Starring: Alan Ritchson, Bruce McGill, Chris Webster, Currie Graham, Gavin White, Hugh Thompson, Jonathan Koensgen, Kristin Kreuk, Leslie Fray, Malcolm Goodwin, Marc Bendavid, Maria Sten, Martin Roach, Maxwell Jenkins, Willa Fitzgerald
Season One Review
Available on Prime
When Jack Reacher rolls into the small town of Margrave, Georgia looking to find out more about blues legend Blind Blake, he finds himself the prime suspect in a homicide. Whilst it quickly becomes evident he had no involvement in the murder, he discovers he has a connection to the case and decides to help the local police department. With more bodies found, even of those working in the police department, Reacher needs to step up his game if he, Detective Finlay and Officer Roscoe are to find out who are behind the killings and why they’re being committed.
After two movies featuring Tom Cruise in the titular role, fans of Lee Child’s character and book series must be rejoicing that towering beefcake Alan Ritchson has been cast as the broad, 6’5″ ex-military giant that is Jack Reacher. Now, I’ve never read the books so can’t comment but what I can say is that Alan Ritchson is very imposing as Reacher, with his bulging biceps and triceps teasing the power that is contained within Reacher. And that’s just his muscular strength. His mind is sharp and analytical so lord help anyone who gets on his bad side.
In the series, we find Reacher partnering up with Detective Oscar Finlay. Hailing from Boston and having attended Harvard, Finlay is one smart cookie who is very much out of place in the little town of Margrave. He also dresses to impress too, never seen without his tweed suit. Despite his short stature, well I suppose everyone is short compared to Reacher, he can take a roughing up and is dedicated to bringing criminals to justice. So is Officer Roscoe Conklin, a petite blonde officer who knows her way around a gun and doesn’t need anyone to stand up for her. Forced to be strong and independent from a young age after losing both her parents, she’s a upstanding, committed police officer and perhaps Finlay’s only real friend in Margrave. Together, Reacher, Finlay and Roscoe put their detective caps on to try and get to the bottom of the murders, finding themselves in the firing line more than once. With their lives at risk, it’s not going to be an easy task to bring the culprits to justice but Reacher is prepared to do whatever it takes to get the criminals their just desserts.
REACHER doesn’t take long to get started and instantly throws you into the heart of the story, whilst gradually allowing the audience to get to know the characters. The trio of Alan Ritchson (Reacher), Willa Fitzgerald (Roscoe) and Malcolm Goodwin (Finlay) is a delightful one, with the three creating such an endearing dynamic that you can’t wait to see what happens next to their characters. As they edge ever closer to the truth, the danger heightens and the stakes rise – a cat and mouse story where the roles are constantly reversing. These characters who we’ve invested in over several episodes are so integral that we want them to succeed in their mission, even if it’s a fraught one.
The series also has two refreshingly, strong, female characters in Roscoe and Neagley, the latter of whom served under Reacher in the military so is extremely handy with a gun! Roscoe is initially tasked to tail and watch Reacher, as when he first arrived in town they didn’t know who he was and what to make of him, so he was a suspect. However, it doesn’t take long for Roscoe to warm to the analytical former Major, and chemistry begins to brew between them. It’s a subtle romance though and isn’t overly done, though you can easily see they both care for each other. Along with this is a mutual respect, with Roscoe adamant that the sexual chemistry they share changes nothing between them and that she should still be respected as being a capable officer who can handle all the dangers that comes with the job. And it turns out she’s not too bad with her fists too – clearly taking a leaf out of Reacher’s book!
The eight episode season is a decent thriller and keeps you engaged in its storyline as we join the three trying to uncover the bigger plot at hand. It’s exciting, dangerous and, when Reacher starts throwing elbows, palm strikes, headbutts and breaking joints, it’s gloriously violent. Whilst it never feels unwinnable, thanks to Reacher seemingly being an unkillable beast, you do fear for the other characters who don’t possess his size and strength. Amidst all the detective work and crossfire, there’s even a helping of humour, much of it banter between Reacher and Finlay but also comical moments in passing. One particular scene sticks in my mind involving a patron at a bar who gets on the wrong side of Reacher and is seen still lying on the floor, being helped by others, several minutes after Reacher’s left the bar before he decides to re-enter. It’s so easy to enjoy and get behind Reacher on his quest for justice, and it’s refreshing to see someone working with the police who isn’t afraid of giving the bad guys what they deserve.
REACHER is perhaps not the deepest of thrillers but it doesn’t have to be. Based on Lee Child’s book The Killing Floor, the series has enough mystery, menace and threat to it to grab your attention but then mixes it with humour, action and drama to provide a well-rounded slice of entertainment. With Child having published 26 books on the character, it’s safe to say that should the series be an ongoing success, Alan Ritchson may have found a job for life.
Backed by a substantial supporting cast, including Ritchson’s former colleague from Smallville, Kristen Kreuk, REACHER seems to be the perfect outlet for the wandering, former military police Major to flex his muscles on-screen.