“Awesome” would be a brief and apt way to describe “Riches” as a show. It was well-written and smoothly paced, with the right placement of plotlines to tickle the audience’s brain cells. We have spoken before about how flipping the narrative and placing black people at the center of any piece of content must be done with sensitivity to the context of race. “Riches” does that very well, and that is what makes this universe so believable. It follows the story of Nina, the estranged daughter of Stephen Richards, the owner of a cosmetics business, who tries to take care of the company after she inherits it from him. This is how the series plays out.
The Succession To Flair And Glory
Nina Richards is the successful vice president of a company and has a great life going for her in New York. One day, she gets a call from her father, whom she hasn’t heard from in over 20 years. He tells her that somebody is trying to hurt their company, Flair and Glory, but Nina tells him never to call her again. Unfortunately, that is the last conversation they have, as Stephen dies of a heart attack that night. Nina is initially unbothered when she receives the news from her brother Simon but eventually decides to go to his funeral, though her mother warns her not to get sucked into their family drama. To give a bit of a backstory, Flair and Glory was started by Oyin, but later on, it was taken over by Stephen when he cheated on her with Claudia. Oyin relocated to the United States with her children and has been living there since. They had had no contact with Stephen and his family in England since 1993, which is when the whole thing went down. When Nina and Simon reach London, they learn that the time for the funeral was changed by Claudia, causing them to miss it. However, they still decide to go, and they arrive just in time for the reading of the will by Gideon, the executor of Stephen’s will. He was formerly the CFO of the company but was let go due to Claudia’s scheme to place her own “inside man” in his position. But he and Stephen seem to have mended their relationship later on. In his will, which is accompanied by a video, Stephen leaves his “genetic bloodline,” words he uses particularly, with 30 million pounds to be distributed equally. He also leaves Claudia with a house and a good monthly income. His secretary gets 1 million pounds, and his other relatives get 500,000 pounds each. However, the entire shares of the company are given to Nina and Simon. This comes as a shock to everyone, as their relationship had always been nonexistent before. Claudia’s children—Wanda, Alesha, and Gus—don’t know what to make of it, as until that point, it was assumed that Gus would be the inheritor of the beauty business.
Nina and Simon decide that they will write over their shares to the family and get back to England, but Nina is unable to forget the last phone call from her father. Additionally, she gets mad at the insults thrown by Claudia at her mother. Prompted by it, she decides to take over as CEO, as her father had initially intended. As expected, it is far from smooth sailing. She retains the earlier staff, especially Maureen, who was her father’s secretary and asks her to give her a few more months before retiring. The first crisis Nina has to face in the office is a Facebook page complaining about the quality of products from F&G. Alesha joins hands with Nina in solving it, and a little investigation reveals that there were a few faulty batches in production that were approved anyway since they were “within the acceptable margin of error.” Nina deals with it by firing the product manager and doing a specific recall while taking accountability. The issue is solved, but Gus looks really bad in the face of it, as she had initially told him to deal with it, but he had spent the day giving interviews for a new job. Since he had only ever worked in the family business, he was deemed unemployable by everyone, which caused him to show up drunk at the meeting.
At a later dinner, Nina and Simon offer Alesha the job of product manager, but she only promises to think about it. She had severe dyslexia and wasn’t ever favorably considered by her father, even though she is the only one of the siblings who is financially independent. When she goes back home, she meets her mother, who tells her that Nina is just using her. It is clear that not just Alesha’s father, but even her mother, has always underestimated her. Alesha is hurt and surprised because it is not the people, she has lived with her whole life but the ones she was taught to hate, aka Nina and Simon, were the ones to believe in her abilities. She calls up Nina and accepts the job. But this is the least of their problems. Nina discovers that their company is missing more than 20 million pounds, and she figures out that when her father called her, he was hinting at the embezzlement that was happening. Nina initially keeps it to herself, but when Claudia starts planning an extravagant party to launch the “Face of Flair,” she is forced to spill the secret to the rest of the family. This also places them in a precarious position regarding their campaign. F&G has traditionally chosen biracial models so that they can “appeal to a wider demographic.” But at the heart of it, there is a clear need for what is called “white acceptance.” Internalized racism is a thing, and most of the world, even the ones composed of other races, is viewed through the lens of whiteness. Nina is torn between doing what has always been done as the finances of the company are at stake. On the other hand, she is leaning towards choosing a model that represents why F&G was started to begin with—to make sure there is an undisputed space for black people. While she is thinking it over, an investigation into her father’s computer records reveals that a lot of his emails were deleted from Davina’s account, an employee of F&G. Suspecting her of having a hand in the embezzlement, Nina suspends her. But at the launch party itself, she discovers that Maureen was the one to delete the emails. Upon confronting her, she reveals that she had done it to protect Stephen’s privacy. He had been traveling to see an oncologist since he had cancer. Nina is shaken up by the news, but the dreadful night is far from over. An angry and drunk Davina comes to the family’s table and reveals that Claudia and Andre have been having an affair. An infuriated Gus punches Andre, and it is in the middle of this scuffle that Nina announces the name of the chosen model. She is a traditionally black model, and with that, F&G has softly rebranded itself to be more relevant in the market.
