‘Reacher’ Season 1 Recap — What to Remember Before Season 2

The Big Picture

  • Reacher’s nomadic lifestyle is disrupted in Season 1 when he’s arrested for a murder he didn’t commit, leading him to uncover a deadly conspiracy in Margrave, Georgia.
  • Reacher forms alliances with Detective Finlay and Deputy Conklin to protect a family targeted by the murderers, who are connected to the corrupt Kliner Foundation.
  • Reacher and his team expose the counterfeiting ring led by Kliner Sr., facing betrayal and danger along the way, until they ultimately take down the entire operation.


Reacher makes its television return this week on Prime Video with the show’s sophomore season. Well before the new season’s debut, Amazon delivered the announcement that Reacher received an early third-season renewal and that production of Season 3 is already underway. In Season 2 of Reacher, the unstoppable juggernaut of vigilante justice that is Jack Reacher (Alan Ritchson) seeks to untangle a conspiracy involving the brutal murders of his former U.S. Army unit teammates. With the first season of Reacher making its debut on Prime Video nearly two years ago in February 2022, it’s a good time for a refresher before you prepare to dive into Season 2.

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Reacher

When retired Military Police Officer Jack Reacher is arrested for a murder he did not commit, he finds himself in the middle of a deadly conspiracy full of dirty cops, shady businessmen and scheming politicians. With nothing but his wits, he must figure out what is happening in Margrave, Georgia. The first season of Reacher is based on the international bestseller The Killing Floor by Lee Child.

Genres
Drama

Streaming Service(s)
Prime Video


Wherever Jack Reacher Goes, Danger Follows

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Image via Prime Video

At the beginning of the first season of Reacher, former U.S. Army MP officer Jack Reacher decides to stop off in Margrave, Georgia on a whim, recalling that his brother mentioned the Blues singer Blind Blake died in the rural town. Since leaving the military, Reacher has lived as a nomadic drifter, traveling with only a toothbrush and the clothes on his back. When he needs new clothes, he just buys used threads from thrift shops. He pays for his lodgings at cheap motels and gets whatever money he needs from his military pension. After spending much of his youth and adult life in and around the military, Reacher views his current life as true freedom.

After stopping in Georgia, Reacher’s modest lifestyle is interrupted when he’s arrested by the Margrave sheriff’s department on suspicion of murder. Unbeknownst to Reacher, he’s been accused of murdering his older brother, Joe Reacher (Christopher Russell), a slain Homeland Security agent. The investigating detective, Oscar Finlay (Malcolm Goodwin), initially suspects Reacher of wrongdoing and sends the former soldier to county lockup for a week with a meek accountant and family man, Paul Hubble (Marc Bendavid), who falsely confesses to the murder.

After they are sent to prison, a crooked guard puts Reacher and Hubble in the general population when they are supposed to be sent to solitary confinement. While in prison, thanks to Reacher’s insane strength and military training, he thwarts an attempt on his and Paul’s lives. When Reacher gets released, he befriends Deputy Roscoe Conklin (Willa Fitzgerald), who is attracted to Reacher and believes in his innocence. Suspecting Reacher might know more information about the murders, Finlay coerces Reacher into staying in Margrave. However, a visit to the medical examiner’s office reveals that one of the murder victims is Reacher’s older brother, Joe. Now bent on revenge, Reacher decides to stay in Margrave to find those responsible for the murder of his brother.

Reacher Investigates a Brutal Conspiracy in Season 1

Jack Reacher with his hands behind his head looking at the camera in Reacher.
Image via Prime Video

Reacher forms a tenuous alliance with Det. Finlay, despite the two mixing like oil and water, and Deputy Conklin, who is one of the few honest officers on Margrave’s police force. The assailants behind the murders utilize brutal tactics, including targeting victims’ children and family members. When Paul Hubble disappears following his release from prison, it falls upon Reacher and his team to protect Hubble’s wife, Charlene (Kristin Kreuk), and two daughters, putting them in the protective custody of Finlay’s FBI colleague, Picard (Martin Roach).

The killers strike again, brutally murdering Margrave police chief Morrison (Peter Skagen) and his wife. Reacher suspects Chief Morrison’s murder was in retaliation for failing to take out Hubble and Reacher while they were in custody. All the clues point to the Kliner Foundation, a lucrative business that has its hands in every pie in the town of Margrave, being behind the murders. The Kliner Foundation is managed by its nefarious owner, Kliner Sr. (Currie Graham). Meanwhile, Mayor Grover Teale (Bruce McGill) takes over as acting chief of the Margrave police department, hindering Finlay, Conklin, and Reacher’s investigation, which indicates that Mayor Teale is involved with the Kliner Foundation and the murders.

Reacher Exposes the Kliner Foundation

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Image via Prime Video

In following the few clues in the case, Reacher and his allies uncover that Joe was in Margrave investigating an elaborate counterfeiting ring led by Kliner. Kliner partners with gangsters in Venezuela, printing vast amounts of counterfeit $100 bills from single one-dollar bills, which are then shipped to the Kliner Foundation’s partners in South America. Kliner duped and coerced Hubble into joining the counterfeiting operation, ensuring loyalty by showing Hubble their brutal tactics. The Kliner Foundation operates under the radar in Margrave, bribing the police and the mayor to keep them under their thumbs. The truck driver Pete Jobling was murdered earlier in the season for skimming some of the counterfeit money from the illicit shipments. Joe was killed for getting too close to exposing their crimes. Paul Hubble had previously contacted Joe to act as an informant in exchange for immunity.

