The wild twist in Sugar has us shook

Chris Tilly
Colin Farrell stroking a dog in Sugar.

Sugar is a detective show about a PI who is smarter than every other guy in the room, loves old Hollywood movies, and possesses a strict code of conduct that makes him a bit too good to be true. Which it turns out he is, thanks to a pretty major twist.

Colin Farrell plays John Sugar, the detective in question, investigating the mysterious disappearance of a Hollywood legend’s grandkid. A story that has played out in relatively predictable fashion across five episodes, aside from the odd hint that something else might be afoot.

In Episode 6 – titled ‘Go Home’ – viewers discovered what’s really going on, and the twist is something of a shock, that most definitely has us shook.

The twist in Sugar explained

John believes he’s tracked target Olivia Siegel to a safe-house, but when he gets there, the villains are waiting for him. “I’m unarmed,” Sugar tells them. “I don’t want to hurt you. I don’t want violence… I just want Olivia back. I want to bring her home.” When that doesn’t work, John takes out the bad guys, getting stabbed in the process.

Bloodied Sugar then drives around the Hollywood hills, gets fixed up, and heads to handler Ruby’s house, where she tells him “they” demand he stop searching for the girl. “Who’s they?” demands Sugar. “And if I don’t stop, what do you think they’ll do?”

“We have to trust this is for the greater good,” Ruby responds. “All of this. Everything. Everything is for the mission.”

Sugar leaves, battered and bruised, both physically and emotionally. He drives to a motel, injects something into his neck, and his hair disappears, his eyes change color, his skin takes on a blue-grey hue, and we see that John Sugar is apparently not of this world. Meaning we aren’t watching a detective series. Rather it’s been an alien invasion show this whole time; a game-changing twist that re-frames what’s come before, and dramatically alters what’s to come.

Why the big switcheroo?

“We loved many things about the pilot that are in the show,” producer Simon Kinberg tells TV Guide of the switcheroo. “The fundamental tone, the character, all of that was in that pilot. And we loved the twist. We loved this sort of mash-up of science fiction and detective genre.” 

That twist initially happened at the end of Episode 1, but fearing the dramatic shift might prevent audiences from connecting with the show’s protagonist, it was pushed to Episode 6. Which certainly makes the series unique.

“We felt like we would be able to lay in enough clues over the previous episodes so that you would look back and be like, ‘Oh yeah, now I understand,’ but you’d also have had the experience of falling in love with this character, and seeing him as this empathic, struggling human being, which in many ways he is,” Kinberg says. “We would also leave time for the audience and for the story to evolve past that reveal and settle back into a relationship with Sugar.” 

Whether that bold decision — and the whiplash that follows — succeeds remains to be seen, as there are many, many questions to be answered across the show’s final two episodes.

But it sounds like the sci-fi angle won’t dominate from here-on-in, with Kinberg stressing that Sugar remains a character study: “If we’re so lucky to get to a next season, we would still really remain focused on this primarily as a noir detective show about a really unusual detective.”

Sugar is available on Apple TV+, while for more shows streaming this month head here.

Sign up to Dexerto for free and receive:
Fewer Ads|Dark Mode|Deals in Gaming, TV and Movies, and Tech