Inventing Anna episode 1 recap: Who is the real Anna Delvey?

Inventing Anna. (L to R) Julia Garner as Anna Delvery, Richie Herschenfeld as Richie Notar in episode 104 of Inventing Anna. Cr. Nicole Rivelli/Netflix © 2021
Inventing Anna. (L to R) Julia Garner as Anna Delvery, Richie Herschenfeld as Richie Notar in episode 104 of Inventing Anna. Cr. Nicole Rivelli/Netflix © 2021 /

On Inventing Anna episode 1, we meet Anna Delvey, a socialite who scammed the world, and Vivian Kent, the journalist attempting to break a story about her. Read on to learn what happened in Inventing Anna episode 1, “Life of a VIP.”

Inventing Anna episode 1 recap: Is Anna Delvey a con artist?

It’s November 2017, and Anna Delvey has just been indicted for white-collar felonies she committed while posing as a socialite. Though those who ran in her circle are embarrassed and hope the press disappears quickly, journalist Vivian wants to get the story out.

Vivian pitches it to her bosses Landon and Paul, but they’re not convinced it’s a good story and tell her to work on a Wall Street Me Too article instead. Vivian, however, still thinks there’s something there and doesn’t listen, trying to convince Anna’s lawyers to let her interview her. She says she deserves to have her story told — she’s not just some dumb socialite.

This visit makes Vivian miss her ultrasound appointment — something that irritates her husband. Vivian tells him it was worth it, but she’s not sure he agrees. Pressing on, she writes Anna a flattering letter asking if they can meet, and Anna eventually calls her back.

Inventing Anna episode 1 recap: Who is Vivian?

Inventing Anna episode 1
Inventing Anna. Anna Chlumsky as Vivian Kent in episode 103 of Inventing Anna. Cr. David Giesbrecht/Netflix © 2021 /

Anna is glad Vivian visited her in jail, seemingly reassured when Vivian is there on a regular visit instead of a media one, as she’s still hesitant about giving an interview. Instead, they talk on background so Anna can get to know Vivian before deciding.

Anna is adamant she’s not a party girl like the prosecutor Catherine is saying she is — she’s building a business, and money is no object for her. Anna gets emotional about waking up in jail, saying she didn’t do anything wrong and that it’s all a misunderstanding, and Vivian comforts her, saying it’ll all be okay.

Meanwhile, Vivian continues to lie to her bosses, saying she’s working on the Wall Street Me Too story. Her colleagues even help her get the contacts she needs, proud of her for going rogue.

However, the higher-ups eventually find out, and Vivian loses it, saying the story they want her to work on is just clickbait and not what’s best for the woman it features. Landon says Paul, the person who assigned her the story, is just being overly cautious due to her past, which offends Vivian.

Despite this, Vivian begs for a month to work on the story before someone else does. They end up giving her two weeks to secure an exclusive interview with good sources or she’ll be reassigned.

Vivian’s husband wants her to take a year off while she has her baby, but that’s not an option for her. She even breaks down when she has the ultrasound, crying that she wanted to save her career before she had her child and that the joy of a daughter can’t make up for the loss of a career that lights up her brain. Her husband supports her, rubbing her feet.

Inventing Anna episode 1 recap: Who is the real Anna Delvey?

Vivian continues to research Anna, finding lots of jarring information, including the fact she stayed in a hotel for months that was $1,700 a night and tipped in $100 bills. She talks to one of the hotel workers, Neff, who says she didn’t fraternize with Anna since it was against the rules but that she does know Anna took selfies all over the room.

Vivian looks at Anna’s Instagram feed and speaks to many of the people who appeared in it, all of whom have vastly different stories about and impressions of Anna, from the fact she’s a German antique heiress to the daughter of people in the Russian solar industry. Her style of dress and sex drive also have no consensus among the people Vivian interviews.

Inventing Anna episode 1 recap: Does Anna take the plea deal?

Inventing Anna episode 1
Inventing Anna. (L to R) Arian Moayed as Todd Spodek, Anna Chlumsky as Vivian Kent in episode 103 of Inventing Anna. Cr. David Giesbrecht/Netflix © 2021 /

Anna’s lawyer Todd and Catherine butt heads about Anna’s case — specifically regarding if Todd is the right person to work on it. Catherine offers a plea deal to avoid going to trial, and Todd tells his wife Margaret Porter about it. He thinks it will be a good deal but admits he doesn’t want her to take it. He works at a small firm and grew up poor while Margaret works at a large one and grew up wealthy. Sometimes he still feels out of place in her world and wants to prove himself with this case. It would be amazing for both him and Anna if he won.

After gathering all of her information, Vivian goes to talk to Anna again to discuss her findings. This time, Anna is adamant she wants a media visit so they can get a private room and perks. Vivian thinks regular visits are preferable since there’s less red tape, but Anna’s adamant that VIP is always better — she just must put in the work.

Anna turns the tables, asking Vivian questions. Vivian assumes she’ll want to ask about the case that went viral and cost her a big job opportunity, but Vivian simply wants to know why she dresses how she does, as it makes her look poor. She tells Vivian she’s considering taking the plea deal that’s being offered.

Vivian knows she needs Anna not to take the deal because there’s no story without the trial. She goes to talk to Neff, the woman from the hotel who told her she never hung out with Anna but was spotted doing so on her Instagram. Neff is loyal to Anna, telling Vivian everyone is selfish so she must want money, power, or an image boost. She doesn’t respect her for pretending to want what’s best for Anna.

Vivian admits to her that she wants her career back and that she just needs to know what Anna wants in return. She takes this information to a private media interview with Anna. She tells her that, if she takes the deal, she’ll be telling the world she agrees with their perception of her: that’s she’s a dumb socialite.

Vivian tells her they don’t need to be friends but that they can help each other: she’ll make her famous. Anna agrees to go to trial, and the people who wanted this to all go away are livid she didn’t take a deal.

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