It seems like Netflix is loyally committed to turning each and every Harlan Coben thriller novel into a series. Based on Coben’s 2008 novel of the same name, “Hold Tight” is yet another addition to the series based on the novels and it follows an overprotective mother, Anna Barczyk, who finds some shocking truths about her 18-year-old son, Adam. The series begins with the death of Adam’s best friend, Igor, who dies from an overdose of prescription drugs. For some undisclosed reasons, Adam blames himself for Igor’s death and therefore runs away from the house, which compels Anna to begin an investigation of her own, not only to find out about her son’s secret world but also a conspiracy that Adam has inevitably become a part of.
“Hold Tight” is a Polish drama series that consists of six episodes of 40 minutes each. Similar to Coben’s signature style, the mini-series branches into two major plots; one being Anna and her struggle to find Adam, and the other part follows an ex-army-cum-assassin, Natan, who abducts and brutally kills his victim while trying to locate a mysterious video for his friend, who served with him in Afghanistan. Hence, without any further ado, let’s explore the intricate world created by Harlan Coben.
‘Hold Tight’ Plot Summary
Anna Barczyk is an orthopedic doctor who lives in the suburbs of Warsaw with her husband, Michal, an 18-year-old son, Adam, and a preteen daughter, Ola. Adam recently lost his best friend, Igor Hall, who died from a drug overdose, and since then, Adam has been acting strangely and has distanced himself from his parents. To find out what has been tormenting her son, Anna installs spyware on Adam’s phone, and through the text messages that Adam sends to his girlfriend, Kaja Kopinski, Anna discovers that Adam is blaming himself for Igor’s death for some unknown reason.
Meanwhile, another student from the school, Jasmina, who studies with Adam’s younger sister, Ola, is bullied after her teacher, Tadeusz, jokes about her facial hair in front of the whole class. Jasmina lives with her divorced father, Janusz Nowak, while her mother, Marianna, has been distant since the divorce. Janusz gets worried as his daughter starts skipping school and all her friends abandon her after the incident, and hence, he threatens Tadeusz to make up for his mistake.
The teachers arrange a memorial service for Igor Hall, where his mother, Beata, gets hysterical and blames Adam, in front of Anna, for not helping his best friend when he needed him the most. Later, at her house, Beata finds a picture of Igor that was clicked before his death, and in the photograph, she spots a hoodie that she believes belongs to Adam, therefore concluding that at the time of his death, Igor wasn’t alone, but Adam was with him, which Adam straightly denies.
After Beata’s acquisitions, Adam gets anxious and behaves violently at his friend Gajos Gajewicz’s party, who is the son of a wealthy and affluent lawyer named Borys. Soon after the party, Adam disappears without a trace, and Anna gets worried and tries to locate her son. She reaches Gajewicz’s house and follows Gajos to a private party where Anna faces some goons who beat her up violently. In the meantime, an assassin named Natan and his young accomplice-cum-lover, Wiera, kidnap Jasmina’s mother, Marianna, from a local pub and inquire about a mysterious video footage. Later, Marianna’s dead body is found in a dumpster, thereby initiating a police investigation revolving around her death.
“Hold Tight” further explores Anna’s plight to locate her son, and in the pursuit, she unravels some dark secrets and a hidden drug racket operating at the heart of the city. Throughout her personal investigations, Anna refuses to accept the fact that Adam can be a part of a drug syndicate or has any role to play in Igor’s death. But is Adam actually innocent, or is there a deeper conspiracy at play here?
Major Spoilers Ahead
What Happened To Adam? Who Was Guru?
While trying to locate her son, Anna came across a text in which Adam blamed Guru for Igor’s death, and thus she started investigating more about this mysterious identity codenamed Guru. Anna went back to the same location where she was beaten up, and through a bouncer, she found some information about Guru, which was a counseling group for troubled adults. At the premise, Anna and Michal met a youth counselor named Joanna Makowska, who used to run the place. She told Adam’s parents that both Adam and Igor used to come for counseling. Joanna further revealed to Anna that Adam often felt misunderstood at home, which was why he ran away from home for the first time, and that he also knew that his mother had been spying on him and wanted to control every aspect of his life that overwhelmed him.
When Anna contacted the police to find her son, Adam sent a text message to his girlfriend, Kaja, using a burner phone. He asked Kaja to inform his parents that he would be away for some time and would return soon. However, it was revealed at the end of “Hold Tight” that it was Adam’s close friends, Gajos and Blazej, who had kidnapped Adam because he threatened to reveal their secrets to the police.
Was Adam Guilty?
All the four boys—Adam, Igor, Gajos, and Blazej—were working for Guru, aka Joanna Makowska, who had started an illegal business of selling regular prescription drugs. Adam’s mother was a doctor, and hence he stole her mother’s prescription pads and e-prescription codes and handed them over to Guru, who, in exchange for them, supplied drugs to Adam, Igor, Gajos, and Blazej.
According to Adam’s testimony, Igor had been in a scooter accident a year ago, after which he got addicted to oxycodone, fentanyl, and other prescription drugs. He found out that he could get these prescription meds at Guru but probably didn’t have enough money to buy them, so he cracked a deal with Makowska.
