The Terminal List TV Show's Biggest Book Differences Explained (2023)

Warning: This article contains spoilers for The Terminal List season 1.

Prime Video's adaptation of Jack Carr's novel The Terminal List has a number of differences from the book to the series. Starring Chris Pratt as Commander James Reece, The Terminal List follows his quest for vengeance after his SEAL team and family are killed in a cover-up conspiracy. Based on Carr's novel of the same name, the adaptation is the first in a series of books featuring Reece as the lead in a gripping action drama. Additional stars include Taylor Kitsch as Ben Edwards, Constance Wu as Katie Buranek, Jai Courtney as Steve Horn, Jeanne Tripplehorn as Secretary Lorraine Hartley, and Matthew Rauch as Captain Howard.

The Terminal List season 1 adapts the sprawling tale of revenge by Reece and his comrades in Carr's book, but given the 8-episode format, there was a lot to unpack and not all of it translated as it was portrayed on the page. While the majority of the book is in place, there are some big shifts in terms of characters featured in the show that aren't in the book and vice versa. There are also some sequences created specifically for the show that aren't in the book and scenes from the book that are either omitted or altered to fit the story in some other way, serving as an ode to the original book scenes, as well as a way to keep audiences surprised and guessing, especially those that have already read the book.

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While it's difficult to adapt every single scene fromThe Terminal List novel, the Prime Video TV showmanages to bring multiple notable sequences to life, while also injecting new settings and characters that add some additional mystery and suspense, as well as significant character development. The show makes ample use of the actors' performances, bringing some of the more two-dimensional characters from the book to life in a way that the page didn't allow.Here are the biggest book-to-series differences in The Terminal List.

The Names On The Terminal List In The Book Vs. The Show

The Terminal List TV Show's Biggest Book Differences Explained (1)

In The Terminal List book, the names on the list go in this order: Josh Holder, Marcus Boykin, Saul Agnon, Steve Horn, CJNG Mexico, Admiral Gerald Pilsner, Mike Tedesco, J.D. Hartley, Lorraine Hartley, Leonard Howard, Hammadi Izmail Masood, Ben Edwards. For The Terminal ListTV show, the list is: Josh Holder, Saul Agnon, Steve Horn, Marcus Boykin, Navajas, Pillar, Cox, Howard, Lorraine Hartley, Ben Edwards. The first big difference is that of the Mexican Cartel, which is listed as an organization rather than a person in the book. Mike Tedesco is not on the list in the series, as he's portrayed as a more sympathetic character there, and Masood is omitted entirely in the show. Lastly, Bill Cox is not on the list in the book, as he is a character created specifically for the series, same asJD Pardo's F.B.I. Agent Tony Layun and Christina Vidal's Mac Wilson.

An ISIS Leader's Death And His Connection To James Reece

The Terminal List TV Show's Biggest Book Differences Explained (2)

Hammadi Izmail Masood is a character in the book that is an ISIS intermediary acting as a Muslim cleric in the U.S. and is the one who helped set up the ambush of Reece's SEAL team at the behest of Admiral Pilsner and Captain Howard, who liaised with him. In The Terminal List book, Reece tricks Masood by posing as a student doing an interview at Masood's mosque, where he eventually reveals who he really is and violently kills the ISIS conspirator, cutting off his head and leaving it on a pike in front of the mosque with an ISIS flag draped over it. Ultimately, The Terminal List series merges Masood and Ben Edwards in terms of who set up the ambush on Reece's SEAL team, using Edwards' CIA position as the means to make it happen.

The Hospital Ambush And Death Of Reece's Wife And Daughter

The Terminal List TV Show's Biggest Book Differences Explained (3)

In The Terminal List show, James Reece goes in to have a brain scan shortly after returning from the mission that killed his entire team. During the scan, assassins arrive to his location and kill the doctor, then move to take out Reece, who reacts quickly, killing one man and injuring another who escapes. Reece then drives home to find his wife and daughter both dead in the kitchen, where he mourns over their bodies as police arrive on the scene. In the book, the hospital assassination attempt does not take place. Instead, Reece heads home to find police already there. He tries to enter his home but is stopped and subdued by police, never seeing his wife and daughter's bodies on the scene. In a change from the Prime Video show, the book later revealed that James Reece's wife, Lauren Reece, grabbed a pistol and shot at the assassins, injuring one of them, but still being shot down as she attempted to shield her daughter, Lucy, who was alive when she was found, but died en route to the hospital.

