Every Harlan Coben Netflix Show So Far, Ranked

Movies


Editor’s note: Some of the entries on this list may contain spoilers.


The Big Picture

  • Hold Tight is a successful Polish production that explores the disappearance of a young man and the deep secrets of a wealthy Warsaw community.
  • The Stranger is a delightful and thrilling series that follows a suburban dad’s quest for the truth after his wife goes missing, filled with twist after twist.
  • Safe is Harlan Coben’s best Netflix series, delivering a gripping story of a suburban man searching for his missing daughter and uncovering dangerous secrets.

If you’re a fan of the mystery-thriller genre, odds are you’ve heard of Harlan Coben. The American writer has penned over 33 novels and counting, but it doesn’t stop there for the New York Times bestselling author. Since 2016, he has had seven stories turned into Netflix shows and has signed a deal to flip a total of 14 of his books into series for the streamer — with the latest, Fool Me Once, making it to the streaming service’s Top 10 upon its release.

While almost all of Coben’s adapted works feature similar themes and starting points, often a father will be left to untangle the mysteries of the women in his life or face a demon from his past, the allure of these shows is in their ability to surprise at every turn. Below, we’ve ranked all seven Harlan Coben shows currently available to watch on Netflix. If you like twists, turns, and tormented suburban dads, then this list will definitely have something for you.

Harlan Coben Netflix Original Series

Title

Release Date

Safe

May 10, 2018

The Stranger

January 30, 2020

The Woods

June 12, 2020

The Innocent

April 30, 2021

Gone for Good

August 31, 2021

Stay Close

December 31, 2021

Hold Tight

April 22, 2022

Fool Me Once

January 1, 2024


9 Gone For Good

Image Via Netflix

Tackling the classic thematic material of Coben — lost loves, betrayals, family secrets — Gone For Good is the seductive tale of Guillaume (Finnegan Oldfield), a social worker in the south of France. The episodes flash between present-day Nice, when Guillaume’s stunning girlfriend vanishes off the face of the earth, and Nice ten years ago when Guillaume’s ex-girlfriend and brother are shot and killed on the same night. A precarious series of coincidences link the two tragic days, bringing Guillaume and his best friend (who has his own demons to stave off), into the underworld of the Riviera in search of his girlfriend, and ultimately, the truth. This 5-part miniseries is a much more serious take on the Coben formula than most adaptations, focusing more on honest reactions than on pure shock value. That being said, the show still serves up a healthy portion of episode-to-episode shockers and twists. The setting alone adds a fresh dynamic to the constant bait-and-switch of a Coben mystery.

Watch on Netflix

8 Hold Tight

Magdalena Boczarska frightened and with blood on her face in Netflix's 'Hold Tight'
Image via Netflix

This Polish production is a recent release and a fairly successful one at that. Hold Tight centers around the disappearance of a young man directly after the death of his friend. The wealthy Warsaw community at the center of the story is far from an idyllic suburb — rather, we come to realize that just about every character, from the irresponsible adults to the incorrigible children, harbors secrets. And that conflict, the one between parent and child in the digital age, is central here. There has been some criticism that the characters are unlikeable past the point of being able to root for them. But the fact that all the characters in Hold Tight have deep flaws simply deepens the story and leads the audience to a satisfying, yet fraught, conclusion.

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7 The Stranger

Richard Armitage caught off-guard by woman wearing a cap in Netflix's 'The Stranger'
Image via Netflix

The Stranger is pure, unadulterated Harlan Coben fun. When British suburban dad Adam Price (Richard Armitage) is approached by a baseball-capped woman in her 20s (Hannah-John Kamen), she tells him that his wife (Dervla Kirwan) may have faked her miscarriages, and to get his children’s DNA tested. After he confronts his wife, she goes missing, leaving him more confused than ever before. The show follows Price’s journey for the truth, as he pursues both his wife and the stranger who gave him the cryptic message. Meanwhile, a local schoolboy and classmate of Price’s son is found lying naked in the woods, unconscious, prompting a police investigation that ties multiple storylines into one. These bizarre, seemingly separate events are only the starting point of the 8-episode series, which continues its break-neck twist and turn spree until its final moments. In the end, while it lacks some of the emotional impacts of later entries, The Stranger is a pure delight from start to finish.

The Stranger

The secrets and lies of suburban families are made public by the appearance of a stranger.

Release Date
January 30, 2020

Main Genre
Drama

Rating
TV-MA

Seasons
1

Watch on Netflix

6 The Woods

Young cast of Netflix's 'The Woods' smiling and goofing around.
Image Via Netflix

Much like Gone For Good, The Woods flashes between two different timelines: a 1994 summer camp in the woods and 2019 Warsaw. Pawel Kopinski (Grzegorz Damięcki) is a successful lawyer who is haunted by the events of 1994 when two kids were found murdered at the aforementioned summer camp where he was a chaperone. Another two, including his sister, vanished the same night. When Kopinski is called in to identify a body that seemingly connects to the mysteries of that 1994 summer, the wound is reopened and Kopinski’s unfinished business is as perplexing as ever. The series also boasts a convincing love-lost love story; Kopinski is forced to team up with an old flame, Laura, a Jewish girl from that same camp. The Woods is a tonal departure from the adaptations like The Stranger and The Five (another Coben show for Sky1), offering a slightly grittier take on the whodunit and a whodunit mystery. The season was left on a cliffhanger, and though there was some tie-in with Hold Tight, here’s to hoping we will get to see this dark Polish tale resolve itself.

