There is something satisfying about a British crime drama. The genre oozes style, while delivering stories that you can’t help but engage with and enjoy. The latest one to hit Netflix, Stay Close, by Harlan Coben, is a bonkers story of secrets, lies, murder and love. It is filled with more twists and turns than a big roller coaster, but despite all that, it is a fun watch that will suck away hours of your time in the best possible way.
Stay Close starts off strong, inducting its audience in the mystery of Carlton Flynn, who over the course of a night goes missing. Though little is revealed early on, the show gives enough pieces to get you invested while managing to dangle tantalizing concepts just out of reach of the camera.
Starting off with a simple concept, the story quickly descends into madness as more secrets are revealed with each new character the show introduces. Focusing on Megan (Cush Jumbo), the story unfolds when she is sucked back into a world she thought she had escaped. Now living an idyllic family life, moving ever closer to finally being married to the father of her children, the peace is quickly interrupted by a mysterious package left on her front door.
From here, the story follows a range of characters, all looking to reconcile with the past, as they try and work out the issues that are now at play in their lives. Detective Broome (James Nesbitt) is working to solve the mystery, along with finally put a bow on the one case that eluded him up to this point. You also have enigmatic and sleazy photographer, Ray Levine (Richard Armitage) who seems to have given up on life, due to a dark secret, and, of course, you have countless other characters that are a varied degree of fun and crazy to round out the cast.
“Stay Close was a wild if not improbable ride from beginning to end.”
This is a series that will force you to throw away any disbelief you may have about the world, and just accept all the nonsense it throws your way. While there are plenty of good twists and turns, some cliffhangers, and the choices the characters make will leave even the biggest lovers of crime scratching their heads. From a serial killer that has seemingly never been caught even when men have been going missing for years, to killers who overtly commit horrific acts in broad daylight with no consequence, not everything makes perfect sense.
That is not to say Stay Close is a bad series. There is a lot to enjoy from this ludicrous crime miniseries. While the characters may feel as cliché as can be, the actors make even the most ridiculous player in the story likeable. I love everything Eddie Izzard does, so seeing they were in the series was exciting, and thankfully, even though the role was not as extensive as I would have liked, the character of Harry Sutton was a breath of fresh air that drew me into the seedy world that lay just below the middle-class life we all know.
The cinematography and overall design were also a highlight of the show. While you can only show a small seaside British town in so many ways, Stay Close manages to build suspense and tension just from the way the town streets are shot, and the way lighting and darkness all play with the reality of the civilized world. It is amazing how different an idyllic spot can look at night, and the show plays with that concept to great effect.
While not a game changer, or a new take on an old formula, Stay Close was a wild if not improbable ride from beginning to end. While many will see the twists coming a mile away, all eight episodes are jam packed with content. If you love a good crime story, Stay Close will keep you entertained, even if a lot of it is as bonkers as its characters.