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The Amazon Prime streaming service commissioned an eight-episode first season of "Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan" and commissioned the second and third seasons to broadcast in 2019 and 2020 respectively. The show is written and created by veteran screenwriter Carlton Cuse and writer Graham Roland. Unlike other adaptations of the Jack Ryan books, the series uses the basics of the characters and brings them into the 21st-century.
The first season revolves around a suspected terrorist cell, Ryan is tracking through his role at the Finance Department of the CIA. The series opens with the arrival of two fighter jets in the Middle East, where two boys have been playing and feeding the chickens on the rooftop of their home. The boys watch as the jets move through the local villages bombing them without thought and eventually drop bombs on their home.
In the present day, Jack Ryan is shown as an obsessive with little in his life apart from his work with the CIA. Riding his bicycle to work one morning, Ryan is cut off by a motorist who he argues with, the driver is later shown to be Ryan's new boss, James Greer. The new boss of the Finance and terror department has recently been demoted from a prominent field position in Pakistan to work behind a desk in Washington D.C.
Meeting his new team, Greer asks each agent to stand and introduce themselves and give a brief explanation of their current work. Ryan stands and states he is a former Marine with a degree in economics who has been tracking a major bank account in Yemen he believes is linked to a terrorist called Ali Suliman. Greer laughs off the claims of Ryan as crazy and tells him to bring him some real evidence.
In Syria, Suliman's wife greets some of her husband's terrorist colleagues and is shocked when an American gets out of the car and says he is Suliman's guest. Back in Washington D.C., Jack Ryan is becoming increasingly concerned about the bank activity in Yemen and feels an attack is imminent. Knowing he needs the authorization of Greer to freeze the bank accounts of Suliman, Ryan finds a way around his assistance and places a freeze. Greer becomes annoyed and tells Ryan they could have lost their only way to trace Suliman, but Jack Ryan believes the amount of money in the accounts will keep Suliman linked to them.
Eventually, the work Ryan is completing attracts the attention of Greer who begins to believe the plot is far larger than he formerly imagined when he looks at the research completed by Jack. Ryan is attending a party where he meets a Doctor, Cathy Mueller who he begins a relationship with. While at the party, Greer decides it is time to get back out in the field and sends a helicopter to pick up Ryan and bring him to the airport to fly to Yemen. The authorities have already picked up the two men they believe are responsible for the bank accounts, Suliman and his bodyguard who remains silent throughout. As they interrogate Suliman, a group of terrorists storm the jail and break free with the bodyguard but ignore the man believed to be Suliman. Jack Ryan begins to believe he has made a terrible mistake and allowed the top terrorist of our time to walk free from American custody.
The role of Jack Ryan is portrayed by former "The Office" actor, John Krasinski who has developed his skills to become a popular director and producer of movies and TV shows. Krasinski began acting at Brown University before making his breakthrough with the U.S. version of the workplace comedy. Krasinski has been focusing on writing and directing in recent years with his movie, "A Quiet Place" is a critical and box-office success. For his role as Jack Ryan, Krasinski was nominated for the Best Actor in a Drama Series award at the Screen Actor's Guild Awards.
The career of showrunner, Carlton Cuse dates back to the mid-1980s when he made his first film, a documentary about the rowing team his college, Harvard. By 1986, Cuse was working as a production assistant on various movies and found a role as a writer in Mn=ichael Mann's "Crime Stories" show. After working on the "Lethal Weapon" franchise, Cuse switched mainly to TV work writing and producing episodes of "Nash Bridges", "Martial Law," and "Lost."
Australian actress Abbie Cornish plays the role of Dr. Cathy Meuller in "Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan" playing the love interest of the titular character. Cornish has been winning plaudits for her acting work since her first appearance in "Somersault" and the later, "Bright Star." Alongside her work as an actress, Cornish has forged a career as a rapper and musician under the name, MC Dusk in her native Australia.
The show is a co-production of the Amazon Studios Group, Paramount Pictures, and Skydance Entertainment. Rumors of the return of "Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan" began to circulate in 2015 with the announcement of Cuse and Roland as creators starting a bidding war between various networks. The first season of the show was ordered by Amazon Studios as an eight-episode series without the pilot being shot resulting in the show heading to various global locations for filming including Washington D.C., Virginia, Maryland, London, and Morocco.
"Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan" has been a critical success with the only criticisms being the small-scale of the plot compared to some of the earlier incarnations of the Jack Ryan character. The Rotten Tomatoes review site gives the first season a score of 74 percent and praises the cast for their work on the series. Metacritic is not as kind and gives a rating of 66 percent for the first season with some reviewers believing the setup of the first episode was too generic. "Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan" is definitely worth watching if you are looking for a fast-paced spy thriller in a more believable world than more famous characters such as James Bond. Appearing in the same year as the British spy dramas, "The Bodyguard" and "Killing Eve," the themes of "Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan" may not have the same twists and turns expected by viewers used to a more complex narrative.
John Krasinski is the fifth actor to take on the iconic role of Jack Ryan, following Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck, and Chris Pine. Abbie Cornish first found fame in her native Australia when she became part of a chart-topping hip hop group from the age of 18 until she was 22. The show was given a large amount of access to the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia where the government agency gave them access to almost every part of the building for filming.