Starring: Richard Armitage, Siobhan Finneran, Jennifer Saunders, Shaun Dooley, Paul Kaye, Dervla Kirwan, Kadiff Kirwan, Jacob Dudman, Ella-Rae Smith, Brandon Fellows, Misha Handley, Anthony Head, Hannah John-Karmen, Stephen Rea
Creator: Harlan Coben
IMDb Rating | 7.5
Humpo Show Rating | 9.5
The Stranger follows the lives of suburban families whose secrets and lies are made public by the appearance of a mysterious woman.
Family man Adam Price (Richard Armitage) is approached by a woman who tells him that his wife, Corrine, faked her pregnancy (and also her miscarriage). Adam decides to investigate those claims, which he finds to be true, and he later confronts Corinne about her lies. She admits to them, but doesn’t tell him why, saying that she’ll tell him everything later that night, but before she gets the chance, she goes missing.
Meanwhile, their eldest son Thomas goes out to a party with his friends Mike and Daisy, and the following morning they wake up to news that a decapitated alpacha has been found in town (the head is in the three’s possession). And to cap things off, their classmate Dante ends up in a critical condition in hospital after been found by the police in a forest, naked and unconscious.
These are just two of the storylines that run throughout The Stranger, but there are SO many more. There is one concerning Heidi Doyle (Jennifer Saunders) and her daughter, Adam’s father Edgar (Anthony Head), and police officer Patrick Katz (Paul Kaye) – all of which involve the stranger, who leaves a path of destruction with the secrets she has revealed…sometimes using blackmail as a tool.
The show is addictive, absorbing and what modern audiences would definitely call a ‘mind-fuck’ of an experience.. Coben has created multiple storylines that continually cross over, with DS Johanna Griffin (Siobhan Finneran) at the heart of it all as she tries to solve the various crimes that have been committed within this tight-knit and affluent neighbourhood.
This has been one of favourite recent TV shows purely because of how entertaining every episode is, the overlap between storylines, the mystery surrounding the secrets and characters, the adrenaline-fuelled moments where things begin to unravel or heat up, and the close calls that happen regularly. Even the theme song, ‘Monster’ by Walking on Cars, is brilliant a perfect fit for the show!
Furthermore, I was impressed with the acting performances across the board, with Armitage, Finneran and Kaye the pick of the bunch. Kaye was excellent as Patrick in his own manic way, one scene in his car stood out to me and shown how desperate and on edge he really was. Finneran’s DS Griffin and Armitage’s Adam gave performances that covered a wide range of emotions and scenarios, but they were utterly believable in their displays of agony and grief.
The Stranger is a fantastic show that has twists and turns aplenty, but also has an underlying message, or a bit of a question, at its heart – would you want to know a secret, even if it changes your life completely?
The Humpo Show | Richard