Amazon Prime’s Reacher faces a serious production challenge, but this could help the show succeed long term. Based on Lee Child’s bestselling Jack Reacher book series, the show’s first season was a runaway success for Amazon, with the mystery thriller drawing more viewers than bigger-budget epics like The Wheel of Time. While Alan Ritchson shone as the show’s titular hero, Reacher also benefited from a strong and sympathetic supporting cast, including standout performances by Willa Fitzgerald and Malcolm Goodwin as smalltown cops turned gung-ho vigilantes, Roscoe Conklin and Oscar Finlay.
However, while these characters proved popular with viewers – and, by the story’s end, with Reacher himself – there may not be many familiar faces in Reacher season 2. Following the lead of Lee Child’s books, each season of Reacher will take the cerebral bruiser to an entirely new location and drop him into an adventure with an (almost) entirely new set of characters. While this constant turnover is inevitable when following a nomadic spirit like Jack Reacher, it nonetheless presents a real challenge to the show’s production team, who will have to assemble a compelling supporting cast with each new season rather than relying on an established set of audience favorites.
But while a high cast turnover might present difficulties for the Reacher production team, it also unveils the path to the show’s long-term success. While most crime and thriller shows maintain a steady supporting cast between seasons, they often become bogged down in their own continuity. This can result in contrived and convoluted plotlines that exist to give supporting action cast members something to do rather than creating a compelling and cogent story – undermining the tight writing that draws fans to the genre in the first place. In this way, Reacher’s seasonal reset will ensure that its characters exist to serve the plot, rather than the other way round. This will place strong storytelling at the heart of Reacher and enable the show to replicate the kind of incisive and self-contained narratives that turned Lee Child’s book series into a global phenomenon.