Stay Close Season 1 Review – A poorly plotted, unbelievably flawed story

Season 1

Episode Guide

Episode 1 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 2.5/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 2/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 2/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 2/5
Episode 8 – | Review Score – 2/5



After striking a multi-series deal with Netflix, Harlan Coben’s murder mystery adaptations have been a real mixed bag of the mediocre and the excellent. Polish series The Woods is arguably one of the weakest, while The Stranger and Safe both worked well to capture the enthusiasm of the masses, capturing what makes murder mysteries so compelling. Sooner or later, there was bound to be one a real stinker. And that putrid smell comes from Stay Close.

With a flawed premise, strained characters and a patchwork of different cliches and tropes throughout, Stay Close starts off shaky and continues down a disastrous path, slowly peeling away layers of believability to leave behind a flimsy shell of a murder mystery.

Along with figuring out who the killer is long before the final episode, the entire premise of Stay Close relies on contrivances, conveniences and clumsy police work, three ingredients that completely crumble when you apply any sort of logic to this one.

At the center of the story sits Megan, a woman with a shady past after working at a strip club called Vipers. Thanks to abusive partner Stewart, Megan fled, in desperate need of starting anew. Megan (originally known as Cassie) drives for 20 minutes before settling down in the same town, or one nearby. With husband Dave and three kids, Megan’s life is turned upside down when a face from the past shows up to reveal some startling news

While this is going on, grizzled detective Broome is haunted by a missing person case. This happens to be for Stewart – the same Stewart that’s coincidentally connected to Megan. When a new missing person report is filed for a man named Carlton, Broome begins to investigate further and starts to realize everything is linked together.

This forms the crux of the series, but there are extra elements and twists thrown in here too, which I’m being careful not to spoil in this review. However, one can’t write this without mentioning the dancing twins Barbie and Ken. While the idea here is to try and inject a sense of Killing Eve fun into this show, it fails miserably. In fact, these Team Rocket wannabes are painfully underdeveloped and feel like cartoonish caricatures rather than real people.

Along with the lack of plausibility for the main story is the shockingly bad police work. Forensics are often overlooked, social media and online investigations are haphazardly handled while different disappearances are chalked up as coincidences rather than properly investigated. I know the police force aren’t the best in the UK but basic levels of police work are completely bungled here.

I’ts a real shame too because there are some big names starring in this that do a decent job with their characters. Eddie Izzard and James Nesbitt both make noticeable contributions while the rest of the cast do well with this unbelievable, paper-thin plot. This genuinely feels like it could have been a great series… but with about 4 or 5 rewrites. In its current state, Stay Close isn’t even close to being a competent series – and it’s lucky it’s releasing at the end of 2021 otherwise it would probably end up on a few “worst shows of 2022” lists!

Given how many other murder mysteries there are out in the TV universe – not to mention all the other Harlan Coben adaptations – Stay Close is not worth your time. It’s a shallow, poorly plotted, unbelievably flawed story that bungles even the most basic of plot ideas. You definitely shouldn’t “Stay Close” to this one.

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  • Verdict - 3.5/10

13 thoughts on “Stay Close Season 1 Review – A poorly plotted, unbelievably flawed story”

  1. Always difficult after reading a book to watch the screen adaptation in your mind you have given characters an identity and this didn’t quite measure up together with some blatant ‘why would you do that’ moments that are beyond believable however did watch the whole series and for an afternoons entertainment I didn’t turn off 3.5/5

  2. And nobody phones the police when they know where the missing man was. And the photographer guy has photos and then walked all over the scene where the missing man was last seen. And I see above that the characters don’t even tell the police when the police kidnap them and Locke them up. And then Cassie goes into the scary basement of the house for some reason. I’m only on episode 2 and the twins just showed up and are torturing Tawny so that’s awful and unproductive. I think I’ll walk away now. This show is terrible.

  3. Timeline doesn’t make sense and I’m only on episode 2. If Cassie/Meghan visits Stewart Greene’s wife which is then mentioned to Broome who is investigating the disappearance of Carlton but that hadn’t happened yet…..

  4. Yep, very frustrating to have watched all episodes and still be left with answers.
    Who the heck were the dancing duo Barbie and Ken? Where did they come from? If their intention was to find out where the missing boy was, why did they keep killing everyone who knew anything about it?
    What was the involvement of the corrupt police chief? What was his daughter to do with it? (I kept thinking she was the red haired assassin or another relative, but not even sure this was explained adequately).
    Do we just push random cars into lakes if we think our kid is involved in something?
    How did they escape the locked police room?
    Why did the main woman have such a bad wig?
    Are we supposed to believe that a sick older terminally sick cancer patient would have the strength to overpower a young fit guy who has already killed several people and managed to over power a policeman and strangle him?
    Are people going missing on the same night every year for seventeen years not going to raise an eyebrow?

    Honestly, I kept waiting on the final episode to clear everything up but it just got more and more infuriating/
    Feel like I wasted my time.

  5. I always chuckle when viewers and reviewers over indulge in picking a piece of fiction apart pretending to themselves it isn’t reality. Come on folks, it is pure, unbridled fiction created to entertain. It takes place in a make believe time and place following a make believe plot . . . . Do you do the same thing to your dreams when you wake up?

  6. Woof what a show. OK–I think there are so many plotholes you could drive a backhoe digger through. What I was stuck on was, how would a 17 year old girl be so obsessed with her mother’s whereabouts that she would go all Veronica Mars on her? At 17, I was obsessed with hanging out with my friends and figuring out how to sneak out to meet my boyfriend. My mom’s whereabouts were the least on my mind. I will admit, I thought the main killer was Festor (in love with Ray), so I was surprised by the ending. But JFC what a logic stretch the whole thing was? 17 years of men killed, almost on the same date, and no one noticed until some dad hires psychotic dancing killers–which. Yeah. Just woof.

  7. So Kayleigh alone lifted that guy in the trunk and didn’t have time to tell to Bea, not while driving, nor while awaiting Dave or ever. Then Dave came, knowing nothing, just decided to push to the water some car that was parked near by, just because her daughter was there and may have something with it? Okaayy

  8. Not to take away from the actors but this storyline is horrible. Please try plausible as a baseline and not theatrical

  9. Gave up part way through episode 6 (my wife called it correctly during E2 – we should have abandoned it then), the plot just got more and more ridiculous, it was garbage, I coundn’t invest any more time in it.

  10. It was terrible. I ended up skipping a lot as I found the characters and storyline so ridiculous. I really didn’t care less about any of the characters and the ending was just as ridiculous as the whole story.

    They went to the next episode and somehow they were magically escaped and talking to Broome with no explanation. Stupid cheap and insulting to the viewer.

  12. I watched the whole series and was stunned at how poorly. The script was. Cassie starts a new life in the same area🙄. Her involvement was unnecessary. I was shocked at the poor police investigation. If there is a part two I hope that it exceeds it’s predecessor. Oh! Why does the daughter lie to the police that didn’t make any sense.

  13. I have to agree with your assessment. With just a little but of forethought & logic it could have turned out as a really good little thriller.

    But it wasn’t. It was terrible.

    Perhaps it’s also not a good idea to try and transport an upstate New York setting into Blackpool & Manchester without really rethinking the storyline?

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