Does Charlie Go Bad In Little Drummer Girl? Here's The Finale's Answer

Photo: Courtesy of AMC.
Warning: Spoilers ahead for the Little Drummer Girl finale.
There is one problem with acting: sometimes the line between reality and fiction begins to blur. This unsettling fact becomes clear while watching AMC’s The Little Drummer Girl miniseries unfold. Yes, leading lady Charlie Ross (Frances Pugh) is recruited as an Israeli asset by Kurtz (Michael Shannon) and trained by love interest Gadi “Joseph” Becker (Alexander Skarsgard). But the young actress is an open heart who doesn’t have any firm religious beliefs of her own.
By Drummer Girl’s final evening, viewers are left wondering if Charlie could be seduced to the side of the terrorists she’s meant to take down. After all, they certainly have a compelling and emotional case once an anti-Palestinian bombing in Lebanon kills a little girl Charlie had grown very close to in the fifth episode.
So, when the finale sets Charlie up to commit the final crime in Little Drummer Girl, it sure seems like she just might. But, as we thankfully learn, the British thriller’s heroine doesn’t break bad — that doesn’t mean she didn’t come awfully close, even after her mission was supposedly done.
All appears saved in the first act of the finale, when Charlie is charged by terrorist mastermind Khalil (Charif Ghattas) with delivering a bomb to an Israeli woman professor’s (Ricki Hayut) speech at the University Of Greater London. This deed would be the last piece to Khalil’s trio of attacks over the course of the show. However, Charlie gives Gadi the full low-down on the deadly suitcase the moment she sees him. The Israeli-British plan to save the professor, whose name is Minkel, goes off without a hitch. The bomb explodes in a secure area, convincing the terrorists their plan worked and saving Minkel’s life.
Charlie is not a terrorist.
Unfortunately, however, everything goes awry after Charlie, Gadi, Kurtz & Co. manage to foil Khalil’s plan. While Charlie assumes she is done with her undercover work now that the threat has been neutralized, Kurtz decides to go bigger. He wants Charlie to return to Khalil and become his permanent partner, therefore placing the actress right next to the most powerful person among the spymaster’s enemies. Gadi decides to override Kurtz’s orders and tells Charlie to instead seduce Khalil that evening. Then, when he is “vulnerable” — aka passed out after sex — the team can eliminate the terrorist. All Charlie has to do is remove the batteries of her locator when the time is right. The actress-turned-asset, who has clearly fallen for Gadi, is infuriated he is willing to sexually exploit her in such a demeaning way.
This is when we should be reminded of British intelligence officer Picton’s (Game of Thrones’ Charles Dance) explanation of how a “little drummer boy,” or girl in this case, is created. In the prior episode, the spy retells the story of brutally beating an Israeli boy in the 1940s for information on his friends. Picton’s violent interrogation didn’t work, and the boy said nothing. “When I let him go, I thought to myself, ‘God, if I haven’t made a little drummer boy right here. Ready to bang his gong into the next battle they find for him,’” the aging G-man tells Kurtz.
Gadi’s emotional betrayal of Charlie is what nearly pushes her to side with Khalil — not the carnage she saw in Lebanon. We know as much because Charlie confesses everything to Khalil, telling him the entire story of the Israelis’ plan, from the faked explosion to her involvement in his baby brother Salim's (Amir Khoury) death. Up until that moment, Charlie’s fabricated relationship with Salim had been her cover. If Gadi hadn’t alienated Charlie so thouroughly, it’s unlikely she would have felt such a deep connection with a terrorist like Khalil. Especially not to the point where she sobs over his body, as Charlie does once Gadi shoots Khalil to death.
At least it seems like Charlie moves on from her intense feels for Khalil by the end of Little Drummer Girl. She wraps the series by tracking down Gadi and seemingly retiring in his latest mysterious European hiding spot. These two have a lot to talk about.
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