Vortex is a French science fiction thriller-drama miniseries on Netflix that successfully combines technological glitches with indirect time travel and the horrific effects of the contradiction that can arise from such time travel. The plot is centered around Ludovic Beguin, a police officer who experiences a bizarre glitch in his virtual reality setup used for an investigation as he starts to see and interact with his dead wife, Melanie, who passed away twenty-seven years ago. Although heavier on the dramatic side than on elements of science fiction, Vortex is quite enjoyable and interesting to watch.
‘Vortex’ Plot Summary: What Is The Miniseries About?
Vortex begins in the early morning of July 19, 1998, when loving couple Ludo and Melanie are introduced to us at their home in Brest, France. Having recently become parents to a baby daughter, much of their thoughts and attention are spent on taking care of infant Juliette. On this particular morning, after checking on the baby, Melanie decides to go on her run, which is part of her daily schedule. As a police officer who perhaps spends most of his days amidst the action, Ludo prefers to relax and sleep in during such times, and he does so this morning as well. By the time the doorbell to their house rings, Ludo is already quite late, but his life completely changes after opening the door. His best friend and colleague, Nathan, informs him that Melanie has been found dead at Corsen Beach, and the police believe that the woman had accidentally fallen to her death from one of the high cliffs during her run.
Twenty-seven years have passed since that fateful day and the incident, and it is now 2025 when Ludo Beguin continues to serve as a police officer. Owing to the technological developments of the time, a new virtual reality setup has become part of the police investigation method, as a swarm of drones is flown over a crime scene to make a virtual map of the entire scene that can be used by detectives later. Ludo and Nathan arrive at one such crime scene on July 7, where a woman named Zoe Levy is found dead from drowning, but foul play is suspected. This death has happened on the very same Corsen beach where Melanie was once found, and Ludo has to keep himself composed during the initial investigation. Returning to the police station, the man then hurriedly asks for the VR file to be readied. The tech personnel of the force, Agathe, advises against such hurrying, but Ludo asks for the file to be embedded into the pair of glasses through which it is to be accessed, even before the full encryption has finished. Possibly due to this very incomplete state of the VR data, Ludo faces an almost impossible situation inside the VR space as he sees Melanie, back from 1998, sitting in one corner of the beach. Upon realizing that they can very easily talk and interact with each other, Ludo decides that he must help Melanie avoid death by finding out exactly how she had died.
What Are Some Of The Effects Of The Past That Drastically Change The Present?
There is a very deep emphasis in Vortex series on the fact that decisions and choices in the past can easily change the reality of the present in an almost butterfly-effect manner, meaning that small changes can also have much bigger repercussions. Vortex presents multiple such scenarios, and the first few episodes are spent bringing about these changes and then also having to undo them. The idea of testing out whether they can change the future first comes to Ludo’s mind as he convinces Melanie not to visit a friend’s house on one particular night in 1998. The friends had decided to gather and support the French national football team in the World Cup semi-finals on that night, and at present, in 2025, Ludo also had a group photo from the night. While Melanie was initially in the photo, she disappears after the woman skips visiting the party in 1998. Although this proves to the two that they can indeed change the future, it also brings to mind the scarier thought of them actually changing people’s lives. Ludo’s best friend and colleague, police officer Nathan Leroy, had been married to a woman named Florence for all these 27 years. Florence happened to be a colleague of Melanie at the District Attorney’s office, where both used to work as lawyers. In fact, Nathan and Florence had met each other for the first time at that very gathering for the World Cup semi-finals, where Melanie had brought her colleague along. But now, in the altered reality, Florence does not visit the gathering, just as her only friend, Melanie, also does not visit. This, in turn, results in Nathan being single and still looking for love in 2025, whereas in reality, he had been married to Florence and even had two children with her.
Seeing how he and Melanie had caused trouble for his best friend, Ludo decides that they must change the past once again and somehow ensure that Nathan and Florence once again end up being together. Such a reversal is carried out by Melanie in 1998, since she cannot tell anybody else about this bizarre situation where she is in contact with Ludo from the future. The woman skillfully arranges a double date for herself, Ludo, Nathan, and Florence, but then she and her husband ultimately do not show up. This allows Nathan and Florence to get to know each other on their own and gives them enough time and chance to get close to each other. Following this change in the past, Ludo once again sees Nathan and Florence together, with their children, in 2025.
