Mea Culpa Plot Summary and Ending Explained

Mea Culpa Plot Summary and Ending Explained
Mea Culpa Plot Summary and Ending Explained

“Mea Culpa,” a two-hour film, is both written and directed by Tyler Perry. Released on February 23, 2024, it is available for viewing on Netflix. The lead role of Mea Harper is portrayed by Kelly Rowland. However, despite its star-studded cast, the film has received mixed reviews.

Plot Summary

A opening scene from the movie where Mea and Kal are seen consulting a therapist regarding their strained relationship
A opening scene from the movie where Mea and Kal are seen consulting a therapist regarding their strained relationship

This movie follows Mea Harper as she deals with her new case and her husband’s family problems. Mea and her husband, Kal, are having relationship issues and are seeing a therapist. Kal is very close to his mother and hasn’t told her or his brother that he lost his job months ago. His mother, Azalie Hawthorne, is said to have cancer, and Kal takes care of her even more. A case involving a popular painter, Zyair Malloy, accused of murdering his girlfriend, emerges.

Mea takes the case against her husband’s family’s wishes, especially since his brother, Ray, running for mayor and opposes the case. Tensions rise, and Mea works hard on the case with the help of her friend, Jimmy. Over time, Mea becomes attracted to Jimmy. Misled to believe Kal is cheating, Mea sleeps with Zyair, feeling disgusted afterward. She decides to pass the case to another lawyer. Later, Mea discovers that Azalie doesn’t have cancer; it was all a scheme to gain sympathy for Ray’s mayoral campaign. It turns out that the mother and Ray planned a scheme against Zyair because he had an affair with Charlise, his wife.

A violent fight breaks out between the mother, Ray, Charlise, and Mea. Charlise is stabbed and killed by her mother-in-law, and Mea escapes. She gets into a car and drives away with the mother on top of the car. Mea crashes the car into a tree, killing the mother. Then she encounters Kal, her husband, and he takes her in. However, it’s revealed that Kal was involved in the plot scheme as well. Mea learns this and removes his seatbelt. She quickly swerves the car towards a truck, hitting it with Kal inside. He flies out from the windshield, killing him. The police arrive, and Ray is captured as reporters, along with 911 and ambulance, show up. Zyair is freed and thanks Mea through live video on the reporters

  • Mea Harper juggles her new case and her husband’s family issues, including Kal’s hidden unemployment and his close relationship with his mother.
  • Despite marital struggles, Mea takes on a controversial case involving painter Zyair Malloy, against her husband’s family’s wishes.
  • Tensions escalate as Mea uncovers deceit within her husband’s family, leading to a violent confrontation resulting in tragedy and the revelation of a political scheme.
Mea takes the Zyair Malloy's case against Kal's brother which adds more tension to their already strained relationship
Mea takes the Zyair Malloy’s case against Kal’s brother which adds more tension to their already strained relationship


Mea Harper and her husband have a strained relationship right from the beginning. His family, especially his mother, often belittles her, comparing her unfavorably to her husband’s childhood friend ‘Jenna’. When the case of Zyair Malloy comes her way, Mea feels conflicted. A family meal is convened, and despite pressure from Kal’s brother, Ray, and their mother to step away from the case, Mea decides to take it on. This decision adds further complexity to their already tense family dynamic and strains the relationship between Mea and her husband.

The consequences of Mea’s choice to take the case are significant. It leads to strained relationships, increased tension as she fights for Zyair Malloy’s defense in a high-profile murder case, and misunderstandings about her husband’s fidelity, prompting her own infidelity with Zyair. Discovering the truth leaves her feeling disgusted with her actions, prompting her to seek solace on a beach vacation. However, this leads to unexpected encounters, including with Zyair’s supposedly deceased ex-girlfriend. Returning to the case, a family gathering turns into a violent confrontation resulting in the deaths of Ray’s wife, Charlise, and their mother, Azalia.

What motivated Azalie Hawthorne to fake having cancer?

Kal's mother Azalie Hawthorne's fake cancer plan exposed
Kal’s mother Azalie Hawthorne’s fake cancer plan exposed

Azalie Hawthorne, the mother of Ray and Kal, pretended to have cancer to gain sympathy for her family, especially since her son Ray was running for mayor. She doesn’t have a good relationship with Mea Harper and often looks down on her. The scheme involved all the tricks they could think of, and it’s only uncovered at the end. It wasn’t Azalie who revealed the truth but a phone call from Jimmy, asking Mea to check her email where the scheme was exposed. Mea sends this information to Ray, thinking he had no idea, but it turns out it was all part of Ray and his mother’s plan to gain sympathy for his mayoral campaign votes.

Why did Kal keep his job loss a secret from his family?

Why Kal kept his job loss a secret from his mother and brother?
Why Kal kept his job loss a secret from his mother and brother


Kal is known for being very devoted to his family, especially his mother. However, it seems he may have been too focused on caring for her, perhaps because she was believed to be suffering from cancer. This is understandable as he might have wanted to spend as much time as possible with her, especially if her condition was thought to be terminal. His reluctance to admit his job loss could be due to his ego and the pressure he feels from his family, particularly his mother and brother. He presents himself as the sole provider for his wife, but in reality, it has been his wife who has been supporting them financially. His job loss might also be linked to his heavy drinking habit, as he often reeks of alcohol as he comes back from his work. Additionally, his mother’s supposed illness could be another reason that added to his reluctance to admit his job loss. 

What led Mea to believe Kal was cheating on her?

Kal has a close female friend named Jenna, and his mother prefers Jenna over Mea Harper, which upsets Mea. At the beginning of the movie, in the therapist’s office, it’s discovered that Kal was holding hands with Jenna at a coffee shop, which Mea’s friend Jimmy informs her about. This causes Mea to confront her husband. Kal spends his time at home without a job, playing video games. One day, Mea returns from work and finds Kal playing video games with Jenna on a call, further fueling her suspicions.

As the story progresses, Jimmy sends Mea a picture of Kal and Jenna visiting a hotel room, which angers Mea even more, as she interprets it as confirmation of his infidelity. However, it turned out to be a misunderstanding, as they were visiting Kal’s mother who was undergoing chemotherapy. But regarding Mea and Kal’s relationship, it’s revealed that Kal’s mother was not actually sick, which leaves Mea with lingering suspicions about her husband’s fidelity. This part leaves the viewers with uncertainty about whether Kal’s family was involved in covering up his cheating or not.

Does this movie conclude with a happy ending?

This movie finishes in a way that leaves viewers feeling content. Towards the end, there’s a series of events that unfold, leading to both positive and tragic outcomes for the characters. The main character’s husband, Kal, along with his mother, passes away while attempting to carry out a deceitful plan to gain sympathy from the public. Their actions lead to a confrontation with Mea, resulting in a deadly fight. Eventually, Kal, the older brother, is apprehended by the police. On the other hand, Zayir, another character, manages to escape and expresses his gratitude to Mea Harper through a live broadcast with reporters. This could potentially lead to more success for her.  However, amidst these events, there’s a heartbreaking moment with the death of Mea’s friend Charlise, who is also Ray’s wife. Charlise is fatally stabbed by her mother-in-law while trying to escape.