Reacher season 1 – why did Oscar Finlay come to Margrave?

By Marc Miller
Published: February 4, 2022
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Why did Oscar Finlay come to Margrave in Reacher season 1 - amazon original series

This article,” Why did Oscar Finlay come to Margrave,” contains spoilers regarding Amazon’s Reacher season 1.

Read the season 1 review.

The Chief Detective of the Margrave, Georgia Police Department is Oscar Finlay. An African-American male in his upper thirties left the Boston Police Department to take a job in the middle of the South. He may as well have shuffled off to Antarctica. Why would a man, well decorated and in the prime of his career, leave a major police department to investigate, at the most, petty theft of bicycles and possible disgracing the local Southern statue?

Detective Finlay is even more enigmatic about it. No one knows him other than he likes a good salad and is incredibly fussy. When he meets Jack Reacher, he thinks he has his man because he has always been the most intelligent man in the room. Especially since arriving in Margrave. While Oscar questions him, he thinks he is building trust with him and then proving he murdered two men found under the overpass he walked over that morning. He does this by offering a sense, he thinks, of intellectual intimidation. Except things do not go as planned because, as Reacher tells Finlay, details matter.

In a stunning work of deductive reasoning, Reacher turns the tables on Finlay. He knows it was three killers. One was a meticulous shooter, cleaning up after himself by leaving no bullet casings. The other is unhinged as he beats the dead body postmortem. Finally, the third panicked. They must have wanted to get out of them, so they threw a piece of cardboard over the body that didn’t cover the feet of the tall corpse. Reacher even notices how nervous Finlay gets when Reacher proves his innocence by shaking his leg and noticing the faint smell of cigarette smoke coming off his tweed jacket.

Why did Oscar Finlay come to Margrave in Reacher season 1?

Later, Oscar admits that his wife left him. This is the reasoning, we presume, for running away from his problems and settling into a town where no one knows him. He calls his ex-wife’s cell phone and leaves a message. He even comments he wishes she would call him back.

However, this was all symbolic or comfort. While on a stakeout and arguing the merits of beef jerky with Reacher, he mentions how unhealthy it is to let go of people. Finlay then tells Reacher the truth while playing with the band on his ring finger. His wife became ill and passed away. It turns out everyone thought she walked out on him because he is an old, cranky, pain in the ass, per Reacher. He tells Reacher that he failed her because he couldn’t save her. He moved to Margrave, living river a smoke shop when he is trying to quit smoking and not to mention wearing a tweed suit in the summer, as a way to pay penance to his failure.

Reacher, showing a rare glimpse of empathy, calls him stupid.

The question is: Is Chief Detective Oscar Finlay able to move on in his life and stop hiding in Margrave?

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