My wife and I binged The Stranger on Netflix, mostly last night, and last two of the eight episodes, today. It’s based on Harlan Coben’s novel. and it’s intricately plotted, with tight as a drum resolutions, just as you’d expect from a Coben work. Indeed, even more. Which makes it about the best detective mystery series we’ve seen on any kind of television in years, maybe ever.
All I’ll tell you about the plot is that a husband (Adam Price) is told a secret about this wife, which, when he confronts her about it, leads to her disappearance. That happens in the first episode. The rest of the series shows us the husband in search of his wife. The search leads to all kinds of stunning surprises about his family and neighbors, all of which, though seemingly beyond the most dogged detective work, tie together plausibly in the end.
That’s no small feat in a genre in which far fewer twists and turns are left not fully explained. And The Stranger does this with surprising villains and heroes at almost every turn, and moral ambiguities swirling around just about every scene. In that sense, The Stranger is but a canvas in which the complexities of life in this world are writ large on the screen.
I haven’t read Coben’s novel, but I understand it takes place in America. The Stranger unfolds in England, and feels perfectly situated there. It’s peopled by top-notch British actors, including MI-5‘s Richard Armitage (who plays Adam Price in The Stranger) and Siobhan Finneran (DS Johanna Griffin in The Stranger) from Downton Abbey. But everyone else in this series puts in some great acting, too, including Jacob Dudman as Adam’s eldest son Thomas, and the always excellent Stephen Rea as the pivotal Martin Killane.
But I may have said too much already, and, if I were you, I’d stop reading about The Stranger, and snap it up asap.