This Is the Status of Every Netflix Original Series Written by Harlan Coben So Far, Ranked on a Scale from "Safe" to "Stay Close"
You probably know who Harlan Coben is if you're a fan of mysteries and thrillers. The American novelist has written over thirty-three books so far, but that's not all she's written. For the streaming service, he has signed a contract to adapt 14 of his books into series since 2016. Seven of his stories have already been produced.
The allure of these shows is in their ability to surprise at every turn, despite the fact that they are all based on books by Harlan Coben and share similar themes and starting points (often a father is left to untangle the mysteries of the women in his life or face a demon from his past). All seven of Netflix's Harlan Coben series have been ranked below. There's something on this list for everyone, whether they're fans of twists and turns or tortured suburban fathers. Spoilers may be found in some of the entries on this list.
7. Disappeared Forever
Screenshot Provided by Netflix
Gone For Good is the alluring story of Guillaume (Finnegan Oldfield), a social worker in the south of France, who must confront the classic themes of Coben’s work, including lost loves, betrayals, and family secrets. Scenes take place in both present-day Nice, where Guillaume's beautiful girlfriend mysteriously disappears, and Nice ten years ago, where Guillaume's ex-girlfriend and brother are gunned down on the same night. Guillaume and his best friend (who is battling his own demons) venture into the seedy underbelly of the Riviera in search of Guillaume's girlfriend and, ultimately, the truth after a series of unfortunate events connect the two tragic days. This 5-part miniseries takes the Coben formula seriously, emphasizing genuine reactions rather than cheap thrills. Nonetheless, there are consistently surprising developments in each episode. The setting alone breathes new life into the tried-and-true Coben mystery formula of constant bait-and-switch.
An up-and-coming Polish film, this one just hit theaters recently. The events of Hold Tight revolve around a missing young man and the death of his best friend. The wealthy Warsaw neighborhood at the story's center is anything but a picture-perfect suburb; instead, we learn that nearly everyone there, from the careless adults to the defiant youngsters, is hiding something. This story revolves around the struggle that arises when a parent and a child share a digital device. The characters have been deemed too unlikeable for the audience to root for, according to critics. But the fact that everyone in Hold Tight is flawed in some significant way only serves to enrich the story and lead readers to a satisfying, if tense, ending.
Picture from Netflix
Simply put, The Stranger is unadulterated Harlan Coben entertainment at its finest. Brit Adam Price (Richard Armitage) is out shopping with his family when he is approached by a young woman in her twenties (Hannah-John Kamen) who claims that his wife (Dervla Kirwan) may have faked her miscarriages and urges him to have his children's DNA tested. His wife disappears after he confronts her, adding to his already considerable confusion. The plot revolves around Price's search for answers as he looks for his wife and the mysterious man who gave him the coded message. At the same time, the naked body of an unconscious local schoolboy who is a classmate of Price's son is discovered in the woods, triggering a police investigation that brings together seemingly unrelated plot threads. These odd, seemingly unrelated occurrences are just the beginning of an 8-episode series that is full of unexpected twists and turns. The Stranger is an absolute joy to read from beginning to end, despite lacking the emotional impact of some of the sequels.
The Woods alternates between a summer camp in the woods in 1994 and Warsaw in 2019 in the same way that Gone For Good did. A successful lawyer named Pawel Kopinski (Grzegorz Damicki) can't shake the events of 1994, when two children were found murdered at the aforementioned summer camp. Two others, one of whom was his sister, disappeared on the same night. The wound is reopened and Kopinski's unfinished business remains as puzzling as ever when he is asked to identify a body with possible ties to the events of that summer in 1994. The series also features a touching love story: Kopinski is reunited with his high school sweetheart, Laura, a Jewish girl who also attended the camp. Compared to adaptations like The Stranger and The Five (another Coben show for Sky1), which both take a more lighthearted approach to the whodunit and whodunwhat, respectively, The Woods takes a darker, more gritty one. There was a hint of a connection to Hold Tight, but the season ended on a cliffhanger, and I'm holding out hope that we'll get to see how this grim Polish tale ends.
Mateo Vidal (Mario Casas) is freed from prison after serving time for the unintentional murder of a man during a bar fight many years ago. He gets back in touch with an old flame and quickly finds himself married to Olivia (Aura Garrido). In the first episode of this Spanish-language series, Mat and Olivia are excited to start their married life together. Almost immediately, the narrative shifts to that of a detective investigating the mysterious death of a nun. The Innocent, like many of Coben's other works, presents a series of seemingly unrelated events that are, in fact, linked by the characters' shared histories. The show's introductory pace is average, though it varies between a frustrating slow burn and admirable restraint. However, The Innocent's emotionally resonant performances and intriguing take on Coben's classic material make it a show worth watching in one sitting.
In contrast to most TV adaptations of Harlan Coben novels, Stay Close features a female lead character. In the opening scene, the bride-to-be, Megan Pierce (Cush Jumbo), is having a bachelorette party with her girlfriends. After a boring night out, she returns home to find a note on her doorstep with her name, "Cassie." In the beginning of the story, we find out that Megan was not always Megan. The suburban mother of three is visited by her former self and other unsavory characters she encountered during her time as an exotic dancer. There are both old and new mysteries that are revealed as she tries to keep her past hidden from her family. The other main characters' stories are just as compelling as Cush Jumbo's to make you forget about some of the more outlandish ones (psychopathic show choir guns-for-hire). Coben provides a plot full of unexpected twists and turns, including a forbidden romance, teen angst, a string of unsolved murders, medical scares, and a delicious finale that proves that happy endings are not always what they seem to be.
Safe, the best of Harlan Coben's Netflix shows, has a standard introductory episode. Tom Delaney (Michael C. Hall of Dexter) is a British suburbanite whose life is turned upside down when his teenage daughter Jenny (Amy James-Kelly) disappears from their gated community. As he tries to come to terms with his daughter going missing, he also has to deal with his wife's death, his budding romance with the case's lead detective, his best friend's drug use, and the hidden dangers within the gated community. It's full of wild celebrations, seedy nightclubs, a mysterious fire, and a surprising plot twist after another. And while these elements aren't exclusive to Safe among Coben's shows, Safe is the one that executes them beautifully. The dramatic payoff is effective, and the emotional ties between the main web of villains and heroes are believable. Its appeal lies in the fact that it is light and entertaining television that can be discussed at length after each episode. It's an excellent adaptation of a novel by Harlan Coben, and it moves quickly throughout.
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