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The Assault In Mexico And The Tomahawk Torture Scene

The Terminal List TV Show's Biggest Book Differences Explained (4)

In both the book and The Terminal List show, Reece goes to Mexico to hunt down the men who killed his family. There are some big differences here, including Reece traveling with Ben Edwards in the show (he goes solo in the book) and executing his assault on the compound during the day (at night in the book). Rather than hunting for a particular man in the book, Reece is simply trying to kill everyone there- setting up a very different dynamic to the Prime Video TV show. At one point, he struggles with a man who is wearing a crude bullet wound bandage, which he attributed to his wife's attempt to stave off her attackers before she was killed. Reece kills the man in The Terminal List book with a dagger, slashing his throat, before taking out the rest of the men in the compound. In the show, Reece and Edwards (along with help from Marco's men) sweep the compound similarly, but Reece is looking for a particular man named El Navajas (Albert Valladares), whom he captures and tortures, eviscerating the man with his tomahawk before he dies. The Tomahawk torture scene happens in the book, but it's with Captain Howard, not Navajas, and takes place in a different location (Florida Keys) and with a different weapon altogether.

The Terminal List's First Blood Chase Through The Mountains

The Terminal List TV Show's Biggest Book Differences Explained (5)

While there is a scene in the book that has a SEAL team authorized to track down and take out Reece, the sequence is much shorter and uneventful than it is in the Prime Video TV show, as it simply has Reece not detonating an explosive when he has them in his sights, sparing them and making his escape. In The Terminal List series, however, an entire episode is dedicated to the SEAL team, FBI, and Federal Marshals giving chase to Reece, who is on the run after killing Steve Horn. The episode feels like an ode to Rambo: First Blood, chasing down a crazed war vet through the woods as he bests them at every turn, eventually leading to a showdown that has Reece detonate explosives around the team to make his final escape, while saving Mac Wilson in the process before he disappears. None of those events appear in the novel.

The Death Of Admiral Pillar, Captain Howard, Bill Cox, And Mike Tedesco

The Terminal List TV Show's Biggest Book Differences Explained (6)

In The Terminal List show, James Reece discovers that Admiral Pillar (called Pilsner in the book) was behind the RD4895 drug conspiracy that killed his men and his family, as well as his right hand men, JAG officer Howard and Bill Cox (LaMonica Garrett) and makes a plan to kill them. Howard is captured and coerced to wear a suicide vest to take out himself and Admiral Pillar (which he does), while Cox is drowned in the ocean. In the book, Cox's character does not exist and was created specifically for the show, and it's Mike Tedesco, a Capstone finance man, that puts on the suicide vest and takes out himself and Admiral Pillar. The scene in the show is ultimately a combination of Tedesco and Howard's characters, as Howard acts to spare his family's life in the show, while Tedesco does so in the book. In the Amazon Prime TV show, Tedesco is shot and killed by Capstone security when it's revealed he's about to turn over evidence to Katie Buranek. By contrast, Howard is killed in the book in a similar way that El Navajas is killed in the show's Tomahawk torture scene in Mexico.

Lorraine Hartley And The Final Showdown

The Terminal List TV Show's Biggest Book Differences Explained (7)

J.D. Hartley is a congressman married to Lorraine Hartley in The Terminal List, but he's nowhere to be found in the TV show. It ultimately served to cut down on screentime by merging both J.D. and Lorraine into one character, as J.D. didn't serve as great a purpose in the book as Lorraine did. In the book, J.D. Hartley is killed by an EFP bomb that Reece personally delivers in a van, killing him. In the series, the EFP is made and delivered to kill Steve Horn at his headquarters, which turns into a shootout in the streets that has Reece shoot Horn on the steps of his building before going on the run. This is a major shift from the book, as - unlike The Terminal List show ending - the book finale has Reece infiltrating Lorraine Hartley's compound at the end, confronting Hartley, Horn, and Edwards all at once in her office, killing all three and rescuing a captured Katie Buranek, who is tied with explosive det cord.

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In The Terminal Listseries, the infiltration of Hartley's compound is much more elaborate and action heavy with Reece taking on multiple top-level security guards before making his way to Hartley's office where she commits suicide before he can kill her. Buranek is less of a hostage and more of a political prisoner in the scene, as Hartley brought her in to justify her actions, hoping to influence the reporter's story. With Horn already dead and Hartley killing herself, the last name on Reece's list is Ben Edwards, who is taken out in a completely different and far more emotional way than in the book. Reece confronts Edwards on his boat, getting him to confess his involvement in the plot before presumably shooting him off camera and sailing off in his boat to Mozambique to set up a potential The Terminal List season 2.

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Next: Everything We Know About The Terminal List Season 2


Why is The Terminal List show so different from the book? ›

While it's difficult to adapt every single scene from The Terminal List novel, the Prime Video TV show manages to bring multiple notable sequences to life, while also injecting new settings and characters that add some additional mystery and suspense, as well as significant character development.

Why do critics not like The Terminal List? ›

One of the biggest faults that critics pointed out from the very beginning of The Terminal List was that the show, according to the producer Jack Carr, presents itself as "anti-woke," representing the far-right. This has resulted in critics giving the series a low score of 40% on Rotten Tomatoes.

What is the controversy with The Terminal List? ›

Carr took particular issue with The Daily Beast critic Nick Schager, who labeled “The Terminal List” an “unhinged right-wing revenge fantasy.” Variety also panned the series, calling it a “military vanity project for a charisma-free Chris Pratt.”

