‘Role Play’ Ending Explained & Film Summary: What Happened To Emma And Her Family?


Thomas Vincent’s Role Play, starring Kaley Cuoco and David Oyelowo, is an action drama that revolves around the age-old plot of a contractor killer living a dual life. Big Bang’s Kaley Cuoco plays the role of Emma Brackett, a skilled assassin who is also a loving wife and a caring mother. Emma fell in love with Dave seven years ago, and they eventually got married and had their baby girl, Caroline. Dave’s son, Wyatt, from his previous marriage, had also accepted Emma as his mother. The family of four was almost perfect, but lately, Emma’s frequent work trips made Dave wonder if their marriage had lost its spark. Dave had no idea what a big surprise he was in for.

Spoiler Alert

Who was the man at the bar?

Emma felt incredibly guilty after she forgot her marriage anniversary. She knew she had to make up for it, and after taking a hint from Dave’s anniversary present, she decided that they should role-play. They planned to meet at the bar of a fancy hotel as two strangers. Changing appearances was not new for Emma, and with a brunette wig on, she was ready to spend quality time with her husband. Dave got stuck in traffic, and in the meantime, an elderly man approached Emma. He struck up a conversation with her, even though she showed no interest. Emma felt a little uncomfortable when he repeatedly questioned her about her job. She could sense things were about to get wild as Bob constantly mentioned that her face looked exceptionally familiar. Bob’s overenthusiastic approach after he joined Dave and Emma once again at the bar must have made Emma feel more confident about his ill intentions. The couple finally got some time alone after they managed to bid Bob goodbye. Dave was quite drunk when they returned to their room, and while he caught up on his sleep, Emma had business to take care of. She walked up to Bob’s room, and as it turned out, Bob was an independent contract killer. He was in town for business, and he did not expect to come across a familiar face.

Emma had a bounty to her name, and Bob recognized her. To be completely sure, he rechecked the picture of Emma (Anna), and it was a perfect match. The bounty was set by an association called the Sovereign, and they wanted Emma alive. Emma used to work for the Sovereign, and they were searching for her after she chose to go off-grid. Bob was ready to cut a deal with Emma as an alternative, and he demanded a 60% commission on her future assignments. He eventually agreed to come down to 40%, but it was still not within Emma’s budget. She asked him to go ahead and make the call to Sovereign, though she was pretty confident that the poison in his system would make the task immensely difficult. Emma explained that she had poisoned Bob’s drink while they were at the bar. The minute he had taken his eyes off his drink, she had poured her lethal powder into it. The only reason why Emma met Bob in his room was because she wanted to make sure that he did not make a call to Sovereign. 

Bob refused to give up, even though his body was collapsing. Before dying, he tried to shoot Emma, and it resulted in quite a mess. Emma managed to stop Bob, but the condition of the room attracted police attention the next morning. After returning home, Dave was surprised to learn that the man they met at the bar was murdered, and they were the primary suspects. Dave and Emma were seen talking to Bob, and it was captured on CCTV. Emma knew she had to escape before it was too late. She lied about another work meeting and ended up traveling to Berlin to meet her handler, Raj.

Who was Emma?

Dave waited at the airport to get Emma back home, but he could not find her, and she did not receive his calls. Soon, Dave was brought to the police station for interrogation. He was nervous knowing that they were the primary suspects in the recent hotel murder case, and he tried to prove his innocence in the most genuine way. But to his surprise, he realized that the detectives were trying to suggest something else. Special Agent Gwen Carver joined the meeting to discuss Emma’s case. Dave was surprised to learn that the woman he was married to was not named Emma Rayburn. She had stolen the identity of a deceased woman by that name, and for the last seven years, she had been living a false life. Dave was shown pictures of his wife arriving at Buenos Aires airport last week. Dave realized that Emma had lied to him about the meeting at Nebraska. Dave learned the true identity of the man he met at the hotel bar, a contract killer named Derek Worley. He was shocked to learn that Raj was not his wife’s supervisor but her dealer, who operated on the dark web.

