Stay Close review – your new Netflix watch? This irresistible thriller | Television
F14 of author Harlan Coben’s 31 novels, we’re told, should be adapted for Netflix. Your mileage may vary, of course, but since I have a barely sated appetite for bingeable thrillers, I see this as more of a promise than a threat.
Last year we had The Stranger, an adaptation of Coben’s 2015 bestseller, which jumped from cliffhanger to cliffhanger to tell the increasingly baroque story of a husband (Richard Armitage) who discovers through a mysterious unknown that his wife faked her pregnancy and miscarriage before disappearing. Dum-dum-DAH.
Another is now here and Stay Close promises almost exactly the same – including Richard Armitage, who is now seedy photographer Ray and, by the end of the opening episode, about to be firmly linked to the main plot. This centers on Megan (Cush Jumbo), whose idyllic life, loving family and perfect kitchen are proof that she is the guardian of a secret past that will soon rear its head and threaten all that she holds dear. .
And it proves. Carlton Flynn, a young man wearing a distinctive necklace, disappears at roughly the same location as another man, Stewart Green, 17 years ago to the day. The latter is the only case that Detective Broome (James Nesbitt) has ever been able to solve. He eased the pain by sleeping with Stewart’s mother, which may or may not become relevant later (although I think it’s fair to point out that in Cobenworld most things do).
Megan returns home from a night out and finds a card on her doorstep addressed to “Cassie”. Its old name! But how?! “Everyone is findable these days,” the sender of the card tells her when they meet, which is apparently explanation enough. But who?! It’s Lorraine (Sarah Parish), one of the people left behind when Cassie ran away from her old life. But why?! Lorraine wants to warn her that Stewart, apparently the reason Cassie wanted to run away from said old life, has returned. But he can’t be, whispers our heroine – “He’s dead!
It’s possible that her certainty has something to do with the flashbacks she continues to have of a suspected gashed and bloody corpse. Before he leaves, Lorraine – who, by the way, works at the Vipers club where Carlton was last seen – gives her pal the plastic engagement ring promised by a man whose heart she broke when leaving.
Who could it be? Apropos of nothing, we turn to Ray again. He is assaulted for his camera. But he has already uploaded his latest photos to the cloud. Turns out he inadvertently captured footage of what may be Carlton’s final moments in the local woods (through which, if flashbacks have anything to do, Cassie herself fled) . As he ponders what that might mean, he flips through some old photo albums. They’re full of pictures of him with Cassie. But wait! There’s still time for one last scene – of Megan’s oldest daughter lying on her bed and playing with a pendant around her neck. You’ll never guess who it is. Dum-dum-DAH! See you for the next episode, plus the next six – and there’s no point in pretending otherwise.