A year and a half after watching it, British crime series Broadchurch remains my favourite within the genre. Compelling, surprising and masterfully interpreted by some incredible actors, it remains at the top of my preferences.
Why mention it before reviewing another series? Because, to me Netflix’s Stay Close is the closest thing to Broadchurch I have watched so far, the lite version if you wish.
Although shorter, slightly tackier and not as sophisticated, the series has the same small-town atmosphere which made me fall in love with Broadchurch.
Based on the Harlan Coben novel of the same name and part of an agreement to see a lot of his work adapted to the small screen, Stay Close revolves around suburban mum Megan Pierce (Cush Jumbo). While preparing to marry her soulmate, Megan suddenly gets sucked back into her past, one that is murky, dark and mysterious.
The series then mixes all its well-developed characters with new twists stemming from their same old and seemingly forgotten past through flashes of indistinct flashbacks, which the viewer will have to piece together from one episode to the next.
The many parallel stories are perfectly intertwined and will gradually form a united narrative as Megan and the police try to peace together what she hoped was her old life. Saying more would probably spoil the drama, but just bear in mind that the entire plot revolves around a small-town nightclub called Vipers.
It all begins and ends right there, where stories of redemption mix with revenge plots and narrow escapes and where blurred memories become striking and dangerous realities.
All the characters seem to have something to hide, including the police and, perhaps most importantly, the protagonist of the series, whose psychological portrait is among the best I have ever seen on TV.
Stay Close has no shortage of surreal and slightly farfetched moments, or even soap-opera-like developments, which might test even the most patient viewer. But sit tight and swallow those relatively cringy scenes as the final scenes will reveal everything. And you will realise it was under your nose the whole time.