Netflix’s crime thriller series Stay Close has a huge twist at the ending. However, the twist wasn’t in the book. Here’s why Netflix changed the end.
Warning: Spoilers for the Stay Close finale.
British thriller series Stay Close is based on Harlan Coben’s novel of the same name, but the shocking twist in the show isn’t in the book; here’s why Netflix changed the ending. One of the best things that Stay Close has going for it is the slow burn storytelling style. Audiences are taken on a journey of several different people, whose lives all intertwine because of one dead man: Stewart Green. Viewers are treated to revelations of double lives, lies, secrets, love, and murder. The Barbie and Ken assassins are a particular highlight of the show, as well as Cush Jumbo’s superior performance as Megan/Cassie. All of this leads up to not one, but two twists in the eighth and final episode.
Stay Close‘s twist ending is one for the books. When Detective Michael Broome (James Nesbitt) discovers that Ken (Hyoie O’Grady) has stalked his girlfriend Lorraine (Sarah Parish) with the intent to murder her, he races to her home to save her. Upon arrival, Broome sees the carpet stained with blood and assumes the worst. What he finds is that Lorraine fought off her attacker, and that’s when she admits that she’s been the serial killer all along. During her confession at the police station, detectives mention that they didn’t find Carlton Flynn’s (Connor Calland) body with the rest. Regardless, Lorraine takes the fall for his murder. Audiences find out at the very end that Carlton’s death is actually the result of other Stay Close characters’ actions. Carlton was accidentally and unknowingly killed by Dave Shaw (Daniel Francis). However, this last-minute twist was not in the book.
The original source material ends Stay Close with Lorraine being Carlton Flynn’s killer, and there are plenty of reasons why Netflix could’ve made this major change. One idea behind why Netflix changed the ending is because the original ending might’ve fallen flat, given all of the anticipation built throughout the show. If one were to view the show backward and apply Harlan Coben’s ending, it doesn’t quite work as a viable payoff. While it was surprising that Lorraine was the killer, making her the only one would’ve cheapened the ending. The final twist ending added something more to the series than making Lorraine the sole murderer would’ve done. Another reason Netflix changed the ending could be to keep up with audiences’ ever-growing film knowledge. The viewers of today are savvy TV watchers and wary of twists, so it’s hard to pull off something that they won’t guess long before the end. With crime thrillers being at the height of popularity, Netflix had to make sure that Stay Close differentiates itself from other series like HBO’s Sharp Objects.
Netflix probably changed the ending of Stay Close to differentiate itself from other thriller series with twist endings, like Mare of Easttown, or because the original ending would’ve discounted the journey. It’s not uncommon for movies and television shows to change the ending of their source material. Adaptations can be tricky in general. The page doesn’t always translate seamlessly to the screen and filmmakers have the task of keeping audience members in mind who aren’t familiar with the original source material.
While it is true that Stay Close doesn’t follow its novel exactly, Netflix might’ve made the right choice with changing the original ending. Reasons as to why the streaming service made this choice could be anything from improving the payoff of the setup, subverting audience expectations, or simply because filmmakers thought this change was a better fit for the story. Either way, the Netflix original series Stay Close has a fantastic ending, even if it’s not the same as the book.
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