In a much more concerning change for Ludo, his own present is hugely altered by some actions of Melanie in the past. At present, in 2025, Ludo is in a very happy marriage with his second wife, Parvana, with whom he also has a young son, Sam. The man had met Parvana, who is an immigrant from Afghanistan, when her house had been burgled, and he had gone to investigate the matter. After developing an interest in each other, Ludo and Parvana married to start their own family. Juliette, Ludo’s daughter from his first marriage, was very lovingly cared for by Parvana, who was professionally a nurse, and it was with the stepmother’s support and encouragement that Juliette became a doctor too. Also, Ludo always wanted to have a son, even with Melanie, and having Sam was one of the most cherished accomplishments in his life. Therefore, for all these reasons, Ludo states very clearly that he would not want to undo his relationship and life with Parvana at all. The only reason he was trying to save Melanie from her fate in 1998 was to help her avoid death, and not to continue their relationship. For this reason, the two even decide that Melanie will have to leave Ludo in 1998 as soon as she survives the fateful day.
However, Melanie grows inquisitive and even jealous about the fact that her husband would get so close to someone else in the future. Having heard about Parvana from Ludo at the VR rift on the beach, Melanie makes a plan to get Parvana arrested. Since the woman was a refugee taking shelter in France at the time, Melanie got hold of a case of human trafficking, in which the prime suspect was an Afghan man, and made it look like Parvana was involved with this. This results in Parvana getting brought in for questioning, which results in her staying away from her house, fearing that the authorities will harass her further. But this then also means that her house does not get burgled, she does not meet Ludo, and therefore the two are not a couple in the present. In this altered timeline, Ludo is still a single man in 2025, and Juliette is even worse affected as she is a drug-addicted wastrel who still stays at her father’s house. Acknowledging that he cannot live such a life, Ludo convinces Melanie to change the past again, and the woman then tracks Parvana down in 1998 and convinces her to return home without any worry. This once again restores the original events, and Ludo and Parvana once again get back together.
Another change in the present due to events in the past is more intricately linked with the main plot. The chief of the police department in 2025 originally happened to be a man named Etienne Le Goff. But in the altered timeline in which Nathan Leroy and Florence are not a couple, the chief of police is a completely different individual—a woman named Yasmine Ben Salem. Then again, as soon as the older reality is restored and Nathan and Florence are back together, the police chief changes back to Le Goff. Instead, in this reality, Yasmine Ben Salem is found to be one of the victims of the serial killer, as the woman was found dead in 2001. The mystery of this change is actually very directly linked to the thriller element of Vortex series, i.e., the truth behind Melanie’s death.
Who Killed Melanie In The Original Reality?
After starting his investigation into the death of Zoe Levy, Ludo starts to understand that the case might be related to Melanie’s from 1998. Soon enough, it is revealed that a single serial killer had murdered both women, along with two others as well, and all these four cases are connected together by a particular ring found on all four of the victims’ bodies. This ring had a distinct pearl in its design, and the origin of this jewelry is looked into. While contacting the families of the two victims in between is impossible, as they had been killed many years ago, Zoe’s sister is spoken to. However, it is confirmed that the woman did not have any such pearl ring at all. Although Melanie’s body did not actually have the ring on it, it is proven that she had indeed received a pearl ring but had kept it away, which Juliette later took from her mother’s jewelry box. Ludo and the other police officers understand that the serial killer must have been the one who gave the rings to the women just before he killed them.
Since Melanie Beguin was the very first victim of the killer back in 1998, the responsibility mostly fell on her to identify men who were being unusual or creepy around her. The first suspicion falls on Nicolas Orsat, a prosecutor who worked for the DA’s office in 1998 and was evidently very interested in Melanie. After helping her with an important matter, Orsat becomes quite persistent in asking Melanie out on a date. The man even does not seem to stop when she tells him that she is happily married. This nature of his becomes a crucial reason for Melanie to suspect him, and when she tells Ludo of 2025 about this, he too agrees. At the crime scene of Zoe Levy’s murder, the letters Z and N had been written on the sand by someone, along with a heart sign between the two. Since Zoe was ascertained to be a woman who never liked such expressions of emotion, it was deemed that the perpetrator must have done it. Therefore, when Orsat’s first name happens to be Nicolas, Ludo is confident that he can indeed be the murderer, N.
