Jack Reacher is nothing if not reliable. Every year since 1997, the character has, like clockwork, popped up in a new novel from the British author Lee Child, with two literary outings in 2010 making for a total of 26 novels to date, most recently 2021’s Better Off Dead, and more than 100 million book sales so far.
Reacher, a former US military police officer turned itinerant defender of truth and justice, has also appeared in close to 20 short stories and novellas from Child, while two of the full-length novels, 2005’s One Shot and 2013’s Never Go Back, have been adapted into feature films starring Tom Cruise in the title role (2012’s Jack Reacher and 2016’s Jack Reacher: Never Go Back).
There’s no reason for fans to fear Reacher will be appearing any less frequently soon either. Child, now 67, announced in 2020 that he would be co-authoring the next few novels, beginning with 2020’s The Sentinel, with his younger brother Andrew, leading ultimately to Lee retiring and Andrew, already an established author himself, carrying the Reacher name forward.
And this week, fans will be able to enjoy the adventures of Reacher in a whole new medium, when the character makes his small-screen debut in the eight-part Amazon Prime series Reacher.
When will 'Reacher' be released?
All eight episodes of the first season will be available for streaming on Amazon Prime from Friday.
Watch the full trailer here:
Who is part of the cast?
The new show brings together some key behind-the-scenes figures from the world of Jack Reacher, alongside an entirely new cast, compared to the feature films.
It's executive produced by Child, alongside Christopher McQuarrie, who co-wrote and directed the 2012 film and produced the 2016 sequel, also with Child. McQuarrie is also known for his frequent collaborations with Cruise, having worked alongside the star as writer, director, producer or a combination of the three on films including the Mission Impossible franchise, Top Gun: Maverick and The Mummy.
Cruise will not be on board this time, however, in part owing to fan displeasure with casting the 5'7" actor as the 6’5” Reacher in the films. Child told Deadline when announcing the new series in 2018: "I really enjoyed working with Cruise. But ultimately the readers are right. The size of Reacher is really important and it's a big component of who he is... So there won't be any more movies with Tom Cruise. Instead, we're going to take it to Netflix or something like that. Long-form streaming television, with a completely new actor. We're rebooting and starting over and we're going to try and find the perfect guy.”
Child and McQuarrie will be hoping that perfect guy is Alan Ritchson, whose 6’2” frame is at least closer to the hulking Reacher. Ritchson is previously best known as Aquaman/Arthur Curry in The CW’s Superman spin-off Smallville.
Also among the new cast are Willa Fitzgerald, aka Emma Duval from MTV’s Scream spin-off series as the cop Roscoe Conklin, and former Miss Denmark Universe Maria Sten as Reacher’s army buddy Frances Neagley.
Nick Santora, who has previously written and/or produced for shows including The Sopranos, Law and Order and Prison Break takes on writing and showrunning duties.
What is the show about?
Having been released from the US Military Police as it downsized, Jack Reacher takes on a nomadic life as a drifter, travelling around the US, and occasionally further afield, helping the helpless, fighting injustice and bringing harmony where there was chaos (albeit usually dispensing a fair degree of chaos to get there).
Reacher is arrested for murder and spends time in jail after getting caught up in a criminal conspiracy, and now the police need his help to solve a string of killings in the rural Georgia town of Margrave.
Child has compared Reacher to an “avenging angel” and a “knight-errant”, the romantic hero of medieval lore who would wander the land in search of adventures to prove his chivalry.
Given Reacher’s distinctly modern setting, however, he might be more appropriately compared to a one-man unit akin to The A-Team or a particularly tall, and notably scruffier, non-domiciled The Equalizer.