As a loyal fan of American writer Harlan Coben, I immediately got excited when I saw one of his novels had turned into a Netflix series. The Stranger actually is the second Coben adaption; in 2018 we were treated with the Netflix series Safe. Although I must admit I wasn’t a fan – I never made it into the second episode – I made a fresh start with the Stranger. And I don’t regret doing so.
Adam Price (Richard Armitage) is living the American dream in Manchester. He has a big house, successful wife, and two rather perfect boys. It all seems to fade away when his wife Corinne (Dervla Kirwan) is out of the country for a conference. While at the football club, a stranger (Hannah John-Kamen) approaches Adam and reveals a big secret about his wife: she faked a miscarriage (wtf!). Adam decides to confront his wife about this, but she simply can’t explain what is going on. She says there’s a lot more going on, yet before Adam is able to find out what that might be, Corinne goes missing. This is when we learn Adam is not the only victim the stranger has in mind.
Every episode she threatens inhabitants of the community by revealing their secrets. Meanwhile, we have a lot of questions: Where the hell is Corinne? What about that faked miscarriage? How is it all connected to the story? What about the beheaded alpaca? (Yes, that also happened.) DC Johanna Griffin (Siobhan Finneran) and her partner Wesley Ross (Kadiff Krwan) are on the case to find the answers.
A lot is going on in The Stranger. There are multiple plot lines and a bunch of characters. My biggest problem is that a lot of those characters seem useless. In the first few episodes it’s hard to remember who is who again. Still, with going on I really felt like binge-watching this series. I desperately wanted to know where Corinne was and how the family would get through this. The other secrets got my interest, too. As well as the motive this stranger might have – even though I never liked her - to expose them all. You have to watch the whole series to find the answers, even though they might not be satisfying at all.
Most acting is decent, but it’s Armitage and Finneran who steal the show. Good thing they have a lot of screen time. The part where the neighbourhood's children come along didn’t get me that excited. Their acting is the opposite. When the series was over, I still had a lot of questions regarding those children. Their stories seem unfinished.
The end of the series feels like a rush and that’s a shame. One more episode could have fixed this problem. Or just the whole set up of the series. In the beginning the phase is very slow, as a lot of unnecessary plots fill 45 minutes of your time. But hey, we have a lot of spare time and those little downsides the Stranger has, didn’t make me dislike the series. I still found it worth streaming.
The acting, the mystery, the suburban setting and even a murder in between are just some of the aspects that I enjoyed quite a lot. Therefore, The Stranger is a nice and entertaining way to spend six hours of your current Corona life.