Netflix’s Good Sam uses a good samaritan premise for a societal commentary about honesty and lies. In New York City, four people each receive a bag that contains $100,000. As news reporters seek out more details, different character motivations are revealed. Good Sam is mostly a feel-good story, but it doesn’t shy away from addressing dark societal truths.
In Good Sam, Tiya Sircar stars as journalist Kate Bradley. She prefers covering the "bummer beat" rather than spending time on fluffy stories that aren’t necessarily "news." Crucially, Kate’s father Ashok (Ivan Smith) is revealed to be a Senator, a plot device that introduces hedge fund manager Jack Hansen (Marco Grazzini) as a potential love interest for the charismatic and hard-working reporter. As Good Sam’s first half progresses, Kate follows up on new leads about the mysterious donator and becomes determined to pinpoint what exactly the good samaritan wants in return, if anything. She’s intrigued by the pay-it-forward aspects of the story, as the gift-giving becomes “contagious.” Meanwhile, Kate builds a friendship with firefighter Eric Hayes (Chad Connell), a man who seems to live by a code of honor.
As a whole, Good Sam balances Kate’s romantic hopes with her professional skepticism. The major conflict emerges when she identifies a faux Good Sam, leading her to become more diligent with the on-going investigation. Jack seems like a perfectly nice guy, but Kate denies a date request because he’s in her father’s inner circle. Similarly, Eric appears to be a gentleman, but he’s connected to Kate’s coverage of the Good Sam story, as his late brother has connections to the gift recipients. Good Sam’s middle section displays Kate’s vulnerability, both personally and professionally. Because she hasn’t figured out the truth about Good Sam, she can’t truly commit to anyone in her romantic life, though she does agree to a casual date with Eric. In a telling moment, he seems genuinely surprised that Good Sam has apparently been giving away more money.
When Good Sam leaves four more bags of $100,000 throughout the city, Kate is taken off the story and replaced with a popular reporter, Susan Andrews (Kelly Hope Taylor). Suddenly, Jack reveals himself to be Good Sam, and states his true intentions to Kate. He wants to help “soldiers in our everyday lives”; people that work hard but live paycheck to paycheck. Curiously, reporters bombard a restaurant meeting between Kate and Jack - it’s almost like it had been staged. Meanwhile, Eric stops texting Kate. This entire section establishes Jack as a potential partner for Kate, with Eric becoming the archetypical nice guy who finishes last. But Good Sam blatantly foreshadows what’s to come, as it's painfully evident that Jack has some type of agenda.
Kate’s interview with Jack receives over 1 million views. Because of the wide media coverage, Kate discovers that the politician's Good Sam soundbites appear to be rehearsed. Then Jack announces his intention to run for Congress, and Kate connects the dots. Jack used the Good Sam story to advance his career; he understood that pre-election media coverage would theoretically frame him as the ideal political candidate. At this point, Good Sam becomes less about mystery and more about character motivations. Jack will inevitably be unmasked as a fraud, while Eric will emerge as the true hero. Good Sam’s final act details the whys and hows.
In Good Sam, the mystery character labels money bags with the number eight. Kate connects this to Eric’s boat called “Crazy Eight.” During a date, Eric reveals the tragic story behind his brother Patrick’s death while sailing. Kate ultimately connects Patrick to the first four Good Sam gift recipients. She confronts Eric with the evidence, prompting the firefighter to reveal the truth. He received an insurance check for $400,000; Patrick had legally (and secretly) transferred the boat’s ownership to Eric as a gift. After Patrick's death, Eric gave the insurance money to his brother's friends who genuinely made his life better, and he remained anonymous so the recipients could spend the money without feeling “weighed down.” Good Sam ends with Kate and Eric kissing in a park, just before a new good samaritan story emerges.