Spenser Confidential Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

Pros: Alan Arkin as Henry Simoli Cons: Predictable and trivial plot; straightforward action scenes; total budget for the film Spenser Confidential / “Spenser’s Justice”

Genre detective, action
Directed by Peter Berg
Starring: Mark Wahlberg (Spencer), Winston Duke (Hawke), Alan Arkin (Henry Simoli), Eliza Schlesinger (Cissie Davis), Bookem Woodbine (Driscoll), Michael Gaston (Captain John Boylan), etc.
Studios Original Film, Netflix
Year of release 2020
IMDb website

Spencer was a good cop – honest, responsible, caring… and then he served five years in prison for assaulting a superior officer. His only desire after his release is to learn to be a truck driver, go to Arizona and start all over again. But on the day of his release from prison, his former boss, the same Captain Boylan, whom he once attacked, is brutally killed, and the only suspect, another policeman, is found shot to death in a car near his own house. Spencer would like to ignore everything that is happening, continue his studies and go to Arizona, but he cannot. He’s not that kind of person.

Spenser Confidential is, with a number of changes and cuts, an adaptation of Ice Atkins’ mystery Wonderland, part of the Spenser series of novels (his first name is never given) begun by Robert Parker in 1973. Atkins took up the baton after Parker’s death in 2010. The series currently includes 49 novels, and the Netflix film adaptation is the fourth attempt to bring detective stories to television. Based on the ending of Spenser Confidential, Netflix plans to continue the series.


Director Peter Berg and actor Mark Wahlberg found each other in 2012. Since then, Mark Wahlberg has starred in ALL of Peter Berg’s films: Lone Survivor (2013), Deepwater Horizon (2016), Patriots Day (2016), Mile 22 ( 2018) and now Spencer Confidential. And although it was not these films, but Daddy’s Home and Transformers: The Last Knight that made Mark Wahlberg the highest paid actor of 2017, the fees for Berg’s films were also quite large. In a word, Berg and Wahlberg are a well-working duo… but for some reason this is not visible from Spenser Confidential.


Perhaps this is due to the extremely predictable script, where the main villain can be figured out literally in the first fifteen minutes of the film, and the main character stands out with only one trait – incredible stubbornness and the ability to take a punch. The rest of the characters in the film are also not distinguished by any complexity of characters. Spencer’s ex-girlfriend is an ambitious bitch who can’t forgive him for his five years in prison. Spencer’s partner, Hawk, is a typical millennial, a huge fellow with the habits of a child. The only good thing about this film is The Kominsky Method star Alan Arkin, who plays Henry Simoli, Spencer’s mentor and friend.


Spenser Confidential looks like a budget cop action movie straight out of the 90s. Spencer’s only trick is his ability to endure beatings and get into trouble, and his complete unfamiliarity with modern technology. In general, the budget here is felt in literally everything, from staging fights to a small cast, simple camera work and editing. It looks like Netflix originally planned to make this movie on the cheap, and that’s exactly what it looks like.


Obviously, Spenser Confidential had no chance of collecting any decent box office in the cinema, but now, due to the postponement of many films and the closure of halls, it has a chance. And then, you see, Netflix will be honored with a sequel. We hope next time with a more sane script and more attention to character development.


Unfortunately, Spenser Confidential is a very weak detective story with a trivial plot that you will forget the next day after watching it

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