Dave discovered that Emma’s real name was Anna Peller, and she was a wanted criminal. Dave initially thought it was all an elaborate joke, but he soon realized everyone in the room was quite serious about the discussion. Dave returned home to find a secret suitcase filled with fake passports, wigs, and ammunition. The truth started to sink in, but at the same time, he trusted his wife. He knew that he loved the woman he married, and before arriving at any conclusion, he wanted to have a word with her. The police tried to win Dave on their side, but he never gave in to it. He ended up dialing every number he found in the several visiting cards she had kept hidden, and surprisingly, one connected. Emma, aka Anna, received the call, and he figured out that she was in Berlin. He wanted to discuss the matter in person, and his only option was to travel to Berlin. Meanwhile, Sovereign made it difficult for Anna to escape. They followed her wherever she went, and her handler died in a shootout. Emma was alone, and all she wanted was to return home to her loving family.

Who are Gwen Carver and the Sovereign?

Emma (Anna) and Dave finally reunite at a bar in Berlin in Role Play. Emma was ready to come clean about her past, and Dave was all ears. She admitted that her real name was Anna, and she was trained to become a killer. Her father was a secret service agent, but he retired early and started his business. Sovereign was the private security company that he started with intelligence agent Gwen Carver, the same woman Dave was introduced to back home. Carver took Anna under her wing when her father died. She was introduced to violence at a young age, and she was trained to kill. During her impressionable years, she believed every word Gwen said and was convinced that she was eradicating evil by killing the bad guys, but as she grew up, she realized it was all a lie. 

Anna met Dave during a job in Boston, and for the first time, she felt seen. From that day on, all she wanted was a normal life, and she decided to only take jobs once or twice a year to pay for the protection of her family. Even though every detail she had said about herself was a lie, she wanted Dave to believe that her feelings for him were genuine. She escaped to Berlin to get Canadian passports, so her family could start their lives afresh. Emma decided that she would no longer work as a contract killer as soon as she safely escaped the threat of Sovereign. Even after finding out everything about his wife, Dave loved her and wanted to be with her. As Emma and Dave had an honest conversation, members of the Sovereign surrounded them and eventually drugged them and brought them to Gwen Carver.

What happened to Emma and her family?

In the end, Emma found out that it was not only her and Dave that Gwen kidnapped but also her children. Gwen was desperate to have Emma join Sovereign once again. She felt that the life Emma chose was too ordinary to ever suit her taste. Gwen believed Anna owed her life to her since she was the one who looked after her. Gwen proposed Anna join Sovereign again, and she promised to never harm her children. Naturally, the children would one day lead the same life that Anna did. The only problem in the entire scenario was Dave. Gwen had no use for Dave, and he was only a menace. She instructed Anna to kill Dave, or else she would lose her children.

Dave was presented before Anna, and as the two walked into the woods together, a sniper kept a close watch. Anna had a plan in mind, and at the end of Role Play, she shot Dave. He collapsed on the ground, and a Sovereign member came in to check his status. As the woman packed Dave’s body, Emma attacked her precisely when the sniper no longer had access to them. After Emma killed the threat, we found out that Dave was still alive. She shot him where it would cause the least damage, and he would survive. Emma eventually got the sniper as well, and she was ready to destroy Gwen.

The film ends with a fight sequence between Emma and Gwen’s right hand, Ji, and after quite a struggle, Emma triumphed. The action drama ends with a peek-a-boo between Gwen and Emma. The student was now better than her mentor, and she attacked Gwen when she least expected it. As Gwen bled to death, Emma walked away from her to find her family. Emma proved that she would give her life if needed to protect her family. As unglamorous as her life seemed, she was happy being Emma and not Anna. After spending a couple of uncertain days, she was relieved to see her children alive and well. They returned to being a typical family after escaping the Sovereign camp. We expect them to move to Canada since that was Emma’s safest bet.

Role Play‘s ending suggests that it is the end of Sovereign, but you never know; there might as well be one Gwen worshipper who might seek revenge. The man in the playhouse was still alive, and we might get an entire backstory that would justify his reasons to go after Emma. But until then, Emma and Dave will get to live their lives as a regular couple, and who knows, maybe Emma will finally take up a course to change her life’s direction!

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Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest.

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