Kliner Sr. was the brains behind the counterfeiting operation. Meanwhile, Kliner Sr.’s son, the psychotic Kliner “KJ” Junior (Chris Webster), and nephew, Dawson Kliner (AJ Simmons), were the ones taking part in the butchering and brutal executions of their victims, including Chief Morrison, Pete Jobling, and Joe Reacher. KJ specifically was the one who executed Joe. Throughout the season, Reacher, Finlay, and Conklin conduct their investigation while attempting to steer clear of Kliner’s co-conspirators, corrupt officers, and hitmen in their employ.

Midway into the season, Reacher and Conklin become lovers. Despite their differences, Reacher and Finlay form a begrudging bond. Eventually, Finlay comes clean that he left Boston to transfer to the middle of nowhere in Georgia because he was grieving the loss of his beloved wife from cancer. The anguish of staying in his hometown where everything reminded him of his late wife was too much for Finlay. Additionally, Conklin uncovers that Mayor Teale is a co-conspirator, having murdered Conklin’s mentor and adoptive father, Detective Gray, who was also investigating the Kliner Foundation’s illicit activities and getting too close. Just as they are about to blow open the case, the group is betrayed by Finlay’s FBI friend, Picard, who is revealed as another co-conspirator involved in the counterfeiting ring, helping keep the federal authorities off the proverbial back of the Kliner Foundation. KJ even kills his father at the direction of their Venezuelan partners for failing to cover up their activities. Conklin, Charlene Hubble, and Paul and Charlene’s children are taken hostage by KJ and Teale, while Reacher is forced to track down the missing Hubble, as the accountant is the final loose end.

Reacher Makes a Final Stand in the Season 1 Finale

Jack Reacher (Alan Ritchson) from the Amazon Prime series 'Reacher.'
Image via Prime Video

The quick-witted Reacher escapes the captivity of Agent Picard, tracking down Hubble on his own. Reacher then breaks Finlay out of the captivity of the corrupt Deputy Baker (Hugh Thompson) from the Margrave police station by crashing a pickup truck into the station and squishing Deputy Baker between the truck and the jail cell bars. They are also joined by Reacher’s friend, former Army Sgt. Frances Neagley (Maria Sten), who was assisting Reacher with the investigation. Along with Hubble, they plan a siege against the remaining conspirators at the Kliner Foundation’s factory, where they print their counterfeit bills.

During the siege, Reacher frees Conklin, Charlene, and the Hubble girls, reuniting them with Paul. Conklin takes revenge on Mayor Teale for killing her surrogate father, Det. Gray, and Finlay kills Picard by smashing him to paste underneath a factory pressing machine. They escape from the burning factory, and Reacher and KJ are the last ones in the building. Reacher finally gets revenge for the murder of his brother by throwing KJ into the flaming boxes of counterfeit money. Reacher walks out of the blazing factory victorious, having literally burned the Kliner Foundation’s operation to the ground.

Reacher Resumes His Vagabond Lifestyle

Alan Ritchson in Reacher Season 1
Image via Prime Video

After taking down the entire Kliner Foundation operation and killing all those responsible for Joe’s murder, Reacher recalls the last time he saw his brother. In a flashback, he remembers visiting their ailing mother, Josephine Reacher (Leslie Fray), who was dying from terminal lung cancer. She reminded her sons of the lessons she and her husband taught them as children: that Joe should only try to solve a few of the world’s problems instead of all of them; and that Jack should only use his strength to do the right thing. Josephine also gifts Jack with her father’s Silver Star medal that he was awarded for his service in World War II.

Back in the present, Reacher gently turns down an offer from Conklin to stay with her to help rebuild Margrave. Reacher then meets Finlay at the diner where Reacher was arrested at the start of the season and failed to get his slice of peach pie. Finlay reveals his plans to return to Boston and his readiness to come to terms with the loss of his wife. Despite their differences, Finlay thanks Reacher for his help exposing the conspiracy and gets him a slice of Margrave’s famous peach pie. Unfortunately, Reacher is less than impressed by the pie’s quality. As he leaves town, Reacher returns to the spot where Joe’s body was found, burying their grandfather’s medal in the dirt in tribute to his murdered sibling. Reacher then walks down the road with his thumb out, going back to his vagabond life on the road from whence he came. Sadly, Reacher never did find out if the fictional town of Margrave, Georgia was Blind Blake’s final resting place.

Based on Lee Child’s novel, The Killing Floor, the first season of Reacher ends with a conclusive ending, acting as a standalone storyline with no cliffhanger. Meanwhile, Season 2 of Reacher is based on the eleventh book of Child’s Jack Reacher book series, Bad Luck and Trouble. Events in Season 2 of Reacher pick up over two years after Season 1. Based on the first season’s format, the second season should work as another single novel adaptation.

Season 2 of Reacher debuts with its first three episodes on December 15 on Prime Video. New episodes will air weekly on Fridays through January 19, 2024.

Watch on Prime Video

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