‘American Gigolo’ Episode 1 Ending, Explained: Why Did Julian Go to Jail?

American Gigolo

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Welcome to the Ending Explained for episode 1 of American Gigolo, a new drama available on Paramount+ and on cable on Showtime. The series is created by David Hollander, who also works as the show’s showrunner. Hollander directs this first episode and establishes that he clearly has a vision for the show. One that goes into the darkest themes and situations from the original film and brings them to a more current context.

Jon Bernthal is, of course, the highlight of the show. The actor’s performance is of the highest level, and he manages to go through an entire spectrum of emotions in just one hour. If this is just a taste of what is coming for the rest of the season, we could be in front of one of the best TV shows of 2022. The rest of the cast also does a great job, and visual direction and production design sell the different periods where the show takes place.

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The following paragraphs contain spoilers for American Gigolo Episode 1. Read at your own risk.

Why Did Julian Go To Jail?

The beginning of this first episode introduces us to the character of Julian. He is a gigolo, he dates women, and he provides services that no other man can provide for these ladies. Everything seems to be going well for Julian, but it seems that destiny has other ideas in mind. Julian is basically arrested because one of her clients is found dead. He wakes up to a dead body, and they found his prints on a knife. Julian promises he doesn’t remember anything happening that night.

He goes to jail and in the blink of an eye, 15 years have passed. Julian has made a life in prison, and he has even become a loved member of the community. He has also become a sort of man that does things, and he has the reputation that he can help people inside the prison. However, Julian cannot help everyone. You can feel that Julian really wasn’t the person who killed that girl that fateful night. He seems resigned to being in prison for the rest of his life.

American Gigolo

However, one day, he is called to a meeting inside the prison. This meeting is the inciting incident for the entire show. You see, a criminal who is now on his deathbed has begun confessing about the many people he killed in life. One of those people was the girl Julian was sentenced for killing. This means that now Julian is a free man, as the evidence supports that it was this other person the one that killed that girl.

Julian goes out of prison and visits his mother. There we have a flashback, a very dark one. In it, we see how Julian’s mother used to sell her son to older women. One day, a very elegant woman named Olga comes and pays for Julian. Her mother basically throws him out of the house, and Olga becomes her owner. She takes Julian to Los Angeles, where Olga basically puts him to work immediately. There he meets Lorenzo, another gigolo, and Isabelle, Olga’s niece, and heir to the business.

What Is Happening Between Isabelle and Olga?

After visiting his mother and leaving her with her own misery and regrets, Julian goes back to Los Angeles. In the city, he finds his old colleague Lorenzo, who is now in a managing position inside the business. Lorenzo tells Julian he can stay at his house until Julian can deal with his issues. However, Julian makes it clear that he doesn’t want to work, at least not yet. He is too old for that, or so he says. However, in Julian’s context, he doesn’t know what else to do.

Meanwhile, in another storyline, we are introduced to the character of Michelle, a trophy wife that sets her eyes on Julian. They are immediately attracted to each other, and they begin a relationship. One that does not involve work for Julian, and for Michelle it doesn’t involve her husband. Everything seems to be going well, the two of them are truthful and real with each other. There is a real connection here. However, Julian falls into prison, and they don’t see each other again.

American Gigolo

Michelle is reintroduced in the present, and we see how her life is still miserable. She now has a son, and he is in serious trouble. Michelle’s son is 15, but he seems to be involved in a relationship with her teacher, who is 32. They both love each other, and Michelle’s son doesn’t want to hear any excuses. He loves her. Michelle and her husband are, of course, distraught, but Michelle’s husband seems to be involved in some shady business. When Julian visits her, she embraces him, she still loves him, but he cannot be seen talking to her.

As the episode ends, the criminal, who confessed he was the real assassin, says one last word to the police before he dies. The word is “Keen” not knowing what it means, the police contact Julian, who clearly knows what it means. He goes to see Isabelle, who is now the Queen, and Olga is very old and in a wheelchair, Isabelle seems to be torturing her. Olga warns Julian that “they will kill you.” Julian then goes back to work, as he sees that maybe Isabelle, was involved in sending him to prison 15 years ago.

  • Nelson loves all things related to storytelling. He has spent most of his life studying narrative, applied across all mediums; film, TV, books, and video games. Mulholland Drive is his favorite film.