Be warned: you’ll spend most of the first episode of Netflix thriller Stay Close marvelling at the all-star cast.
It’s one of those dramas where you waste a critical 20 minutes of the plot trying to work out where you’ve seen that actress before, and whether the guy in the suit is the bloke from the comedy you liked last year.
Stay Close is the latest Harlan Coben story adapted for Netflix, after the success of both Safe and The Stranger.
Episode one introduces us to three different stories, and you don’t have to be a TV expert to work out that they will all interweave eventually.
Let’s start with the main plotline starring Cush Jumbo, who you may have seen in BritBox thriller, The Beast Must Die.
She plays Megan, one of those classic TV drama women who has the seemingly perfect glossy life, with a beautiful house, 2.4 children, designer clothes we can’t afford and a great relationship.
But you know the drill by now – of course her life isn’t actually so swell. In fact, she’s hiding a big secret.
Megan actually used to be called Cassie, and suffice to say it was a shady existence she was keen to escape from. When a figure from her past called Lorraine (Sarah Parish) turns up at her daughter’s tennis match – the perfect place for a showdown, obviously – Megan fears her carefully constructed life might be on the verge of unravelling.
You get the feeling she’d go to quite some lengths to protect it and she tracks down dodgy lawyer Harry, played by Eddie Izzard.
Meanwhile, James Nesbitt and Jo Joyner (both reliably brilliant) play ex-spouses Broome and Erin, who just so happen to be detective partners – very cosy. They often tease each other and there’s still some chemistry sizzling but in between all the flirtatious barbs, they do have some work to do.
The pair are investigating the baffling disappearance of a young man in a case that has parallels with a missing person’s inquiry from years ago – the only one that Broome was never able to solve.
Erin dismisses his hunch but this is a crime drama, so there’ll definitely be a link.
Then there’s Richard Armitage in the bizarre role of a paparazzo hired for children’s parties. His camera gets nicked, so something incriminating must be on it.
Ultimately, this is a drama full of cliches but one that’s very entertaining if you’re happy to go along for the ride. And I can’t deny I want to know what happens next…