Amazon Prime Video has a bona fide hit on its hands with Reacher, the adaptation of the first book in the bestselling crime series by Lee Child. One of the best Amazon Prime Video shows available to stream, Reacher casts Alan Ritchson as the towering, fist-throwing investigator, who lends his talents to the staff of a small Georgia sheriff’s department when bodies start showing up on the roadside, and signs point to the town’s top benefactor. Critics really loved what Ritchson and his crew put together, while author Lee Child had to hold back tears during the final episode (for very specific reasons).
Well, dry those tears Lee Child, because Reacher is getting a second season. Source material won’t be an issue. Where the first season of Reacher wisely adapted the first book in Child’s literary series, Killing Floor, subsequent seasons have 24 other Jack Reacher books to choose from, as well as a gaggle of short stories that also could compile an anthology approach to a slate of episodes. Let’s dig into some of the stories that could inspire Reacher Season 2, with reasons why I think that they would be good options.
Die Trying (1998)
This is the book that Alan Ritchson would choose if asked about source material for Reacher Season 2. And in some ways, it makes sense. It was the second book published by Lee Child (after Killing Floor), making it the second book die hard fans read if they’ve been tracking Reacher’s progress from the very beginning. I like the idea of going with Die Trying as the basis for Reacher Season 2 because it offers something distinctly different from Killing Floor –shifting the action from rural Georgia to a mountain community in the American west, where a radical militia looks to enact a plan to secede from the United States.
Die Trying could give audience members some components that made the first season work, including a strong-willed female character (to replace Willa Fitzgerald’s Roscoe) and one of Reacher’s military mentors in Col. Leon Garber. Every Reacher book takes place in a new location, with a fresh set of characters and circumstances, and it’d be good for the TV series to establish that precedent early on.
Night School (2016)
Here’s where things can get interesting for the show Reacher. While Night School was published nearly 20 years after Killing Floor, it tells a prequel story that chronologically would be set before the action in Reacher Season 1. This would make sense for the Amazon Prime Video show to stay in the vicinity of the Reacher timeline, taking advantage of Alan Ritchson’s young age, and the fact that his Jack Reacher isn’t as grizzled or experienced as the wandering vigilante eventually will become.
If showrunner Nick Santora chooses Night School as his inspiration for Reacher Season 2, audiences will see more of Maria Sten’s character, Frances Neagley, as she assists Reacher on his mission for this book. We’d also meet Leon Garber, as he appears early in the story to send Reacher off on his particular quest. The one thing holding Night School back, potentially, is that large chunks of the story take place in Hamburg, Germany as Jack Reacher and two agents track stolen nuclear bombs. The show could fake Hamburg, for sure, but something tells me an American location will make more sense for Reacher Season 2.
The Hard Way (2006)
As discussed above, location plays a key part in almost every Reacher novel, and the hero’s efforts to adapt to whatever city/town/locale he is in can drive the plot forward. So if I were sitting in on the pitch meetings for Amazon Prime Video’s Reacher Season 2, I’d suggest moving the action to a spot that’s 180 degrees different from the small-town aesthetic of Margrave, Georgia – mainly to prove to viewers that the concept of a Jack Reacher mystery can work just about anywhere.
The Hard Way is set in New York City, where Reacher witnesses what he believes is a transfer of money between two shady characters late one night outside of a cafe. As he investigates, he lands in the middle of a kidnapping and ransom plot involving some powerful and corrupt entities, which would give Alan Ritchson the opportunity to flex his muscles against some vicious opposition in what amounts to an air-tight thriller.
61 Hours (2010)
This one likely will be held for later seasons, once Reacher has established itself as a recurring factor on Amazon’s release schedule. It starts a story that stretched over a series of books… something the Jack Reacher novels didn’t do prior. But Reacher landed in the middle of such a sprawling web of crime starting in 61 Hours, Lee Child needed more books to let the story unfurl.
Two things really set 61 Hours apart. It’s set in South Dakota during a brutal winter, and the cold and snow play a major factor in hindering Reacher’s goals. Also, the book ends on a cliffhanger, so if Nick Santora wanted to adapt it for a season, he’d need to have the guarantee of a follow up season. Either way, this one would be terrific to tell, eventually.
We will continue to track updates on the second season of Reacher. In the meantime, the first full season is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video, so make sure that your Amazon Prime subscription is up to date, and start catching up on this agent of chaos and his on-screen adventures.
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and 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.