What is Max's true game in Wild Cards?

The premiere of Wild Cards had a fun new crime-solving duo but is con artist Max playing her own game on her cop partner?

Wild Cards -- “Show Me the Murder” -- Image Number: WCD102a_0062r -- Pictured (L-R) : Vanessa Morgan as Max -- Photo Credit: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2023 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Wild Cards -- “Show Me the Murder” -- Image Number: WCD102a_0062r -- Pictured (L-R) : Vanessa Morgan as Max -- Photo Credit: Katie Yu/The CW -- © 2023 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /
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Wild Cards debuted on the CW with a fun and delightful mix of crime caper and rom-com. However, it ended with the idea that the main character, Max, may be playing a unique long game against her cop partner. Just what is really going on?

Caution: This article contains SPOILERS for Wild Cards Episode 1

The new series opened with Max Mitchell (Vanessa Morgan), a thief and con artist who expertly stole the ID of a rich woman to access her bank vault, supposedly stealing a necklace before being arrested. Wanting to get a basketball game, the arresting cops hand her off to Detective Cole Ellis (Giacomo Gianniotti), a former homicide detective now busted down to maritime police. 

At the station, Max (who has a gift for charming just about anyone she meets) overheard a briefing about a series of high-profile robberies and even inserted her own questions. She used her one phone call to contact Max at his houseboat and tell him where the next robbery would take place. Cole checked it out, only to be knocked out by the thief.

While not happy about this, the chief cut a deal to partner Max and Cole together on the case. If they solve it, Cole will get a desk job back, and Max will get some leniency on the theft. Despite Cole’s objections, they worked the case together.

The pair had some bickering but got along well, with Max showing her flair for conning folks and even giving Cole a kiss when he posed as her “side piece” during a casino visit. She also introduced Cole to her father, George Graham (Jason Priestley), an imprisoned con who treated his jail cell like a hotel suite. 

George was able to tell Max about Cole’s backstory: Once a top cop, he’d been on the verge of busting a murder case when a pack of stolen drugs were found in his car. While it was an obvious frame job, the brass busted him down to the river police. Cole was also mourning his late brother, a social worker killed in a mugging a year earlier. 

In the end, the pair managed to catch the thief, who’d killed a friend of Max’s along the way. However, there was more going on. 

Just what is Max really up to in Wild Cards?

With the case solved, Cole was still kept to river duty for a couple of months. However, Cole revealed that Max’s bank robbery wasn’t the necklace, it was the passport for the real maid of that rich lady, who’d been treated like a slave. Also, the woman had “stolen” her own necklace to cash in on the insurance, which got her arrested and the maid freed.

With that new information, the charges against Max were dropped as long as she went into a rehabilitation program with Cole as her “handler.” The final scene had Max visiting George in jail as George warned her how dangerous it was to get close to a cop. Max assured him it was fine as “This is going to get us both what we want.”

So it looks like Max is playing some sort of long game of her own. Could she be out to get her father out of jail? Or is she up to something else? Sure, she helped that woman out and seems to have a code of ethics. Yet it has to be remembered the woman is a master con artist, so it’s possible that she’s feigning any interest in Cole for her own gain.

It adds a bit more mystery to this spicy partnership and looks to make Wild Cards a fun new caper for CW viewers.

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Wild Cards airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW. Catch up on The CW App.