The Stranger (Netflix Originals) opens with Adam Price (Richard Armitage) taking one of his two boys to a football match only to find that dads are expected to participate. Play he does, and when the game’s over, he steps into the club bar for a beer. Before long, a woman (Hannah John-Kamen) wearing a baseball cap, eyes aglitter, sits down beside him and tells him that his wife Corrine (Dervla Kirwan) has been lying to him, chiefly about a faked pregnancy and miscarriage two years before; the proof can be found in the necessary online purchases. Not only that, this complete stranger suggests he have his boys’ DNA checked; he may not be their father.
So it is that in a matter of minutes Adam’s life, which seemed almost ideal, is turned inside out. He confronts his wife, they quarrel, and he soon receives a text message from her declaring that they need some time apart – all of this just before she is set to appear at school to receive an award for teaching excellence. She doesn’t show. Where is she? Funds are discovered missing from a school account, and Corrine is the most obvious suspect. Adam can’t believe it, but as his neighbour, Doug Tripp (Shaun Dooley), also Corrine’s co-worker, cynically mutters, “Everyone’s corrupt.”
Meanwhile, DS Johanna Griffin (Siobhan Finneran) contemplates retirement, divorce, and a long vacation with her old friend Heidi Doyle (Jennifer Saunders). But first, she and her partner DC Wesley Ross (Kadiff Kirwan) must investigate three events that have occurred and seem connected. A young man, naked, has been found, injured and comatose, in the woods; not far off lies a site where the night before dozens of drunken and drugged youngsters frolicked around a bonfire; and in a nearby town a llama lies decapitated on the street. In addition, one of Adam’s sons was at the bonfire with Doug’s son.
And the storylines continue to branch out. As Heidi leaves the café she manages, two women confront her at her car. One of them has shining eyes and wears a baseball cap. Does Heidi know her daughter has been working as a call girl? They “only want her to know the truth”, but they also want £10,000 hush-money. She soon quizzes her daughter and finds the story accurate – shortly before she’s murdered in her café by a man who, as it happens, is a policeman working beside Johanna. As for Adam, he has heard nothing more from this same stranger and nothing from Corrine.
Complex? Confusing? Of course – and intriguing. It turns out, also, that there is a centre that pulls the various storylines together. But you’ll have to watch it to find out how.
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.