JACK RYAN: Season 1

"The CIA Analyst Is Back! "


What You Need To Know:

JACK RYAN is a TV series reboot based on the Tom Clancy novels. A former marine, Jack Ryan has worked as a CIA financial analyst for four years, pouring over banking information looking for possible terrorist connections. When he gets a new boss, James Greer, Ryan presents a string of bank transfers in Yemen he believes could connect to a vague terror suspect. Greer doesn’t buy it, but when Ryan goes behind his back to pursue it, Greer is forced to follow the lead and Ryan is sent to Yemen to interrogate two men. The rest of the first season follows up this lead.

JACK RYAN is an effective TV series with high production values and intense action sequences. John Krasinski makes a terrific Ryan, giving viewers a peak into Ryan’s brilliant calculated mind, but also keeping him likable and grounded. The show presents Ryan’s moral standards in a positive way, but it also teases whether Ryan can have a successful career in the CIA while holding onto certain ethical standards. Extreme caution is advised for foul language, including some “f” words, violence, and some scenes of sexuality in some episodes.



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More Detail:

JACK RYAN is a TV reboot based on the famous Tom Clancy novel series about a talented CIA analyst who gets involved in deadly counter intelligence operations. John Krasinski (THE OFFICE, A QUIET PLACE) takes on the titular role of Ryan who’s been an analyst for four years after serving in the Marines, but being discharged after an accident. Ryan’s main task is to look for financial anomalies in countries like Yemen that may point toward possible terror plots. A new boss is put in place of Ryan’s team, James Greer, who used to be a skilled case officer but now is struggling because of personal problems.

On Greer’s very first day as the boss, Ryan presents him with a string of suspicious bank transfers Ryan suspects may be linked to a man named Suleiman, about whom Ryan has heard chatter, but who remains mysterious because no one really knows anything about him. Ryan asks Greer for permission to have the bank accounts with millions of dollars in them frozen, hoping to avoid another 9/11 attack, but Greer doesn’t see the connection, so he denies it. Ryan is so sure that terrorists are behind the transfers, he finds a way to freeze the accounts without Greer.

Greer becomes angry that Ryan would go behind his back like this, but just in case, he decides to send some spies to watch the bank where the money was transferred and apprehend anyone associated with it. They capture two men, and all of a sudden Ryan is told he’s flying to Yemen with Greer to help interrogate these men.

JACK RYAN is an effective TV series with high production values and intense action sequences. John Krasinski is brilliant as Jack Ryan, a morally centered everyday man who’s also heroic. The character of Jack Ryan has been played by many big-name actors, including Alec Baldwin (THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER), Ben Affleck (SUM OF ALL FEARS) and Chris Pine (JACK RYAN:  SHADOW RECRUIT), but Krasinski’s interpretation of Ryan is most inspired by Harrison Ford’s version in the classic movies PATRIOT GAMES and CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER.

The series spends a fair amount of time on the perspective of the terrorist Suleiman, as well as the perspective of his wife, Hani. Political thrillers will do this often to show the reasons that extremists plot violence against Western countries. Sometimes it makes the story more compelling, other times a plot device like this can be used to excuse the actions of the villain, making a moral statement that the heroes are no better than the villains. Even the recent MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT plays with this idea to some extent. Regrettably, these plots can morph into messages of moral relativism, claiming that environments are the reason people make bad choices instead of holding individuals responsible for making bad or evil decisions. Based on the first few episodes that have been viewed, JACK RYAN isn’t necessarily going in this direction, but it’s definitely walking that tightrope, and it presents good conversation material.

The other topic that comes up is how morally centered one can stay while in agencies like the CIA. Ryan is clearly an individual with a conscience and ethical convictions, yet he’s often put in difficult situations where there’s a tension between holding onto those beliefs and keeping the nation safe. This too can present good conversation, as it’s something that many people deal with on a daily basis.

Sadly, there’s lots of foul language and violence in JACK RYAN. Also, by episode there are a couple episodes with sex scenes that require skipping. Extreme caution is advised.

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