A Guide To Dead To Me's TKG Arts Side Plot

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Judy Hale (Linda Cardellini) has a lot going on on Netflix's Dead To Me. She’s had five miscarriages, one huge broken relationship, and, oh yeah, she killed a guy with her car and then ran from the scene. It’s not like she was alone in this — her ex-fiancé, Steve Wood (James Marsden), demanded she drive away from the scene of the crime. But like most criminals, Steve and Judy left a trail behind them — and not just on the side of the road. Enter Dead To Me's TKG Arts side plot.
Steve’s supposed art gallery first appears on a registry of vintage Mustangs, one of which belongs to Judy and definitely killed Judy's friend Jen's (Christina Applegate) husband. It's a red flag that ties Judy to the crime via the car Steve bought for her. But it's also a giant problem for Steve.
Steve has a lot of money. Like, a lot of money. Enough money to buy two different homes in Laguna Beach, California (yeah, that Laguna Beach) in cash to the tune of $9 million. At the beginning of Dead To Me, we didn’t really know why Steve was so wealthy. He was just one of those rich Laguna businessman with a big, vague job and an ugly modern house. He fit the bill of a man who doesn’t even know how much money he has, especially because he set up a cute little gallery, TKG Arts, just for his ex-fiancée, Judy, to display the sad paintings she does to work through her feelings about never being able to have children. It seems innocent enough, but it isn't.
TKG Arts is a shell company to help Steve do god knows what. Perhaps if we spoke Greek, we might know the what, since he has so many of his business conversations in the language (sans subtitles), but alas. But technically, the company itself isn't illegal — it's what Steve does with it that will get him in trouble.
According to Smart Asset, a shell company “is a business that’s created to hold funds and manage another entity’s financial transactions.” This isn’t illegal in and of itself, because businesses can use shell companies to hold assets or to disguise dealings with a company that’s not so popular. It’s also good, per Smart Asset, for estate planning, if a will is being divided up and the benefactors need a neutral party to sort it all out. Where things get tricky, though, is when people or businesses use shell companies to get out of paying their taxes and for money laundering (also known as making money made from illegal activities look like it came from a legitimate enterprise).
So what is this shell company hiding? Well, Steve has his legit business, Wood, Wood & Wood, which we don’t know a lot about, but seems to be on the up and up. TKG Arts, on the other hand, exists via records in that shady storage unit where he stored Judy's murder vehicle. (You would think that a smart guy like Steve wouldn’t hide all of his illegal activity in one place, but maybe Steve isn’t that smart.) As Judy tells the police at the end of Season 1 of Dead To Me, Steve uses TKG Arts to funnel illegal money in and out for his international clients — mostly a bunch of Greek men. And judging by Steve absolutely losing his mind when he finds out the FBI is on his tail, Judy is probably telling the truth.
But will we ever learn why Steve needed a company to funnel illegal money through? Why as that money illegal in the first place? At the end of season 1, Judy has snatched Steve’s money from their joint account and Steve is dead in the pool, so we're fresh out of answers unless Dead To Me season 2 is greenlit. Luckily, the FBI is all over that paperwork, so it's possible we'll learn something new... eventually.

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