Well written if, at times, somewhat derivative (it’s not easy to be original in the spy thriller genre) with former CIA analyst but now field officer Jack Ryan portrayed as an empathic, charismatic character – smart rather than strong, a reluctant hero rather than a strutting action man.
Season 3 sees Ryan (John Krasinski) stationed in Rome where he identifies what is revealed to be the reactivating of Sokol – a decades-old plot by hardliners to reunite the countries of the former Soviet Union. The detonation of an untraceable tactical nuclear bomb is key to the plan but which requires several different stages and political responses from the Americans/Europeans to succeed. The catalyst is the assassination of the Russian Minister of Defence in Prague whilst meeting with Czech President, Alena Kovac (Nina Hoss).
A splendidly action-filled convolution of a narrative unravels across Europe – from Prague to Vienna, Rome to Athens, Moscow to Berlin, Santorini to Budapest (with the occasional visit to Washington) – as Ryan finds himself initially at odds with Rome station chief, Elizabeth Wright (Betty Gabriel) as well as the top brass back in Langley. For them, Sokol seems too far fetched with no concrete evidence. Ryan believes otherwise, fed as he is by Russian Security chief, Luka Gocharov (James Cosmo). Forced to go rogue, Ryan, supported by series regular and ex-boss, James Greer (Wendell Pierce) finds himself in a race against time.
The wheel is far from reinvented in this thrill of an eight-episode series. But with Ryan, Greer and ex-CIA field officer Mike November (Michael Kelly) providing the continuity of character investment for the three seasons (with a fourth on the way), Jack Ryan continues to provide high-octane action interspersed with dialogue both believable and, at times, humorous. Ultimately, it remains thrilling and fun.