Tuesday, November 03, 2020

TV Tuesday: The Stranger

The trend of adapting books into TV shows and movies shows no sign of slowing, which makes me happy! Novels often translate beautifully to the screen, bringing the characters to life and providing complex, intriguing plots. The Stranger, a Netflix original program, is adapted from a Harlan Coben thriller, and although neither my husband nor I read the book, we both thoroughly enjoyed the dark and twisty TV show.

Adam Price, played by Richard Armitage, lives a happy typically suburban life. He's a lawyer, his wife, Corrine (played by Dervla Kirwan), is a beloved high school teacher, they have two healthy sons, and they spend their Saturdays at the soccer field. One day, out of the blue, a stranger--a young woman wearing a baseball cap (played by Hannah John-Kamen)--comes up to Adam and tells him that Corrine faked her pregnancy and miscarriage the previous year. Stunned, Adam goes home and checks the evidence the stranger told him about and then confronts Corrine, who is upset but says he doesn't know the whole story. The next day, Corrine disappears, leaving a mysterious text message that says she needs some time alone. Meanwhile, Johanna, played by Siobhan Finneran, is a police detective in town who will eventually look into Corrine's disappearance. For now, though, she and her partner are investigating a brutal and strange crime scene in the woods, involving a decapitated alpaca from a local farm and a naked, injured boy from the local high school. As each episode unfolds, we see the stranger approach more people in the town, each time disclosing a secret held by a loved one, complete with evidence, and sometimes blackmailing them for large sums of money. Who is she and why is she doing this? And what happened to Corrine ... and that poor alpaca??

Just like the thriller novel it is derived from, this show takes off like a shot and is filled with all kinds of unexpected plot twists. By the end of the first episode, we were hooked, but each new episode adds another layer of complexity, as the stranger weaves a web of secrets and deceit through the people in town that gets more and more complex. It's just eight episodes long and fast-paced, so it kept us rapt ... and always wanting to know what happens next. We watched it over the course of a couple of weeks, but it would be a fun show to binge, too. The acting was excellent and the plotting superbly complicated (but not so much that we couldn't follow it). We really enjoyed this taut thriller filled with suspense that kept us guessing right up to its last moments.

The Stranger is a Netflix original so is only available on Netflix.

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