The Terminal List season 1 – who is Secretary Hartley?

By Marc Miller
Published: July 1, 2022
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This article, “who is Secretary Hartley,” contains spoilers regarding the Amazon original series The Terminal List season 1.

Access the recaps, reviews, and news for The Terminal List.

The Terminal List is an action-thriller series based on the best-selling book series by Jack Carr. One of the principal characters is the Secretary of Defense, Lorraine Hartley. She is played by veteran actress Jeanne Tripplehorn, star of such films as The Firm, Basic Instinct, and the current HBO Max series The Gilded Age, who embodies the role of the second in command of the United States military. She is strict but cares about members of the armed services. However, her character holds great power, and she is not just the carrot but the stick behind the mystery.  

So, that begs the question: 

Who is Secretary Hartley in The Terminal List season 1?  

Lorraine Hartley is the Secretary of Defense for the United States government. 

What does Lorraine Hartley do?     

The Secretary offers Lt. Commander James Reece the Navy Cross for his action on the mission during the attempted capture of the Syrian terrorist, Kahani. While Reece continues his pursuit of the coverup on the task and killing his family (Reece thinks Kahani had something to do with it), she arranges for him to see a Fox News story saying the terrorist has been killed during a meeting with her. This, in her mind, put the case to rest for him. Hartley also suspects a mole in her cabinet. Her second in command, Henry, is taking payments from Steve Horn, the billionaire who owns Capstone Industries. 

During the investigation by Reece and the reporter, Katie Buraneck, all the shareholders profited from the conspiracy to test human subjects on the drug RD-4895. This was a blind study that gave Reece and his Navy SEAL team terminal brain cancer. The investigation also revealed that the Secretary authorized the experiment legally and did not follow through illegally with Admiral Pillar, Commander Cox, and Captain Howard. So, by process of elimination, the shareholders who profited off the Capstone Industries deal involving Plano and Nubellum, all the shareholders profited. And since everyone involved had something to do with the blind study being on the asset list for shareholders, it is presumed Hartley must be the unnamed shareholder. 

When Katie writes up the story, she sends it off to her editor, but Hartley using the top-secret resource, intercepts the email. She offers an exclusive interview and explains her facts are correct, but her assumptions are incorrect. She never knew about the medical issue with the soldiers or the coverup. When Katie pulls a Thomas Caffery, berating her with facts that prove she was lying and knew about both, Hartley returns fire with a Colonel Jessup complex. She says she did it for the greater good and will not let her profit off the sacrifices the SEAL team made. 

Reece infiltrates her estate and makes it into her panic room. Katie steps in front of Reece, telling him she never profited off the merger. However, he tells her that she lit the fuse. It doesn’t matter, though. Hartley grabs her handgun and shoots herself before Reece has a chance. 

You can watch this series with a subscription to Amazon Prime. 

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