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Reacher Review

Following the disappointment of the casting for the beloved character’s big screen adaption – lets face it, despite his action credentials, Tom Cruise didn’t quite live up to the stature of the 6ft 5, 250 pound man mountain – Prime Video attempt to right this wrong with their latest small screen offering. Based on Child’s first book, International bestseller Killing Floor, the eight-episode season certainly joins the ranks of similarly positioned thriller/crime procedurals – Bosch and Jack Ryan – on the streaming service.

As the ex-military police officer-come-drifter arrives into the small, rural town of Margrave, Georgia – he’s instantly arrested for a murder he didn’t commit. As Reacher (Alan Ritchson) attempts to clear his name and begins investigating the growing homicide cases with local police captain Finley (Malcolm Goodwin) and cop Roscoe (Willa Fitzgerald), the trio uncover shocking evidence and connections to a larger mystery – quickly becoming embroiled in a deadly conspiracy.

Fans of the novels will be happy to know that this adaptation is much truer to the source material than previous iterations, with a closer translation of the titular hero from book to screen. Testament to this, for the first six minutes of the opening episode Ritchson’s Reacher doesn’t say a word – merely leaning into his imposing physical presence and expressive body language to get his point across. Once the crime is established and the characters are introduced, showrunner Nick Santora doesn’t waste any time immersing us in the shady case – quickly thrusting the titular character in prison for an impressively brutal fight sequence which doesn’t shy away from the violence of the novels.

As the central investigative trio sets out to uncover the truth, the mystery unravels across the series in a measured approach, with great pacing throughout. With plenty of twists and turns discovered in the criminal case – including corrupt law enforcement officers, dirty money, mysterious shipments and betrayals etc – Santora ticks off all the typical tropes of a procedural crime thriller. And while it can, at times, stray into predictable territory – particularly throughout the clunky flashbacks – the consistent strength of the three leads, coupled with the surprisingly brutal and bloody moments, help to elevate the series. There’s also an entertaining long-running gag throughout which sees Reacher constantly denied a chance to try the local pie.

Titans’ star Ritchson is inspired casting, perfectly embodying the sheer size and muscle mass paired with a calculative and measured approach – resulting in a deadly combination of both brawn and brains. While he excels most in the multiple exhilarating fight and action sequences, he also brings a lot of charm and an enjoyable brazen attitude. His dynamic with both Goodwin and Fitzgerald is entertaining to watch and its certainly fun to see his rebellious approach rub off on the pair throughout the series. It’s also fantastic to see more of What We Do in the ShadowsHarvey Guillén, as he occasionally pops up as the awkward lab tech, proving brilliant comedic relief in the surprisingly gruesome crime scenes.

Along with the warm and fun character dynamics, there’s also plenty of action to enjoy throughout the series. Santora doesn’t shy away from the bloody gore and brutal brawls of the novels, as Reacher racks up the body count on his quest for the truth and justice. The best sequence is undeniably the cracking prison combat in episode 1, along with a particularly intense sequence as he attempts to take on four heavily armed men alone in the seventh episode. There’s also plenty of foot chases, car chases and shootouts too. It’s just a shame that the final battle proves an underwhelming climax, as Reacher finally takes on the villains face-to-face.


Although the big reveal doesn’t prove quite as satisfying a conclusion as expected, there’s certainly a lot to enjoy from the first season of Reacher. With 26 acclaimed novels to pull from, there’s undoubtedly more to come from Alan Ritchson’s impressive take on the beloved investigator – signalling a bright start to his small-screen adventures.