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Recommended: Reacher on Prime Video

Lee Child’s crime novel franchise becomes a nerve-jangling and surprisingly charming series.
  • Alan Ritchson stars in Amazon's Reacher. (Photo: Amazon Prime Video)
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    Reacher Season 1 | Prime Video
    Hourlong Crime Drama (Eight Episodes) | TV-14

    What's Reacher About?

    During a visit to a small Georgia town, a former military policeman gets wrapped up in a criminal conspiracy with surprising connections to his own past. While he’s chasing the bad guys, he flirts with a badass female cop and trades wisecracks with an uptight detective.

    Who's Involved?

    • Alan Ritchson (Blue Mountain State) is the titular Jack Reacher.
    • Willa Fitzgerald (Scream: The TV Series) is Roscoe Conklin, a spitfire Georgia cop who will give Reacher sass when he needs it.
    • Malcolm Goodwin (iZombie) plays a brilliant Black detective from Boston who transferred to rural Georgia to get away from his divorce.
    • Currie Graham (Suddenly Susan) plays a powerful businessman who basically owns the small town and is clearly at the head of the malfeasance.
    • Harvey Guillén (What We Do in the Shadows) is a hoot as a medical examiner who isn’t prepared for all the murders going down.

    Why (and to whom) do we recommend it?

    As written in Lee Child’s novels, Jack Reacher is the ultimate action hero fantasy: He can beat up all the bad guys, seduce all the women, and save all the children, then leave town without getting tied down. The show nails that appeal from the very first scene, when Reacher stops a guy from beating up his girlfriend just by glaring at him, then goes into a diner to order peach pie. Soon enough, he’s interpreting crime scenes like a genius and single-handedly stopping an entire group of thugs.

    If he were delivered straight, a hero this bulletproof would be exhausting to watch. (Just see Tom Cruise’s scowling take on the character in a pair of films.) But Reacher knows this guy is so perfect that he’s slightly ludicrous, and it encourages viewers to get in on the fun. Every time he walks through a crowd, for instance, people openly gawk at his size, just to underscore that he’s a mountain of a man. And when he passes a hungry dog, he naturally gets it a plate of BBQ ribs. There may be murders to solve and villains to punch, but Reacher always has time for his civic duty.

    To its credit, the series doesn’t rest on adrenaline and charm. The central mystery of the first season – about an international counterfeiting ring and the people being killed to cover it up – is thoughtfully adapted from Child’s novel Killing Floor. And in the low-key moments between fight scenes, the main characters have zippy rapport. (Fitzgerald is especially good. She’s like Ruth on Ozark, but with a badge instead of a drug empire.)

    Reacher is also beautifully shot. Take a scene when Reacher is hiding from bad guys who are trying to kill him by a farmhouse: The camera keeps the hooligans in the foreground, then moves just enough to let us see our hero stepping silently out of the tall grass behind them. It’s a thrilling image that epitomizes his power, and it suggests the show is serious about creating high-quality fun.

    Pairs well with

    • Elementary, since Reacher is just as brilliant as Sherlock and the show can be just as droll.
    • Peacemaker, which also has fun with the tropes of big dudes who wreak big havoc in the name of justice.
    • White Collar, Psych, and Burn Notice, which helped the USA Network create an empire of breezy, stylish capers.

  • Reacher (Season 1)
    Complete first season now streaming on Prime Video
    Created by: Nick Santora. Based on the novels by Lee Child.
    Starring: Alan Ritchson, Willa Fitzgerald, Malcolm Goodwin, Chris Webster, Harvey Guillén, Bruce McGill, Maria Sten, Kristin Kreuk, Maxwell Jenkins, and Currie Graham.
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    TOPICS: Reacher, Prime Video, Alan Ritchson, Bruce McGill, Chris Webster, Currie Graham, Harvey Guillén, Kristin Kreuk, Malcolm Goodwin, Maria Sten, Maxwell Jenkins, Nick Santora, Willa Fitzgerald