The past is never dead. In one form or the other, it resurrects from the grave to haunt our “perfect present.” Author Harlan Coben has mastered the art of exploring his characters’ dark secretive past and revealing it gradually. The revelations are capable of altering a character’s persona that even astounds his audience. Due to Coben’s gripping thriller genre, Netflix is almost in love with his writing who adapted his books for the screen. Gone for Good is yet another enthralling thriller coming out from Coben’s imagination.
Like Coben’s previous work, The Innocent (El Inocente), Gone for Good mini-series follows a similar style of character introduction dedicating each episode to explore a person’s past and influence on its present. Narratively, it follows a central character, Guillaume Lucchesi, whose life gets turned upside down as his girlfriend, Judith, goes missing, and Guillaume inquisitively investigates her disappearance.
‘Gone for Good’ Plot Summary
The story begins with the incidents of June 2010. A young man, Guillaume Lucchesi, standing on the balcony, cherishes his ex-girlfriend, Sonia Kasmi, and her teenage sister Ines playing in their garden. Later that night, Guillaume hears a loud argument followed by a gunshot inside Kasmi’s house. He finds a threatening bald man (alopecia Universalis) chasing his older brother, Frederic, with a loaded gun as he reaches the premise. Guillaume unconsciously runs inside Kasmi’s house and finds Sonia’s body floating in the swimming pool. He handles a grieving Ines to save her from the shock. In the meantime, bald man Jo Ostertag shoots Fred. He falls off the cliff and drowns in the river. In one night, Guillaume loses two beloved souls.
Ten years later, Guillaume works as a social worker along with his girlfriend, Judith Conti, in an NGO (The Maison Bleue) run by his best friend, Daco. Their institution looks after the abandoned street kids and helps them to get a foster roof. After his mother’s funeral, Guillaume proposes Judith become his wife, but she disappears soon after. The past parallel timeline revisits Guillaume’s first meeting with Judith. In the present, Guillaume and Daco try to find the missing Judith while unraveling earth-shattering revelations around Judith’s past life that mysteriously connects Guillaume’s dead brother, Frederic.
Who was Judith Conti?
Guillaume met Judith when she came to Nice, France, and started working as a social worker. However, he didn’t investigate much about her past, but after her disappearance, the curiosity was inevitable. Gone for Good summarized that Judith’s real name was Nora, running away from her physically abusive husband. In a shelter in Italy, she met Frederic, his wife Judith, and his daughter, Alice. Nora was living a peaceful life in the shelter when suddenly her husband showed up. To save Nora from abuse, Fred killed Nora’s husband in the heat of the moment.
Fred warned Nora that she couldn’t live in the shelter any longer and had to spend a life of fugitives now forever. He gave his wife Judith Conti’s passport to her (as they looked familiar) and urged Nora to shift to France. Nora did as Fred commanded, and that’s how in 2017, she landed up in Nice and met the nice guy, Guillaume.
Was Frederic Lucchesi alive?
In the opening sequence, Fred was shot by Ostertag, but somehow he survived. He took shelter in Italy along with his wife, Judith, and daughter Alice. Ten years later, Fred planned a return to France, but Judith was killed by two paid hitmen in Ivry as soon as he returned. Ostertag later revealed that these assassins were hired by Fred’s associate Kesler.
While growing up, Fred had to deal with a tyrannizing father who wanted Fred to play the Tennis nationals. However, Fred wasn’t passionate about sports and thus found his calling somewhere else. In school, he started dealing drugs with his mate Kesler and Ostertag. During one of their lionhearted expeditions, Fred killed a senior who bullied Ostertag. Fred’s father bought off Ostertag’s dad, and police arrested Ostertag for the murder. By the time he came outmuscled up, bald, and threatening, Fred and Kesler had set up an empire and were ready to expand.
In his short but life-changing nefarious career, Fred met his girlfriend Judith, who worked as a bounded prostitute before Fred and friends rescued her. Fred also involved his brother’s ex-girlfriend, Sonia Kasmi, to work as a peddler in his illegal business. But as their network spread, the risk doubled, and the cops busted Fred. In his defense, he sold off Kesler and Ostertag and requested Sonia to become a witness. Little did he know at that moment that Sonia was in love with Ostertag.
Fred feared that Sonia would disclose his betrayal with Kesler and Ostertag. Thus he killed Sonia by drowning her in the pool. When Ostertag arrived at Sonia’s house and found her dead, in rage, he shot at Fred that compelled him to leave the country.
In Gone for Good last episode, titled “Fred,” he returned to Nice to save Nora and take his revenge from Kesler and Ostertag for killing his wife, Judith.
‘Gone for Good’ Ending Explained
To summarize the end, in short, it was a mess created by Frederic Lucchesi, whose stains ruined Guillaume’s life. After Fred landed in Ivry with his family, Judith was soon killed by Kesler’s men. Fred feared that forensics would investigate Judith’s DNA, leading the police directly to Nora. She was living in Nice under Judith’s name.
Thus, Nora packed her bags and immediately left Guillaume. In the meantime, she paid off a thug named Weego to forge a new passport under “Aurelie Lunel” to leave France. But before she could depart, Ostertag found her by following Guillaume, who led him straight to Nora’s hotel, The Sofitel.
After Nora’s capture, Fred came back to Nice and dug out guns from his safe house. He traced Nora’s mobile phone and initiated a rescue mission with Guillaume. At Kesler’s place, Fred shot Kesler, but before killing Ostertag, he revealed Fred’s darkest secret to Guillaume. He discovered that Fred killed Sonia and created a huge mess for his gains. Guillaume was done with her brother’s crimes, and therefore, when Fred tried to kill Ostertag, a “saint,” Guillaume didn’t hesitate to create a balance in the world. Guillaume killed Fred, and the police arrived for further ado.
While it wasn’t suggested what happened with Nora’s identity and her record, a jump cut hinted that all was done and dealt with in the background. Nora probably cleared her name from the law books and started a new life with Guillaume. The couple adopted Fred’s daughter Alice, whose location was never revealed by Fred. He only suggested that she was somewhere, and the safest place for Fred in the whole narrative was the shelter in Italy. Maybe Nora would have understood that clue, and thus she entered the screen with Alice in the last scene. In the end, Guillaume informed Alice that her father and mother were somewhere far away but together. Guillaume and Nora embraced a grieving Alice, hopefully, to give her a better life, the same way they helped so many kids as a social worker.
Gone for Good (Disparu à jamais) is a 2021 French Language Television Mini-Series created by David Elkaïm and Vincent Poymiro. It is based on the standalone thriller novel written by Harlan Coben.