How Jack Reacher Author Lee Child Ended Up With A Stan Lee-Style Cameo In The New Reacher TV Series

The following story contains a very mild spoiler for the new Amazon Prime series Reacher. It’s nothing plot related, but it does tease something that happens after the first few episodes of the season, so if you want to go in completely unspoiled, back out now.

In our humble opinion, Reacher is one of the best shows on Amazon Prime at the moment. And several critics agree. With Alan Ritchson in the lead role of wandering investigator Jack Reacher, the series successfully adapts the first book in the long-running series of crime novels by bestselling author Lee Child. And if you are paying close attention to the episodes, you will see Child make a cameo. 

Anyone who reads Jack Reacher novels knows that the mountain of a man frequents diners in every city and town he visits, and Lee Child describes them with such intimate detail, you immediately crave eggs and sausage with black coffee, or a fresh slice of pie. I knew Reacher was in good hands when Alan Ritchson’s hero walks into a perfectly set diner in the opening minutes of the first episode. The diner literally is a necessary supporting character. 

And it’s in that diner where Alan Ritchson’s Reacher encounters Lee Child, playing a customer who is on his way out the door. As for how Child ended up making a cameo in that moment, we have Ritchson to thank, as he told CinemaBlend:

So, we were on set together and we were on a set that was perfect for this interaction to happen. And I remember asking Don Granger, who has been a partner with Lee for many years on this franchise, if (he) thought Lee would be up for it. I wanted him to be in the scene. And he goes, ‘Yeah, sure! Lemme go ask him.’ And so he goes, ‘Oh, he loved the idea! He’s going to do it.’ And I was like, ‘No way, my hero! My hero is going to be in the scene with me. He wants to do this.’ And our paths do cross. But I want people to find it on their own. It’s one of those Stan Lee moments. But what’s important is that people know that I was absolutely starstruck every take that we had, and I just couldn’t believe it was happening.

Alan Ritchson must not have told his hero, the author, to keep the cameo a secret, because he admitted to us where you need to look. You need to make it all the way to episode eight, titled “Pie,” of the first season of Reacher to spot Child. Naturally, it occurs in a diner. During a press day for the Amazon Prime Video show, the author sat down with CinemaBlend for an exclusive interview and mentioned:

I love that diner (set), yeah. And if you – a little inside thing – if you watch in the final episode, there’s a particular customer in that diner that you might recognize.

Lee Child needs to show up in every season of Reacher now. This can become a tradition, not unlike the MCU cameos that the late Stan Lee made in those feature films. Reacher -- not Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan -- currently is streaming all eight episodes of its first season on Amazon Prime Video, so make sure your Amazon Prime subscription is up to date. 

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.