince her to sign the NDA. When Maya declined and said she would be going to the police with all the information she’s found, Anita takes a handful of Maya’s anxiety medication and crushes it into some whiskey while she’s in the toilet. When she comes back, she offers her an Old Fashioned and Owen arrives to find Maya passed out on the sofa in her office.

Anita asks him to finish the job and he throws her over the balcony in their office before leaving the note that was in her belongings, a quote from the Bhagavad Sita.

Disgusted with what she’s found out, Sam goes home and tells her daughter the truth about who her father is. Gemma tells her that she should shut down the whole company with what she’s discovered and so Sam heads to Maya’s house to find the drive with the entry records implicating Gareth.

Unfortunately, Owen happens to be dropping Vanessa off at a ladies’ wine evening happening across the road and spots Sam entering Maya’s house. He heads in after her and attacks her, leading to a struggle. Whilst strangling Sam, he explains that Gareth killed Amy in a “sex game gone wrong” and that he had to clean up the mess – however, she hits him over the head just in time with one of Maya’s sculptures and calls the police.

Sam relays what Owen told her to the police, explaining that Gareth had a choking fetish and accidentally killed Amy during sex, while Owen disposed of the body – providing the video footage and entry records as proof. Gareth and Anita are arrested and Sam takes over the company, telling shareholders that the business has managed to redeem its image by leading a campaign with female athletes speaking out against violence towards women.

Advertisement

Sam offers Tess a job, however she turns it down. Tess tells Sam that if she believes she hasn’t changed one bit and that she’ll be watching her.

Rules of the Game airs on BBC One at 9pm on Tuesday 11th January, with the full boxset arriving on BBC iPlayer from that date onwards. For all the latest news, visit our dedicated Drama hub, or find out what else to watch with our TV Guide.