‘Monarch’ Producers Speak Out About That Shocking Premiere Reveal

by Suzanne Halliburton

The first episode of Monarch featured a huge death scene at the end. It was teased throughout the hour, Sunday. Yet it still left fans wondering, did that really happen?

First SPOILER ALERT. If you have not seen the Monarch premiere, we’re about to reveal major details. So moving on, let’s talk about that ending. Susan Sarandon, the Academy Award winner, was the biggest star appearing on Monarch. She’s Dottie Cantrell Roman, the queen of country music. Trace Adkins plays her husband, Albie Roman. The two have been married for more than 40 years.

Dottie and Albie built this powerful family. Both of them are superstar singers. Plus, they’re also in the record business. They truly are the first family of country music. Their kids are grown. Nicky is the performer. Luke is the company CEO. And Gigi, the most talented, never wanted the spotlight. She’s got all the talent, but prefers to own her country music club and live happily with her wife, Kayla.

Monarch started the episode by revealing some major details. Dottie is dying. She has terminal cancer. Although she still looks fabulous — just ask her makeup artist — she’s not long for this world. And Dottie wants to hurry up the process as soon as she makes sure that the Roman dynasty continues with Nicky as its queen. There’s even a passing of the crown, or in this case, a bedazzled white Stetson.

Dottie Planned Her Suicide in Monarch Premiere

Dottie tells Nicky she’s going to help her commit suicide Saturday night following a family concert, the Musicale. As Dottie explains, God is taking her. She’s got cancer.

“I just want to get it done on my own terms,” Dottie says of her death. “Now I want to die the way I live: With a smile on my face, and perfect hair.” 

And yes, at the end of Monarch, Nicky gives Dottie a handful of pills. Her mother washes it down with some liquor. Then Dottie drifts off and dies. Yes, that really happened. Dottie is dead.

Moments after Monarch ended, Variety reported that the show wasn’t playing a trick on its viewers. Michael Thorn, president of entertainment for FOX Entertainment, confirmed it all. However, Dottie doesn’t disappear from Monarch.

“It was always designed that the matriarch of the family was going to die at the end of the pilot,” Thorn said. “But it was also always designed that the matriarch would then come back in several of the episodes throughout the first season in flashback.

“There’s two things happening in the series. The first one is, as you know, there’s the succession story of who will inherit the crown of country music after Dottie Roman passes away. But the other part of it, which plays out, in part, in the flashback, is Trace Adkins’ character says, the Roman legacy is really built on lies.”

Sarandon Will Appear in About Half of Season One Episodes

And Monarch offers us glimpses of those lies. Albie kills some mysterious someone at the beginning of the episode. Then moments after Dottie dies, he buries the body.

Plus, in flashbacks, Dottie is standing in front of a burning barn. Albie, in present time, confesses to Dottie that he had an affair with a woman 40 years ago. But he’s had no contact with her since the barn burned.

Thorn said that Sarandon appears in half of the Monarch episodes. After premiering Sunday, the show returns Sept. 20,