By: Bill Cushing – March 2020

Jack Reacher has been around since author Lee Child introduced the character in 1997. Since then, Child has released one book every year without fail, with number 27 due for release this October. So it was only a matter of time before Hollywood came calling.

It was Tom Cruise who convinced Oscar-winning screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie to adapt ‘One Shot,’ the ninth novel in the series. It was eventually renamed Jack Reacher and arrived on the big screen in 2012 and another Cruise film in 2016. Despite the films being quite successful, avid readers of the novels were not thrilled with Cruise as Reacher. The character of Reacher is a very large man. Cruise is not.

Now, along comes ‘Reacher’ from Amazon Prime Video. This time Alan Ritchson, much more appropriate for the character’s physical appearance at 6’2” 200 lbs., plays the title character.

Jack Reacher is a war hero and ex-military policeman who now spends his life off the grid, traveling the country with no luggage, using fake names, and paying for everything in cash. The story begins with Reacher strolling into a diner in the fictional town of Margrave, Georgia. He’s in town because his brother Joe has told him about the area’s connection to a famous blues musician, and he has come to the diner because he wants to try a piece of what he has heard is the best peach pie you’ll find anywhere. Before he can do that, he is unexpectedly arrested for a murder he didn’t commit. Reacher, being Reacher, keeps his cool and soon finds out there is a secret to this town that he has unwittingly stumbled into.

Now he must stay in Margrave and prove he didn’t do it. And, when he finds out who has been killed, the matter becomes personal. The first season of Reacher follows the plot of the first Jack Reacher book, Killing Floor. In Child’s 1997 debut novel, Reacher eventually partners up with Finlay (Malcolm Goodwin), sheriff’s deputy Roscoe Conklin (Willa Fitzgerald) and a medical examiner (Harvey Guillén) to solve the murder.

Reacher has the deductive mind of Sherlock Holmes, but you count on at least one scene per episode where he beats the crap out of five guys attacking him at once. I won’t spoil the plot too much but expect to see plenty of fist fights, gunplay galore, corruption at all levels of law enforcement, and an overly complex money laundering plot. The show is cleverly plotted, and perfectly paced.

Series creator Nick Santora’s eight-episode series gives every indication of understanding the things that make Jack Reacher distinctive and entertaining as a character. Santora and his writing team have captured many of Reacher’s eccentricities, from his no-frills approach to packing — a passport, small wad of cash and travel toothbrush — to his obsessive accumulation of roadside trivia.

‘Reacher’ is a lot of fun, one of those series you look forward to and could happily binge-watch. It has already been renewed for a second season.

‘Reacher’ is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.

Bill Cushing

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