Despite the attention the scuffle receives, F&G soon comes back into focus when a prominent celebrity tweets about their “Face of Flair.” The siblings are getting along well, and the sales are going through the roof, but there is a new problem—in fact, there are two. One is that the distribution model of F&G is broken, which causes a lot of production issues. And the second is that Claudia has been busy. To fix their lack of cash, she gets Ultimae, a major MNC, to agree to invest in F&G. This would transfer the leadership from Nina to Gus and Alesha as joint CEOs. All the shareholders get on board with it, but Nina is against the move. She sees it as something incredibly short-sighted, something that would cause F&G and its mission to disappear within the conglomerate. Despite her best efforts, she is unable to get enough shareholders on her side as all of them are looking at the temporary money fix. While trying to convince the shareholders, Nina talks about a certain author, Audre Lorde. We googled her. She was a “self-proclaimed black lesbian, mother, warrior, and poet who spent her life-fighting racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia.” A particular quote by her that Nina brings up is, “The master’s tools will not break the master’s house.” She uses it to argue that joining Ultimae, which is primarily a white people’s business, will not be good for F&G. However, her arguments fall on deaf ears. The biggest surprise might be that, at the right moment, Wanda agrees to side with Nina, but Nina’s own mother, who had been a secret shareholder all along, votes against her. A devastated Nina decides to resign. But before she can do that, she stumbles upon some information that directs her to Zurich, Switzerland. She figures that it could be the clue to the missing money and asks Gideon to stall the agreement while she investigates. When she reaches Zurich, she understands that her father had expected her to come there all along. She meets everyone that she feels her father might have been in touch with but to no avail. Right as she is about to give up, she finds that her driver used to take her father to the International Albite Vaults (IAV). When she gets there, she finds a trail of paperwork and, within it, the clue she needs to make it all go away. As she comes back to London, the first person she meets is Claudia. She tells her that Stephen was having her investigated and he had found something. He had conducted a DNA test on all of his children and found that Wanda was not his daughter. He had been very clear in his will that he wanted his assets to go to his “genetic bloodline.” But this could change things. Claudia agrees to withdraw from the Ultimae Deal as long as Nina keeps things a secret. With this issue resolved, Nina sets out to deal with the other problem—that of the missing money.
‘Riches’ Explained Ending: Does Nina Recover The Missing Money For Flair and Glory?
When Nina discusses things with Gideon, all of the evidence points towards André as the suspect. She has him arrested even though a furious Andre claims to have nothing to do with anything. But this is just the start of her plan. She gets him out on bail and takes him to her flat, where Simon and Devina are waiting for them. Nina has figured out that the real person behind the embezzlement is none other than Gideon. Claudia and André had always seemed to be a few steps ahead of them, and that did not make sense unless Gideon was letting it happen. Additionally, some more proof from Devina confirmed their suspicions. It is now up to Andre to find the concrete proof so that they could get back their money and turn him in. But before that can happen, Alesha sees Andre and Nina together and talks to Gideon about it. When Nina finds out, she is furious but reveals the entire situation to the rest of her siblings. The family has come together to fight for their birthright.
Andre eventually figures out that there is another company called OEM Holdings that has invested money every time F&G seems to lose it. They connect the dots that OEM could stand for Oliver Ethan Martin, Gideon’s son, who passed away at 11 years of age due to meningitis. Nina asks Andre to not take the case to the police until they recover the money. When they all confront Gideon about it, it is evident that their case is rock solid, and Gideon gives them back their money. It looks like a good solution to the problem, but we know that Nina has barely scratched the surface. Andre has asked for a position on the board of directors in exchange for his silence, and Nina had to agree. She had to welcome back the traitor, which has rendered the waters murky, and that could have consequences, which we will see in the second season. She also meets her mom, who tells her that though her father started paying for them, it was only ten years after they had cut ties with each other. She resigns herself to see her daughter follow in her father’s footsteps, though Simon might return to New York to restart his life with his partner.
There are two important points that unravel in the final few minutes of the finale. Being that Gideon suspects Claudia of having killed Stephen, we have suspected since the beginning of the “Riches” that he did not die a natural death. But was it really Claudia who orchestrated it? Also, Nina refers to the earlier drafts of Stephen’s will, where he mentions having six children. As the camera closes and Nina and Simon decide to keep the matter silent, we see Maureen welcoming back her son, Finn, who is of mixed race, indicating that he is Stephen’s sixth child.
What Can We Expect In The Second Season of ‘Riches’?
The most important thing to expect would be a better look at the mystery of Stephen’s death. Not to forget that since Alesha knows about Wanda, it could really affect matters of succession. Maybe that is the relevance of the life insurance policy that they find in the hidden safe—it is the seed of a huge conflict to come. We would also like to see what role Finn has to play. So far, of all the characters, Claudia and André have been the only troublemakers. Would that status quo change in the coming seasons? That must be seen. Also, “Riches” is an example of how effective good writing can be. In just six episodes, we got a grasp of the characters, their motivations, and their potential, as well as a tight storyline that is going to keep on giving as the story progresses. The subtle instances of sexism and racism, the removal of the mask of the goodness of the oppressed, and many more are what add depth and richness to a narrative composed primarily of black actors. It was a great, binge-able show, and we would eagerly wait for more seasons to come, as we recommend this to all our friends.
“Riches” is a 2022 Drama series created by Abby Ajayi.