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'Reacher' showrunner on the one big change the hit Amazon series had to make from the books

All eight episodes of Reacher Season 1 are now streaming on Prime Video.

By Josh Weiss
Reacher 108 PRESS

After two Jack Reacher films starring Tom Cruise in the title role, the badass character created by best-selling author Lee Child made his way to the world of television in Amazon's Reacher (where he's played by Titans alum, Alan Ritchson). Of course, when adapting any novel for the audio-visual medium, certain creative choices have to be made. During a recent conversation with TVLine, Reacher showrunner and executive producer Nick Santora revealed the biggest deviation from Child's source material.

"We had to adjust one major thing: Reacher does a lot of thinking, and in the books that is not expressed outwardly through dialogue," he explained. "Lee Child was able to describe what the character was thinking at any given moment, but if we do that on TV, we have an hour of watching a guy, trying to guess what he is thinking at that moment. So we had to make Reacher a touch more verbal, but we tried to be very concise with our language and verbiage, and we tried to have Reacher only speak when necessary. You’ll see that he only really explains things to people he respects. So, he’ll explain stuff to Roscoe [played by Willa Fitzgerald] or to Finlay [Malcolm Goodwin], but to some jerk that he doesn’t like, he’ll just go and do what he does without a word."

Three days after the first season premiered on Prime Video, Reacher was renewed for a second season. "I think the show was received well because Lee Child created an incredible character," Santora continued. "Jack Reacher is beyond unique. He’s very different from any other literary character that’s out there, and hopefully now people think that he’s different from other characters on television."

While the showrunner wasn't made privy to specific viewership numbers or analytics, he did admit that the Amazon higher-ups used the phrase "spreading like wildfire" when discussing the show's overnight success. "I don’t know how to qualify 'wildfire,'" he concluded, "but… the show is just doing incredibly well."

He added: “I don’t think that anyone suspected — I know I didn't — for us to get a second season so quickly,” he added. “And I’m not to question it, that’s for for sure! It means I get to work with our writers and start cranking out more scripts.”

It's unclear what book Season 2 will tackle, but if the first season was an adaptation of 1997's The Killing Floor (the first-ever Jack Reacher book), then odds are good Santora and the rest of his production team are probably eyeing the second novel in the series: 1998's Die Trying. Speaking with Collider, Ritchson alluded to an anthology format for subsequent seasons.

All eight episodes of Reacher Season 1 are now streaming on Prime Video.