Reacher season 1 – why is Frances Neagley in the first season of Reacher?

By Marc Miller
Published: February 4, 2022
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Reacher season 1 - Why is Frances Neagley in the first season of Reacher - amazon original series

This article, “why is Frances Neagley in the first season of Reacher,” contains spoilers regarding Amazon’s Reacher, season 1.

Read the season 1 review.

The character of Frances Neagley (Maria Sten) does not appear in the Lee Child best-selling book series until Without Fail. This was not even the second or third book in the series, but the sixth! The book had Reacher contact Ms. Neagley after being asked to perform a Secret Service audit by a former girlfriend of Joe, Mary Elizabeth Froelich.

While Neagley feels like an annual staple of any Reacher outing, she has only been in six novels. Besides the one mentioned above, they include Bad Luck and Trouble, The Affair, Never Go Back, Night School, and the short story, Small Wars.

Francis Neagley was a member of the Military Police and Jack Reacher’s Special Investigations Unit, the 110th MP Company. (Factoid: Neagley was named after a woman who won a charity auction at the Bouchercon, the Anthony Boucher Memorial World Mystery Convention). She is now a private investigator. While in the books, she is medium height but is played by former Miss Denmark, that stands at 5’10.

Reacher season 1 – why is Frances Neagley in the first season of Reacher?

The series keeps most of the character’s core, making Neagley so exciting and entertaining. Including not liking being touched. She has a platonic friendship with Reacher. He commented, in Night School, that she was the best soldier he has worked with. She is his only friend. At least, the only human relationship he keeps in contact with—even one where Reacher can maintain a relationship where nothing has to be said.

The character in the book and the series keeps the theme of Neagley as the female version of Jack Reacher. Reacher respects her as his equal. Not just physically dangerous, she is also a top-flight investigator. For instance, in the new series, she is the one who locates a man named Viking. A former FBI agent moonlighted on the side protecting the Kliner family while investigating who could have killed the EPA agent in Arkansas. This revealed that Agent Picard was also involved and double-crossed Reacher at the end of the seventh episode.

I will speculate that Neagley, while a beloved secondary character, was brought in early to establish a possible spin-off series for Amazon Prime Video.

I believe Neagley was brought in also as a storytelling device. She represents the world that Roscoe and Finlay cannot relate to. A world where Reacher and Finlay are conditioned to kill first. They also ask questions later and create a moral code that government laws or natural ones do not respect. Her character gives you a sense that Reacher is not that rare white whale that many may perceive him to be. It allows the viewer a sense of gritty reality that increases suspense.

As I mentioned, Neagley is such a beloved character; she feels like she is a staple of the series. And is, to a point. There is tremendous untapped potential for this character. A female version of Reacher can be a fresh angle for a revenge thriller series. Especially for Amazon Prime, which has specialized in political, military, and crime thrillers the past decade.

Along with a terrific portrayal by Maria Sten, this is a homerun proposition.

The question is: Does the storyline suggest Frances Neagley may spin-off after the first season of Reacher? Here is our final recap detailing what happened in the end!

You can watch this series with a subscription to Prime. 

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