The Stranger is a new Harlan Coben mystery thriller on Netflix. The story is set in motion when a young woman calling herself The Stranger (Hannah John-Kamen) reveals secrets to several people living in Manchester, England.
The Stranger is on a mission to make sure people know the truth about their lives, their family’s lives, everyone’s secrets, even everyone’s DNA. She causes a series of dangerous, desperate events.
With any Harlan Coben series, you need a huge piece of butcher paper and a marker to draw out the characters and the spider web of connections between them to keep track of the plot. I’ll attempt to explain the basics, spoiler free, using mere words.
Adam Price (Richard Armitage) is the central character. The Stranger tells him his wife Corrine Price (Dervia Kirwan) faked a pregnancy a couple of years ago. She has an envelope containing proof.
When Adam confronts Corrine, she doesn’t deny it. She says there was more involved than just that. Then she disappears. Adam spends the remainder of the 8 episodes searching for her.
Adam’s son Thomas (Jacob Dudman) was involved in a wild party in the woods. His friends Mike Tripp (Brandon Fellows) and Daisy Hoy (Ella-Rae Smith) were there, too. Crazy stuff that ends the night bring the involvement of the police.
The cops come into the story investigating the teens, but they are soon involved in murder and missing persons investigations as well. Lots of stories run parallel and interweave their way to the final resolution.
DS Johanna Griffin (Siobhan Finneran) and DC Wesley Ross (Kadiff Kirwan) are on the teen situation, and later work the more serious cases as well. When there’s a murder, the cop John Katz (Paul Kaye) is also assigned.
The Price family lives across the street from the Tripp family. Doug Tripp (Shaun Dooley) and his kids are involved in a local football club. So were the Price boys. Corrine was the treasurer for the club and handled quite a lot of money. About the same time Corrine went missing, a lot of football club money was also discovered missing.
Heidi Doyle (Jennifer Saunders) is the first murder victim to be discovered. She’s DS Johanna Griffin best friend. Heidi just received an envelope from the stranger full of truth about her daughter Kimberley (Callie Cooke).
Another story running alongside these is the case of the holdout homeowner, Martin Killane (Stephen Rea). A big developer wanted to raze his house to build expensive new homes. Martin wasn’t selling. Adam Price was his lawyer. Adam’s father, Ed Price (Anthony Head), was the greedy developer.
Mysterious goings on in the housing case included the fact that Martin Killane was a former cop turned P.I. who was helping Adam figure out who the stranger was and where Corrine might be. Although knocking down his home seemed unrelated to everything else going on, it wasn’t.
Those were the basic mystery plotlines. While each case moved along and the bodies stacked up, more and more connections between all the players were discovered. By the time the pieces fit and the killers were known it was all over.
I thought the ending disappointed. The decisions the characters made at the end were not believable. It was too “happy ending” for the tense and suspenseful drama that had gone before. I didn’t think the kind of justice and revenge that dominated the final decisions were in keeping with the characters’ personalities. Also, I thought the stranger should be more integrated into the story by the end, even after all the mayhem she caused revealing secrets.
One thing about the ending that did work with the theme was after all the secrets were uncovered, there were a series of new secrets to be kept.
My quibbles about the ending aside, this is a well plotted and well acted mystery that will engage mystery lovers every second of the way. Daniel O’Hara and Hannah Quinn shared the directing duties. Harlan Coben’s daughter Charlotte Coben wrote one of the episodes.
Take a look at the teaser trailer.
How about it Harlan Coben fans? What did you think of this mystery series? Did you catch Harlan Coben’s cameo appearance?