Screw It, Here’s My Reacher Review

I initially wasn’t planning on making this review, but a combination of things happened: first, I finished the show last night, second, I had a lot of respect for it, and three, I couldn’t think of anything right off the bat to write for a blog post today. So I guess I’m reviewing the Amazon tv show Reacher today…not like it’s late or anything.

Fine, yeah, I know it’s late. So what? I hardly ever watch TV unless it’s a hyped-up release of something I’m already interested in. I never would have watched The Rings of Power if I wasn’t a nutsy Tolkien shill. Same thing with The Last of Us. (if you’re wondering why I review almost every TV show I watch for pretty much no reason, stop)

To be fair, that doesn’t stop this show from being an absolutely inspired piece of work: smart writing, brilliant acting, masterful shooting and casting. I don’t fanboy often, but this is the stuff of fandoms (if that even makes sense). Hopefully I can explain to you why I think this is a great show, and, ultimately, why you should watch it.

I’m going to avoid a plot summary, but I can give you the basic premise: the story is centered around a cop, the chief detective, and an ex-military drifter, and the plot finds them coming together and squaring their differences to take down a much larger enemy: a nefarious counterfieting scheme set in the seemingly innocuous town of Margrave in Georgia.

I don’t know how close this is to the books, but it seems pretty different from Tom Cruise’s Jack Reacher, so…I guess? The show has piqued my interest in the books, however, so perhaps I’ll go over those in the future.

Alan Ritchson is pitch-perfect for the main role; any other actor might have played Reacher as a dull, brooding behemoth instead of the hulking tactical mastermind that he is. Reacher’s superhumanly tough, smart, and skilled with his fists or a weapon. But at the same time, he has human desires and flaws. He’s a great piece of character work from a writing standpoint, and Ritchson’s amazing acting job sold me on what could easily have been (under worse management) just another generic action hero.

Willa Fitzgerald amazed us all and did the impossible by portraying a capable, realistic female cop who wasn’t an annoying feminist activist dressed up in an MPD uniform. She’s smart, a good shot, capable, and believable. Hats off to her ability to actually keep a southern accent; she puts Pedro Pascal to shame on that front.

Malcolm Goodwin also hands in a great performance as Oscar Finlay, maybe my favorite character in the show (besides Reacher, of course). While Reacher and Roscoe (Fitzgerald) have similar chemistry, Finlay is the dark horse of the bunch: he doesn’t swear, he’s short, and he’s constantly in an environment that doesn’t favor him. But in spite of everything, he perseveres to do what’s right.

Reacher, Roscoe, and Finlay all blend beautifully as the series’ core trio. They’re united by a common goal: to do what’s right. They also have their own way of being A-holes: Reacher is insensitive, Roscoe is overemotional, and Finlay is a grouch. It’s fun to see them bounce off each other, especially Finlay and Reacher. The three characters are confident, brave, unrelenting, and smart. But are they enough?

The villains are a well-chosen bunch: Chris Webster as KJ especially deserves an award for his work in this show. Bruce McGill is the quintessential fat kingpin, and it’s really satisfying to hate him. Currie Graham is like discount Kevin Spacey, but he still hands in a performance that even he might be envious of.

The cast of supporting villains are also suitably devious. I like how the show portrays the villains as capable and smart, worthy adversaries of our heroes, but we can put our faith in Reacher’s strength, Roscoe’s aim, and Finlay’s brains. It creates a believable conflict by posing two evenly-matched forces against one another.

Another underrated performance is Marc Bendavid as Paul Hubble. He isn’t in the show very often, but he gets his times to shine often enough. He’s mainly used as a foil for Reacher: he’s skinny, dopey, capable of being duped and bullied, and is extremely unfortunate. His performances range from terrified to ecstatic, disheveled to sophisticated, optimistic to depressed. His sphere is admittedly smaller than Alan Ritchson’s or Malcolm Goodwin’s, but he fills it very well. Also, can we mention Willie C. Carpenter? Hats off to ya, sir. Running with the theme of “unlikely heroes”, the barber who loves tomato sandwiches is a perfect addition to the show.

Kristin Kreuk’s ability to keep up a Southern accent is, just as well as Fitzgerald’s, very satisfying. She also looks like an anime waifu if you look close enough (please your honor, I’m not a weeb I swear). Good grief, I’m gonna start praising the child actors if this goes on any longer, so let’s move on.

The writing is impeccable. I’d love to break down the story bit by bit and really explain what makes everything good, but that would spoil it. As it is, I can find no holes in the narrative structure or plotting. The plot is ultimately simple, but anything but predictable: it’s a proper mystery/thriller with a fair bit of action.

I’d be remiss to end this review without mentioning the tone: the show is unashamedly dark and gritty. It’s a little lighter on the violence front, but Reacher doesn’t back away from graphic depictions of gore and torture. It also isn’t a stranger to heartwarming scenes, scenes that remind us of more innocent times. The scenes don’t mix, either: the show does a good job of showing us the light/dark split between the good guys and the bad guys: the good guys are really good and the bad guys are depraved. It’s brilliant stuff, and makes for excellent viewing.

As far as humor is concerned, the show has a kind of deadpan wit mainly found in its protagonist, who is brutally honest at all times. There’s no “dumb” humor like what we find in the MCU, as it’s a show that takes itself seriously when it needs to. Most of the “humor” is exchanged for wit and gravity, and it’s a welcome change from the ridiculous constant comic relief the MCU gives us.

I could talk about how Reacher handles race in a tactful, entertaining, and logical way but perhaps I’ll save that for the video. (if it ever gets made, that is) All in all, the show is a solid 9/10 if you want my opinion, and it’s definitely worthy of praise. It delivers much more than it promises us, and it’s free with Amazon Prime. Worth a watch.

That’s all.


Be sure to check out my latest novel, Book 1 in the Praetors of Lost Magic Series, and our Publications page. Plus, I mean, it wouldn’t hurt to check out the Resources tab. It’s full of super helpful material and I promise it will help you out. Until then, writers!


Published by Van Ghalta

A cold, dark, mysterious character who purposefully wrote a story so that he could fit into it...A story where he himself WRITES stories, practices martial arts, blogs, plays airsoft, collects MTG trading cards, plays outdated video games, and writes weird, third-person bios for himself...

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