Harlan Coben and Netflix have become a dynamic duo in the television world.
The American writer, 59, and the streaming service have done Safe and The Stranger together for the past few years – and now comes Stay Close, based on his book of the same name.
The eight-part crime drama is tense and creepy and has many exciting names on the cast list including James Nesbitt, Cush Jumbo, Richard Armitage, Jo Joyner and Eddie Izzard.
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It explores how those close to us might be hiding dark secrets and how our past can suddenly unfold around us.
Coben is one of the executive producers, along with Nicola Shindler (who has worked on dramas such as Happy Valley and It’s A Sin), while the writing team includes Brassic co-creator Danny Brocklehurst.
Here, we go over some of the running themes, the twisted tale backdrop, and take a look at some of Coben’s classic drama flicks, as well as what some of the stars of the miniseries have to say about it all.
With thrills, gripping suspense, and secrets of past crimes starting to unfold, Stay Close wonders how well you really know someone.
Four people each hide dark secrets from their loved ones; Megan (Jumbo) a working mother of three, Ray (Armitage) a once promising documentary photographer, Broome (Nesbitt) a detective unable to let go of the cold case of a missing person, and Lorraine (Parish) an elderly friend of Megan.
As the past comes back to haunt them, threatening to ruin their lives and the lives of those around them, what will their next move be?
Important general information (may contain spoilers)
The series focuses on four people – Megan (Cush Jumbo), mother of three, documentary filmmaker called Ray (Richard Armitage), who has already shown a lot of promise, Detective Broome (James Nesbitt), who we learn has is unable to let go of a cold affair, and Lorraine (Sarah Parish), who is an old friend of Megan’s who shows up unexpectedly.
There are plenty of other woven characters, including Broome’s professional partner, Detective Erin Cartwright (Jo Joyner); it turns out the couple were also married.
Having divorced after deciding they wanted different things, Erin happily remarried a child, and they make a great team at work. They investigate the disappearance of a young man – a case Broome is convinced is linked to a man who went missing 17 years ago.
All the usual ingredients
Spooky scenes in the woods and a meandering storyline are just two things you’d expect in a Coben story.
Then there are the intriguing characters. Take Megan, for example, who seems to be living a perfect life when we meet her; a beautiful house in the suburbs, three children and an upcoming marriage with partner Dave.
But she worked as a dancer at a nightclub when she was younger, and through shifts between the past and the present, we find that she had to start living under a new identity when a sequence of events happened. mysteriously led her to escape.
“Everyone loves flashbacks,” says the Londoner Jumbo, 36, known for American series The Good Wife and The Good Fight. “In the book, you create your own imagery of where they were and how it was; being able to build it for real is a lot of fun.
“A lot of Harlan’s books follow a formula… and yet he still cheats on you every time because what he’s really good about is leading us down all these different paths. “
Northern Irish star Nesbitt – who helmed the cast of crime drama Bloodlands earlier this year – notes “lately all I seem to be doing is playing a cop.”
But what the 56-year-old loved about Broome was that he was optimistic.
“I was just like, ‘There’s someone who’s a good guy in a way, but yet with a complicated internal process going on in his life and in his head.’ I loved that.
“He’s someone who wants to see the good in people, who believes a lot in his work, who has clearly had failures, has flaws, has had sadness, has been heartbroken. But I also think so. that he’s someone who, when the sun comes up in the morning, he thinks he should probably get up too.
“What’s great about the relationship with Erin is that he’s really a balancing act for her in a lot of ways – and even better now, since when they’ve been apart. Although I think you can see little ones sometimes. regrets in both.
A familiar face
Armitage, from Leicestershire, also starred in The Stranger, in which he played the main character, family man and lawyer Adam Price.
“The prospect of coming back to work with these guys got me through lockdown again, because I was just thinking, ‘There’s something on the horizon,’ and I got to study the book and chat. tentatively with them during that time and figure out what we wanted to do, ”says the 50-year-old, who starred in The Hobbit film trilogy by Peter Jackson.
“One of the things they were very nervous about was asking me to come back and play another character so close to their production, and how do we make it very, very different from what we had seen before. Obviously, that is. He’s a different character, but he needed to look and feel different, and his trajectory was going to be different.
Discussing the attractiveness of the project, he says, “Harlan’s work translates really brilliantly into a script and lends itself to a limited series with an ending, and I think weaving a complicated script is what it does. better. And it works great with Stay Close.
For former EastEnders star Joyner, 44, Broome and Erin’s relationship was really interesting when she read the scripts.
“I thought it was very modern, to think of a couple who have been married, who are now separated but who work well together, and that it is possible.”
Noting her role in the BBC comedy Shakespeare & Hathaway: Private Investigators, the actress – who was born in Essex – continues: “I played a pretty fluffy and silly sleuth the rest of the year, so playing someone straight and logical, and loves his proof, and is more grounded and capable, was really attractive. And then also, I loved that they kind of added that she’s a working mom, and that’s just incidental.
Meanwhile, Jumbo explains how Stay Close explores what a person would do if someone from their past showed up, causing an “explosion in their current life.”
With Megan, she liked the portrayal of a woman who from the outside looked like she had everything right, “and yet inside they are a little unhappy because they never know if, in a another universe, another time, with another boyfriend. , ‘Would life have been different? Did I miss something?
“But most people don’t have the option of going back into a wormhole and back into this life, and Megan did, so I found it interesting and exciting.”
Stay Close launched on Netflix on Friday, December 31.
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