Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Ending Of Reacher Season 1 Explained

Contains spoilers for "Reacher" Season 1

For over 20 years, thriller readers worldwide have been enthralled by Lee Child and the exploits of his larger-than-life protagonist, Jack Reacher. After 26 novels, the character finally hit the small screen with Amazon Prime original "Reacher."

After two feature films starring Tom Cruise as the intimidating and brutal Jack Reacher, Amazon Studios rebooted the series with Alan Ritchson in the titular role. The series also stars Malcolm Goodwin as Detective Oscar Finlay and Willa Fitzgerald as Roscoe. The first season runs for eight episodes (released simultaneously on Amazon Prime) and is based on the first novel of Lee Child's series, "Killing Floor" (via The Hollywood News).

Jack Reacher gets off a bus in Margrave, Georgia, only to be arrested immediately for murder. Ultimately discovered not to be involved in the murder, he decides to help with the investigation when more victims appear, including his brother. The small town of Margrave is unwelcome to outsiders, including the Black lead detective, Finlay, who transferred down from Boston to escape his life in New England. Partnered with a young officer, Roscoe, the trio investigates the murders continuing to pile up, leading them to a powerful businessman, a corrupt federal agent, and even the mayor.

Sitting on the steps of a gazebo when all is said and done, Reacher says he will be moving on. He isn't one to stay rooted since he "doesn't like answering questions," and he "doesn't like sticking around." But what did this ending mean, and what is next for Reacher?

Is this justice or revenge?

The motivations for the three investigators to find the killers are displayed as themes throughout the eight-episode season. Finlay is a good cop and detective who wants justice for the dead. His brand of policing is about doing the right thing, no matter what. Roscoe has roots in the community; she is fighting for the town her parents built. Reacher is out for revenge and nothing but.

At the beginning of the season, Reacher was ready to leave the murders in Finlay's hands and move on but was forced to stay. He only takes on a more active role in the investigation when he discovers his brother is a victim. However, in the last few moments of the season, a flashback shows Reacher and his brother, Joe (Christopher Russell), at the bedside of their dying mother, Josephine (Leslie Fray).

We the boys getting into a fight with a larger kid. Joe took the fall, but their mother tells them she always knew it was Jack. He protected a weaker boy because that was his nature, and Joe covered for Jack because that was his nature. Reacher ended up at Margrave, protecting Roscoe. His mission started as revenge, but along the way, he followed his nature to protect someone new.

Each character faces their past

The three investigators each come face-to-face with their past by the end of the season. "Reacher" doesn't settle for the run-of-the-mill cop-catches-killer storyline. The writers use the theme of the past to drive the characters forward through the story.

Roscoe faces her legacy. She became a cop because she looked up to Grey, her parents' best friend, who mentored her through her path to law enforcement. In Episode 2, she tells the story of who he was and how the Teale family were rivals of her own family, the Conklins. In the final minutes of the warehouse battle, she takes out Mayor Teale for his part in the criminal organization, and Reacher suggests she run for mayor, which would return the town to its rightful place.

Finlay isn't from Margrave; he relocated there to get away from Boston. At the beginning of the season, Reacher mistakenly pegs the detective as a divorced man, but Finlay later reveals he is a widower. In his final scene with Reacher, he informs him he is quitting police work and heads home to move on with his life.

Reacher faces the death of his last family member. He never got to say goodbye. Had he not been mistaken for the murderer, he may have never known his brother died. The flashbacks give us a glimpse of his past and how he comes to grips with it in the present day.

What's next for Reacher?

Reacher isn't a man who likes to stick around. Much of his character and story arc is predicated on him being in a new place and finding himself in a brand-new form of trouble. That means that there are 25 more books they could have chosen from for Season 2. However, two stick out as the best possible options for a follow-up season.

The first is the most obvious choice. Since Season 1 began the Jack Reacher story on-screen in the same place Lee Child started with Book 1, "Killing Floor," it isn't far-fetched to expect Amazon to continue the trend and move on to the second book in the series, "Die Trying."

On the other hand, the series introduces someone from Reacher's past they can build on. Frances Neagley (Maria Sten) is a PI and a former member of his Special Investigations Unit in the Army. During one episode, after the pair is attacked, they utter a line, "You don't mess with the special investigators," used in the summary of the 11th book in the series, "Bad Luck and Trouble" (via Jack Reacher). All of this could be coincidental, but Neagley wasn't in the debut novel. Could this be a sign that the TV series will use that storyline next?

Either way, there are dozens of potential storylines in the novels to pull from, and with Alan Ritchson at the perfect age to keep going, Amazon could have a hit series that could go on for a decade ... or longer.