The denouement in the regrettable tragedy of David Petraeus was not a blockbuster, fireworks-filled, epic courtroom scene as some expected (hoped?) it would be. Rather, it was a whimper, a quiet legal resignation, and a tactical surrender to the legal forces arrayed against the former celebrated general and CIA director.

One of the country’s more sordid political controversies of the last decade, one that indulged perfectly the prurient public’s need for scandal, came to a quiet end, possibly in the back room of a judge’s chambers or in a plush law office conference room. One can almost taste the palpable disappointment of countless political reporters who no doubt looked to further explore the salacious details of the affair.

After all, what more could you want? Titillating love affair between attractive reporter and handsome Army man? Check. Flirtatious Tampa socialite upsetting the dynamics of the romantic liaison with her attentions? Check. Jealous lover threatening one whom she sees as a potential rival, leading to an FBI investigation revealing passage of classified information to a reporter? Check and check. Spectacular fall from grace of a once-revered leader? Oh, yes.

According to reports, Petraeus’ lawyers this week reached a deal for the former four-star Army general to plead guilty to mishandling classified information—a misdemeanor—which will surely prevent him from having to endure a lengthy trial, and will likely preclude him spending any real time in federal prison.