Reacher season 1 review – the Jack Reacher adaptation we deserve

By Marc Miller
Published: February 2, 2022 (Last updated: January 24, 2023)
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Amazon original series Reacher season 1


Amazon’s Reacher adaptation is the one we’ve been waiting for and deserve.

This review of Amazon original series Reacher season 1 contains spoilers. The series will be released on the streaming service on February 4th, 2022

Many of us have been waiting for the worthy production of Lee Child’s modernized Dirty Harry that fits the man he brought to life. A former military policeman who has his own brand of justice, with the type of reasoning that the target of his ire brought it upon themselves. Oh, and that problem goes by the name of Jack Reacher. At 77 inches tall, 250lbs, barrel chest, tree trunks for arms and legs, the former Military Policeman has begun his Jack Kerouac across these great states of ours. I’m excited, and maybe more relieved, to say that Amazon’s Reacher is the adaptation we have been waiting for.

The first season of Reacher is based on Lee Child’s The Killing Floor, the first novel in the uber-popular series. Here, Reacher (played by Alan Ritchson) reaches Margrave, Georgia, home of Blind Blake, a ragtime jazz musician who may have died there. Reacher, a fan of music and its history, walks right into the total coincidence of a lifetime. The local police arrest him after walking over an underpass that provides shade to a dead body. A murder that is the first in Margrave in decades.

They bring him to Margrave’s Chief of Detectives, Oscar Finlay (American Gangster’s Malcolm Goodwin). The man doesn’t believe in coincidences. However, Reacher swats away pretty much any suggestion he had anything to do with it with common sense, logic, and deadpan delivery. Impressed with his deductive reasoning and kind eyes, Office Roscoe Conklin (Scream’s Willa Fitzgerald) takes a liking to him. He is no longer under suspicion when an accountant, Paul Hubble (Marc Bendavid), for the Kliner Foundation, confesses.

Where the story and plot start to pick up is a sudden revelation, one that makes the murder mystery and the town of Margrave personal to Reacher. He also cannot get over how the small village operates. Most small towns in America are dying. This one has a new pavilion, well-manicured town square streets, and fresh flower beds. Even the local businesses seem to be thriving. There are no empty shops in the entire town. The Kliner Foundation is subsidizing everything. A company that moved to town and started to provide jobs for everyone. They seemed to have developed a shipping hub with excessive security and a whole lot of grain feed. 

How does it all connect? Well, that’s half the fun of Reacher, brought to the streaming screen by Nick Santora (Scorpion, Most Dangerous Game). Behind the taking justice into your hands kind of goodness, the bestselling Reacher book series has always had intriguing mysteries. The series here is no exception. This can be attributed to Lee Child’s hands-on involvement in writing all eight episodes. This was a noticeable issue in the Tom Cruise movie adaptation.

This allows the series never to forget the book’s deadpan wit and killer twists that made Child’s novel famous. It also helps that the plot remains smart and the characters well developed, which is a staple of the series, where you will learn a little bit of the protagonist’s back story. And since Reacher goes from a new town to a new town, there is ample material for the future installments. Here, you are treated as to why and how Reacher honed his famous code. The unjolly green retired MP may be a sinner, but he knows he’s never sinned because any bad person who comes across his way has what’s coming to them. 

However, only on the good side — the villains in the Reacher novels have always been underdeveloped, which is a problem in any mystery series. None of that matters, though, because it’s the casting of Reacher season 1 that has been the crutch. That is where Ritchson comes in. It’s hard enough to find someone of that physical stature, but to find one who can act, play a morally complex character, and who is also adept at a straight-faced delivery. They have found that with Ritchson in spades, who inhabited the role here and managed to pass an incredibly high bar set for him.

However, what you are looking for in the Reacher series is the type of bone-crunching, revenge thriller entertainment that Lee Child was known for. The result is a Reacher adaptation we deserve and have been waiting for.

What did you think of Amazon’s Reacher season 1? Comment below.

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