This article contains minor spoilers for the plot of Ocean’s 8.
Ocean’s 8, the Gary Ross–directed installment of the heist franchise, opens with an incarcerated Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) convincing her parole board that her most urgent aspiration is “a simple life” on the outside. As soon as her request is granted though, Debbie retreats into the comfort of her cons. In quick succession, she briefs a corrections officer on how the two will continue her schemes with Debbie on the outside, then heads to Bergdorf Goodman to scam an unsuspecting sales clerk out of high-end makeup.
With her feminine armor thus acquired, Debbie makes a personal pit stop: She swings by a gallery named after her former lover and fellow con artist, Claude Becker (Richard Armitage). Debbie pounces on the unsuspecting art dealer with laser precision and holds him at knifepoint. “You look … ” The visibly shaken Claude stammers, only to be interrupted by a glowering Debbie: “Recently incarcerated.”
Thus begins a minor subplot of the notably female-led Ocean’s 8. It’s soon revealed that the pair had scammed together, until Claude framed Debbie for a shadowy financial crime that landed her in prison for five years. (Meanwhile, Claude only saw his star rise.) The time Debbie spent incarcerated was time she spent devising the plot that forms the film’s central con, and mulling retaliation against Claude: Not only would Debbie assemble a motley crew of female criminals to steal a $150,000,000 diamond Cartier necklace during the annual Met Gala, she would also pin the crime on Claude.