In exchange for the drugs, Makowska used Igor’s IT expertise to build a directional antenna aimed at Adam’s house and used Anna’s e-prescription codes to get these drugs. But it was a complete lie, as at the end of the series, Anna believed that Igor couldn’t have stolen the prescription pads from her safe and that it was her own son, Adam, who committed the robbery and had been lying about it the whole time. She also believed that Adam, Gajos, and Blazej were with Igor when he died of a drug overdose yet didn’t help him, or that they probably were the ones who killed him. However, the truth was never revealed and may remain buried because Anna chose to protect her son at all costs rather than seek justice for Igor. Her ignorance of Adam’s crime is emotionally justified, but morally it is damaging to the core.
What Was Natan Looking For? What Happened To Natan In The End?
Apart from Adam and Anna’s drug story, “Hold Tight” also portrayed the secret diaries of an ex-army man and hired assassin, Natan, who was suffering from PTSD. Natan served with Tadeusz in Afghanistan and once saved his life in the army, after which Natan promised to return the favor.
In school, Tadeusz joked about Jasmina Nowak’s facial hair, and soon after the incident, all her classmates started bullying her and spreading memes about her. Jasmina was tormented, and her parents couldn’t see her in pain. Her distant mother, Marianna, found out about the incident and decided to take revenge on Tadeusz. She seduced Tadeusz and recorded him, threatening to send the explicit video footage to his wife. It was the same video footage that Tadeusz received on his mobile phone several times, and because of this footage, he often changed his wife’s email password so that she wouldn’t be able to access her account and witness her husband’s infidelity.
Meanwhile, Tadeusz asked for help from his former friend from the army, Natan, unaware of the fact that Natan had been struggling with PTSD and had turned into a ruthless killer. After Tadeusz asked Natan to find the video footage and the blackmailer, Natan kidnapped Marianna and killed her. Later, he abducted Marianna’s best friend, Renata, and inquired about the footage. When she told Natan that she didn’t know about it, Natan brutally killed her and dumped her body. He even kidnapped a schoolgirl named Nikola Reszke, whom he believed had the tablet from which the video was sent to Tadeusz, but she had no idea about it.
At the end of “Hold Tight,” Tadeusz begged Natan to stop his killing spree and leave the matter, but Natan decided to complete the mission and arrived at Janusz Nowak’s house, believing he might be the one who was sending the video to Tadeusz. While Natan violently thrashed Janusz, his daughter, Jasmine, pulled out the gun from his cupboard and shot Natan in the chest, therefore killing him on the spot. Later, it was revealed that it was Jasmine who had been sending the videos and emails to Tadeusz from her mother’s tablet to take revenge on her teacher.
It was subtly suggested in the series that Jasmine may have psychopathic tendencies resulting from her traumatic childhood due to her parents’ early divorce. She was further bullied and neglected in school, which might be a reason for her strange behavior and lack of empathy towards individuals. Whatever the case, maybe Jasmine’s impulsive decision saved her father’s life, who otherwise would have been killed by Natan, and as per his past record, he wouldn’t have stopped with it and might have hurt Jasmine and Ola too, who were present under the roof.
The police called Tadeusz to the police station after Natan’s death and tried to interrogate him, but they found no evidence connecting him to Natan’s brutal killings except for the fact that they knew each other from the army. Tadeusz told the police about how Marianna seduced him and recorded a video through which she later tried to blackmail him, but he had no idea who had been sending those emails to his wife after Marianna’s death. Hence, at the end of “Hold Tight,” the police didn’t find out about Jasmine’s ploy, which is kind of easy to track in the 21st century, but okay.
‘Hold Tight’ Ending Explained – What Happened To Adam, Gajos, And Blazej?
Gajos and Blazej kidnapped Adam and locked him up in a storage room while trying to threaten him to hand over the e-prescription codes to them, without which Guru’s drug operation would have ended. However, Adam tricked Gajos and Blazej and ran away from there, while the young lads, who had no experience in crime, made some grave mistakes and left their burner phones at Guru’s place. Adam’s father had asked for help from the Aerotel CEO to track the number from which Gajos sent Kaja a text while impersonating Adam.
During the final face-off, Adam confronted Guru, aka Joanna Makowska, and blamed her for Igor’s death. He threatened to reveal to the police her illegal business, and at this point, Guru pointed a gun at Adam to stop him. Fortunately, his parents arrived at the scene to save their kids, and after a bit of action, Guru was arrested and put behind bars. In his testimony, which was gravely fabricated, Adam put all the blame on Igor and Guru. He testified to the police that it was Igor who stole the prescription drugs from his house and used the e-prescription codes that belonged to Anna. When the officer asked him about his kidnappers, Adam lied to him that he had never seen their faces, thereby saving Gajos and Blazej from arrest.
Meanwhile, the CBŚP dropped all charges against Anna as she didn’t have any clue about the robbery of her prescription pads and e-prescription codes. Gajos’ affluent father, Borys, used all his connections to save his son, but the CBŚP didn’t completely shut down the case and was still investigating. Detective Ewelina informed Anna to keep an eye on Adam and protect him, as CBŚP suspected that some of his classmates were selling the meds, therefore, pointing at Gajos and Blazej. After the warning, Anna tried to connect the dots and surmised that maybe Adam had put all the blame on Igor, but it couldn’t be possible for him to break into their house and crack the safe. Anna was certain that it was Adam who stole her prescription pads and e-prescription codes, yet she chose to hide the truth in order to protect her son no matter what.
‘Hold Tight’ is a 2022 Polish Drama Thriller series streaming on Netflix.