Don’t Expect to Find Out Why Lisa Kudrow Is in Jail in ‘Space Force’

  • After a brief time jump early in the first episode of Space Force, Lisa Kudrow’s character, Maggie Naird, is suddenly in jail.
  • Maggie is the wife of Mark Naird (Steve Carell). While a 40-year sentence is alluded to, it’s never clear what exactly she was convicted of doing.
  • The first season of Space Force is now streaming on Netflix.

Netflix’s latest big comedy, Space Force, is all about the exploration of outer space (duh), and the manpower that makes up the titular newly-formed United States service branch. It’s an odd development, then, when the biggest question you’re asking after watching a bunch of episodes isn’t one pertaining to science, military operations, or outer space exploration. No—instead, anyone watching the show is left to wonder why, exactly, Maggie Naird (played by Friends star Lisa Kudrow) has found herself in prison.

The show’s opening sequence features Mark Naird (Steve Carell), a four-star general, and getting his position and post as the commander of the newly-formed Space Force. He discusses his family’s necessary move to Colorado for the position in bed with Maggie, and then a black screen flashes, and time jumps forward a year. It takes a few scenes to catch up, but we find out that the move to the Mountain West apparently didn’t go so well—as Maggie is now incarcerated.

If you were wondering if you might have missed something about how this happened, well, don’t go rewinding over and over again. The entire first season of Space Force comes and goes without a proper explanation of why Maggie is behind bars.

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Throughout the first season, Maggie’s scenes—she only appears in 5 of the 10 episodes—take place in the prison, and we get basically no idea of what she’s done. We do get a few hints, though—including multiple references to her 40-year sentence. There are also references to everyone knowing what’s going on with Mark’s wife, so there’s a decent chance that whatever happened was a national scandal of some scale (not that any scandal stays on anyone’s mind for too long with the speedy rate of today’s 24-hour news cycle).

In an interview with Collider, series creator Greg Daniels said that this was all by design. “Both [Co-creator and star Steve Carell] and I think that it’s very funny to just hear little hints of it, and not know the full story, that it gives her character a certain mysterious energy,” he explained, adding that role of the wife of a senior military officer is often an enormous one, and having Maggie in prison only makes the task at hand for Mark even bigger. “She was the perfect Martha Stewart-ish wife, and ended up following the Martha Stewart path even more than she thought.”

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Should the show continue onto for more seasons, Daniels feels pretty confident that viewers will get an answer to their question“I think that by the end of the series we’ll find out,” he told Collider. “But not [in the] first season.”

So for now, you’ll have to just guess what Maggie did that was bad enough to earn her four decades in the clink. Did she kill someone? Was it some white collar financial crime? We’ll find out in the future, and maybe get a flashback episode where Space Force starts to feel like Orange Is The New Black. More spotlight for Lisa Kudrow in this role, please.

Evan is an associate editor for Men’s Health, with bylines in The New York Times, MTV News, Brooklyn Magazine, and VICE.

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