However, Nicolas Orsat does have a solid alibi in the case of one of the murders, and Ludo now starts to suspect his best friend, Nathan Leroy. As it happened, Nathan had dated one of the victims many years ago, and he had not told anyone about this. When Ludo finally finds out about this through his investigation and also finds some other serious clues, like Nathan being a member of the same club as another victim, he becomes certain that it was his best friend who killed his wife. One more reason for such suspicion was that Nathan had really taken a fancy to Melanie in the initial days of her and Ludo’s relationship. While Nathan had even approached the woman on one occasion, this was mostly looked past by all the characters as harmless drunken behavior. However, Ludo now connects the dots and even warns Melanie to be wary of the man in 1998. This leads to even further mayhem as Melanie takes her husband’s service revolver to protect herself on the day of her supposed death and then shoots Nathan when he tries to talk to her. But then this lead also turns out to be false, and Nathan had only approached Melanie to confront her for badmouthing him to Florence.
Ever since her very childhood days, Melanie had a best friend called Hector Delavigne, in whom she confided all her most sincere feelings and emotions. Hector had been a very good friend to Melanie, too, always comforting her and being by her side, but the man had actually been hiding a very intense feeling of love for his best friend. The two had even shared a kiss some time ago, and since it had been initiated by Melanie, Hector took this as a sign of her interest in him. Therefore, when Melanie takes shelter at Hector’s house at the very time of her supposed death, the man proposes to her with a pearl ring, which is the very same one used on every other victim in the future. In the present timeline in 2025, when Ludo goes to meet with Hector, he sees the man’s handwriting and realizes that he wrote the letter H very much like an N, and therefore the “N loves Z” message was actually meant to be “H loves Z”.
It was indeed Hector who killed Melanie in the original reality after she rejected his proposal to be a couple. This rejection, and possibly the thrill of killing, affected Hector in the future, and he committed three other murders during times when he was single. In the altered reality where Nathan Leroy and Florence did not get together, Florene actually met and started dating Hector. The two continued a healthy relationship for many years, so Hector was not single in 2001. Therefore, the young police officer, Yasmine Ben Salem, had also not been murdered by him, and hence she had later become the police chief in 2025.
‘Vortex’ Ending Explained: What Happens To Ludo, Melanie, And Their Family?
In the past timeline of 1998, Melanie realizes that it is actually her best friend Hector who will kill her. She comes to this conclusion once the man pulls out the pearl ring and gives it to her, professing his love. Melanie somehow escapes the house by climbing out of the window and then running for her life, with Hector chasing behind. On the other side, in the present timeline, Ludo confronts Hector for being the serial killer, and the man finally confesses but also stabs Ludo to death.
In the past timeline, in an intense final moment, Melanie decides to fight back and shoot Hector dead instead of letting him push her off the cliff. This act changes the entire timeline and alters every situation at present. Ludo had been lying in a pool of his own blood, about to die, when he suddenly became alright and had no injuries at all since Hector ceased to exist after Melanie killed him. Hence, there was nobody to stab him, and so Ludo is completely fine.
Ludo’s life in the present timeline has also been slightly altered. Although he is still in a very loving marriage with Parvana and the couple lives with their son, Sam, his daughter from the previous marriage, Juliette, is now estranged from the family. The reason for this is also revealed as Ludo visits Juliette to wipe out all differences. After killing Hector, Melanie fled the city and possibly even the country and remained in hiding for a long time. Many years later, when Juliette was fifteen, she came back to meet with her daughter and took the girl away from her house to spend some time with her. But Ludo took police action against this, stating that Melanie had kidnapped his daughter, and he got the woman arrested for the murder of Hector as well. It was for this reason that Juliette resented her father ever since, and her opinion did not change even after she grew up to become a lawyer. In this timeline, Ludo possibly did not know why his ex-wife had committed such a crime, and so had taken action against her. Since Hector had been killed in 1998, none of the four women he would have murdered were harmed, and Yasmine Ben Salem is the police chief in Brest.
During Vortex’s ending Ludo decides to visit Melanie, who is still held in prison, and he also informs Parvana about this. As Ludo and Melanie finally face each other in the present timeline, maybe there is still love between the two, as Melanie states that she has been waiting for him for the last twenty-seven years. Although it is unlikely that Ludo will leave Parvana and be with Melanie, he will surely now visit the woman in prison and keep in touch with her.