‘Reacher’ Season 1: Ending, Explained – Who Killed Joe Reacher? & Why?

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Nick Santora, best known for popular television shows “The Sopranos” and “Prison Break,” brings Lee Child’s magnum opus, the Jack Reacher series, to the big screen. Earlier, Hollywood’s favorite Tom Cruise tried to walk in the shoes of a giant-looking American Commando but dealt with backlash from fans all over the world. Hence, Santora revives the character for the Amazon Studios series, where a man blessed with genetics is played by Alan Ritchson, who matches the demeanor and persona of Reacher.

“Reacher” Season 1 adapts Lee Child’s debut novel, “Killing Floor,” which marks the origin of the beloved character in the series. In eight episodes, the narrative explores ex-army Major Jack Reacher’s family life in the past while employing his special tracking skills and keen observation of details to unravel a currency counterfeiting syndicate running in the heart of Margrave, Georgia.


‘Reacher’ Season 1: Plot Summary

The screen opens at midnight when a man in his 30s, running through the farm, is shot in the back by a skilled marksman wearing a white polyvinyl protective suit. The killer picks up the bullet shells and covers the dead body with a cardboard sheet and leaves.

The next morning, retired Major Jack Reacher (Alan Ritchson) reaches Margrave on a Greyhound bus and walks to the diner, where he orders black coffee along with a peach pie. However, before he could take a bite, local county officer Baker and officer Stevenson arrived and arrested him for the suspicious murder.

At the station, chief detective Oscar Finley (Malcolm Goodwin) informs Jack about the badly beaten dead body they have recovered from near the highway. After looking at Jack’s demeanor, they suspect him of being the murderer. In his defense, Jack reveals to Finley that he was in Tampa at the time of the murder, but Finley locks him in the holding cell until his alibi is confirmed.

Finley also found a piece of paper hidden inside the victim’s shoes on which there is a phone number that belongs to a banker, Paul Hubble (Marc Bendavid), who lives in Margrave but works in Atlanta. As soon as the detectives arrive at Paul’s house, he looks out of the window and spots a black car standing outside and, in fear, confesses to Finley that he killed the man. Finley is certain that Paul is lying but still sends Jack and Paul to the local Warburton prison until further investigation.

Jack and Paul are attacked in prison after a corrupt officer, Spivey, puts them in a general ward with prisoners serving life imprisonment. Jack saves Paul’s life. After his release, officer Roscoe Conklin (Willa Fitzgerald) picks up Jack and drops him off in the town, with the promise of an early dinner afterward. Jack roams around town looking for information on his favorite blues singer, Blind Blake, when suddenly KJ, the crooked son of a businessman, Kliner, threatens Jack to leave town immediately.

In the meantime, the killers shoot another man in Margrave, and as the number of dead bodies piles up in the town, Finley seeks help from Jack and brings him to the morgue, where the forensic doctor, Jasper, shows him the dead body killed in the opening sequence. Jack recognizes the man to be his older brother, Joe Reacher, and finds a childhood scar on his hand that confirms the identity. Joe worked at the Secret Services, and after the revelations hit Jack, he decides to stay in Margrave a little longer to take revenge for his brother’s murder. 

“Reacher” further follows an investigation that Jack, Finley, and Roscoe conduct to unravel a counterfeit syndicate that is connected to the killings happening in town.


What Was Kliner Foundation Doing In Margrave?

The Kliner Foundation was a parent company that ran a number of businesses under its hood. It owned a ranch in Margrave, and, under its disguise, the company was illegally counterfeiting US currency, specifically the American hundred-dollar bill, and smuggling it out to Venezuela. The US currency is the most stable currency in the world and, thus, these superbills acted as a special reserve for the smugglers, thereby eliminating their need to smuggle guns, drugs, or other goods.

In the series, the Columbia professor, Stephanie Castillo, informed Reacher that it was impossible to replicate the paper used in these bills, and only one company had the statutory authority to manufacture that paper, and its location was totally confidential. Hence, the Kliner foundation bleached the ink off one-dollar bills and reprinted it with the desired denominations, as all the dollar bills are of the same size. They used to print the old version of the hundred, so they didn’t have to replicate the magnetic security strip that is used in today’s bill. Kliner, Sr. tricked skilled currency manager Paul Hubble and forced him to contact cash-intensive industries that wanted to hide their income from the government to procure a fresh supply of one-dollar bills.

Kliner’s subsidiary company, Clarron Chemical, developed a special chemical to bleach the ink off the bills without harming the paper. However, the process left behind a huge amount of residue, which the company had to deal with. Earlier, they discharged the waste into the water, which destroyed the Chester River in Arkansas, and thus they had to kill an EPA agent to hide their tracks. But when they came to Margrave, they mixed animal feed with the chemical waste, as the feed contains diatomaceous earth, which is used as an effective cleaning agent for the chemical residue. And this time, instead of discharging it into the river, they buried it in the pasture where they believed no one would suspect them.


How Did Joe Reacher End Up In Margrave? Who Killed Joe?