Watch on Netflix

5

Related

Harlan Coben Wants ‘Shelter’ Season 2 to Be Darker

The Amazon Prime Video show’s creator also reveals the one thing he insisted happen in Season 1 and the biggest changes from the book to the show.

4 Stay Close

Cush Jumbo next to a grumpy man in a blue suit in Netflix's 'Stay Close'
Image via Netflix

Stay Close is a rarity among the TV adaptations of Harlan Coben novels in that it features a female protagonist. We open with a bride-to-be, Megan Pierce (Cush Jumbo), celebrating her bachelorette party with girlfriends. She comes home after a tame night to find a note on her doorstep addressed to “Cassie.” Very early on, we learn that Megan has not always been Megan. The suburban mother of three finds her past self, among other unsavory characters from her days as an exotic dancer, coming back to haunt her. As she tries to protect her family and confine her former life to the shadows, mysteries old and new come to light. Cush Jumbo’s tortured central performance is enough to overlook some bizarre side storylines (psychopathic show choir guns-for-hire), and the other main characters provide equally compelling storylines. Coben gives us a forbidden romance, teen angst, a string of unsolved murders, medical scares, and a delicious finale that is exemplary of the fact that happy endings are not always what they seem to be.

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3 Fool Me Once

Michelle Keegan as Maya covering her mouth in surprise in 'Fool Me Once'
Image via Netflix

Even though this book adaptation for the screen is called Fool Me Once, be prepared for more than one mind-blowing plot twist. Netflix’s latest miniseries, inspired by Coben’s best-selling novel, follows a military veteran (Maya played Michelle Keegan) as she mourns the death of her sister and her husband. As she and her daughter try to carry on with their lives, Maya is shocked by a recent nanny cam video featuring her late husband. Unable to tell whether he did or didn’t die, the protagonist goes on a quest for answers. From confronting her in-laws to collaborating with Detective Sergeant Sami Kierce (Adeel Akhtar), Maya is eager to take matter into her own hands in order to unveil the truth. Easily one of the most well-paced and engaging Coben series on Netflix, Fool Me Once is certain to keep you guessing. — Isabella Soares

Fool Me Once

Widowed mum Mya is disturbed by an image of her late husband captured on her toddler’s nanny cam.

Release Date
January 1, 2024

Main Genre
Crime

Rating
TV-MA

Seasons
1

Watch on Netflix

2 The Innocent

Mario Casas looking down while Aura Garrido touches his shoulder in Netflix's 'The Innocent'
Image via Netflix

After accidentally killing a man in a bar brawl years earlier, Mateo Vidal (Mario Casas) is finally released from prison and ready for a clean slate. He connects with a flirtation from his past, and soon after his release, is married to his new wife, Olivia (Aura Garrido). This 8-episode Spanish murder mystery series begins innocently enough, but not long into this hopeful new period of marital bliss, Mat is faced with confusing revelations about Olivia. Immediately after, we switch to the perspective of a detective looking into the suspicious suicide of a nun. Much like other Coben stories, The Innocent presents seemingly unrelated events connected by the ghosts of our main cast of characters’ pasts. The show starts off a little slower than some other entries, falling somewhere between a frustrating slow burn and a commendable restraint. But the emotionally resonant performances and intriguing take on Coben’s classic material make The Innocent a bingeable watch.

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1 Safe

Michael C. Hall in despair while holding his phone in Netflix's 'Safe'
Image via Netflix

Harlan Coben’s best Netflix series, Safe, starts off much like any other. A suburban British man, in this case, Tom Delaney (played by Dexter’s Michael C. Hall), has his world shaken when his teen daughter, Jenny (Amy James-Kelly) goes missing from their gated community. As he grapples with the sudden absence of a missing daughter, he is forced to reckon with a dead wife, a budding romance with the lead detective on the case, a drugged-out best friend, and shrouded dangers within the gated community. There are raging parties, seedy nightclubs, a suspicious fire, and twist after twist after twist. And while these components aren’t necessarily unique among Coben’s shows, Safe is the one that executes them perfectly. The big reveal feels truly big, and the emotional connections the story builds between our main web of deceivers and heroes are completely convincing. And the fact that it’s easy television, fun to watch, and even more fun to discuss after each episode, is its precise appeal. It’s a well-paced thriller and a Harlan Coben adaptation at its finest.

Watch on Netflix



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