Reacher believed that Margrave was geographically perfect for smuggling superbills to Venezuela. Kliner’s truckers hid the bills in the boxes of air conditioners and used the old state route arterial to avoid federal interstates for most of their trips; therefore, they stayed off the radar. However, a recent Coast Guard blockade disrupted their well-planned operation, and the Venezuelans threatened Kliner because of the halt in distribution.

Paul Hubble got a breather and used the opportunity to plan an escape. He dropped a message on the federal tip line, and Reacher’s brother, Joe, working for the Secret Services, contacted Paul under a pseudonym, Mark Salas.

Joe offered Paul immunity in exchange for the information, and later, Paul brought in Kliner’s trucker, Pete Jobling, on their covert mission to deliver evidence to Joe so that he would bust the syndicate. However, KJ found out about Joe when he arrived in Margrave, probably while following Jobling, and so he killed him to bury the investigation.

KJ showed signs of psychotic disorder and killed a plethora of people in Margrave to fulfill his ulterior motive. Some of the important people murdered by KJ are listed below.

  • KJ shot Joe and Pete Jobling to bury the investigation and wipe off the tracks leading to the Kliner Foundation.
  • He hired South American ex-military officers as hitmen to murder corrupt officer Spivey, who contacted Kliner’s office constantly and led Finley to the premise.
  • He hired men to kill Paul in prison, but when Jack saved his life, KJ brutally murdered police chief Morrison to send out a message.
  • KJ murdered Stevenson, his wife, and his unborn child at their house because he was related to Paul, and KJ suspected that Stevenson was working with Reacher and Finley.
  • He hired a corrupt FBI officer, Nittmo (who used the pseudonym “The Viking”), to kill EPA agent Wilks (in Memphis), who was investigating the Kliner foundation (Clarron Chemicals). When Nittmo died of cancer three years ago, KJ joined hands with his partner, Picard, to keep the operation running.
  • In the subway, KJ mercilessly killed Joe’s romantic partner and colleague, Molly Beth Gordon.
  • Last but not least, KJ murdered his own father because he believed that his old man lacked the guts to kill people to protect the family empire.

In the end, KJ captured Finley, Roscoe, Paul’s wife Charlie, and their daughters, to blackmail Reacher into tracking Paul and bringing him back to Margrave in exchange for Charlie and her daughters’ lives. KJ wanted to erase all the witnesses and evidence that trailed back to Kliner’s foundation so that they could run the empire and expand it to the greater heights that his weakling father would never have dared to reach.


‘Reacher’ Season 1: Ending Explained

Jack tracked Paul and brought him to the police station, where he killed corrupt officer Baker and rescued Finley. He also called Frances Neagley, his junior from the army, and, with the necessary fireworks handed over by Finely, they burnt down Kliner’s factory. He used gasoline to ignite a fire in the factory and used it as a distraction to rescue Roscoe, Charlie, and Paul’s daughters.

In the end, during the fight, Roscoe confronted Mayor Grover Teale, who killed Roscoe’s guardian and only family member, officer Gray, who worked as a chief detective before Finley took the job. Finley dealt with his treacherous friend, Picard, who appeared at the factory out of nowhere and was earlier shot by Jack on the highway. On the other hand, Jack faced KJ and burnt him alive, giving him a painful and torturous death for murdering Joe and a lot of other people.

After the Kliner foundation was burned down to the ashes, the FBI arrived at Margrave to investigate the matter. Roscoe shared a special bond with Jack, but he had already made it clear that he shared the bloodline with the wandering type, and it would get troublesome for him to stay in one place for too long. Hence, Roscoe didn’t hold him back and let Jack go, which evidently was best for both of them. Before leaving, Jack advised Roscoe to run for Mayor as, originally, her family founded Margrave, and only a Conklin would be able to restore peace and order with sincerity and integrity.

At the diner, Finley revealed to Jack that he was returning to Boston and had decided to stop running from the past. He adopted the dog and named it Jack because Jack was apparently using his last name, Reacher, more. Before leaving, Finley ordered the peach pie for Jack, which he had been trying to taste for a long time.

After bidding farewell to the friends he made in Margrave, Jack finally visited the spot where his brother, Joe, was shot. He buried his grandfather’s World War II medal (given to him by his late mother) at the location. Joe lost his life while trying to solve the world’s problems, and Jack believed that his fallen brother deserved the medal for showing bravery and giving hope to the world. The man who arrived at Margrave seeking stories about Blind Blake finally walked out of the town while Blind Blake’s Police Dog Blues filled the frame, which symbolized Reacher’s nature in the best way possible. Jack is a wandering man and wherever he will be, he will use his strength and skills to do the right thing with bravery, the same way he promised his late mother.

The adventures of Jack Reacher have just begun, and hopefully, we will see him more in the upcoming Reacher seasons, where he will deal with difficult situations with his skills and action.


“Reacher” is a 2022 action-thriller television series developed by Nick Santora based on a character created by Lee Child. It is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

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Shikhar Agrawal
Shikhar Agrawalhttps://dmtalkies.com
I am an Onstage Dramatist and a Screenwriter. I have been working in the Indian Film Industry for the past 8 years, majorly writing dialogues for various films and television shows.

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