Does James Reece have a brain tumor? ›

In “The Terminal List” Pratt plays Navy SEAL commander James Reece. As the series begins, his entire platoon is wiped out in an ambush. He returns to the U.S. with a bunch of caskets, a headache and hallucinations. He thinks the headache and hallucinations are from a concussion, but in reality he has a brain tumor.

What is the significance of the dead bird in terminal list? ›

The starling represents Reece and military service men and women who deal with events that become traumatic and turn into posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

What is the 4th book in The Terminal List? ›

The fourth thriller in the Terminal List series follows former Navy SEAL James Reece as he is entrusted with a top-secret CIA mission of retribution twenty years in the making.

Is Chris Pratt delusional in terminal list? ›

Back at home base in San Diego, his superiors have recordings that contradict his memories about the debacle, while he himself experiences delusions and other neurological disorders.

How authentic is The Terminal List? ›

The team at the Terminal List put together great action scenes and authentic gun handling. The show's creators also picked great gear for the show. The guys wear their plate carriers correctly and properly orient mags in the pouches, and Ben carries quite the shotgun loadout and ammo capacity.

Who is the villain in terminal list book? ›

Steve Horn is Reece's main antagonist and one of the book's biggest villains. He's the CEO of a mega corporation that utilizes the latest military technologies and innovations for its own gain.

What did Chris Pratt do for The Terminal List? ›

Pratt got into a bidding war for the rights, only to discover that he was bidding against Fuqua, so instead they partnered on developing the project. On February 1, 2023, Amazon Prime Video renewed the series for a second season.

Is there a sequel to terminal list? ›

After many months of listening to our agonizing, Amazon Prime Video has delivered the news we've all been waiting for: The Terminal List has been renewed for Season 2, according to Variety.

What profanity is in The Terminal List? ›

Profanities include JC, GD, OMG, and Jesus. The series also contains extreme violence since the plot centers around Reece's ability to kill off each person on his list.

What is Ben's tattoo in terminal list? ›

We also learn in this episode that Ben is heavily inked, with a bunch of Navy- and military-themed artwork, including a gigantic ship on his back, a wolf on his chest, and, interestingly, a line from a Walt Whitman poem: “I am the man, I suffered, I was there.” Unexpected!

Did James Reece have PTSD? ›

Lt. Commander James Reece (Chris Pratt) is the sole survivor of an attack on his Navy SEAL team, which leaves him with a crippling case of PTSD and survivor's guilt.

Who gave Reece the boat in The Terminal List? ›

Reece and Ben will infiltrate Orcas Island via boat, but for that they'll need a boat, which is where Reece's unseen buddy Raife Hastings comes in. Despite Ben's assertions of his untrustworthiness, Hastings has left them a small schooner complete with supplies including dive gear, small arms, and a .

Is Boozer dead in terminal list? ›

Boozer is later killed in an attack which is made to look like a suicide, while Reece also survives an attack from unknown assailants. He then comes home to find his wife and daughter killed.

What does a dead bird on a grave mean? ›

Birds: This particular species is popular on grave markers and cremation urns alike because they symbolize the freedom of the spirit. The bird in flight represents a soul free from its body. In particular, the Dove is used in Christianity to represent peace and the Holy Spirit.

Does Reece get the tumor removed? ›

Reece Survives Surgery To Remove His Tumor

While a potential season 2 could change the story from Carr's novel, all signs point to the next story adapting the second book True Believer.

How does The Terminal List book series end? ›

Reece goes to escape but is spotted by Tony, who tries to capture him, but in the end, his sympathy towards the broken and hobbling Navy SEAL wins out, and he lets Reece go. Three weeks go by, and Katie's story has been published, exposing the truth about Operation Odin's Sword to the world.

What books are on the shelf in terminal list? ›

Terminal List
  • The Terminal. Jack Carr. From $3.99.
  • True Believer. Jack Carr. From $10.49.
  • Savage Son: A Thriller. Jack Carr. From $8.39.
  • The Devil's Hand. Jack Carr. From $6.29.
  • In the Blood: A Thriller. Jack Carr. From $6.19.
  • The Terminal List / True Believer / Savage Son. Jack Carr. From $46.24.

Was Jack Carr a seal? ›

Today's #VeteranOfTheDay is Navy Veteran Jack Carr, who served as a Navy SEAL before becoming a New York Times best-selling author. Navy sniper turned New York Times bestselling author, Jack Carr, continues to write new chapters in his inspiring life story.

Does Chris Pratt eat meat? ›

Chris Pratt is a meat-loving man and his wife, Anna Faris, loves that about him.

How much weight did Chris Pratt lose for terminal list? ›

How Chris Pratt Dropped 60 Pounds in 6 Months for 'Guardians of the Galaxy' “There is a different kind of strength that comes from training like we do in the SEAL teams,” says Shaw. “It's not about how much you can curl. It's about if you can carry your teammate to safety if he gets hit.

What gun does Reece use in The Terminal List? ›

Glock 19 (TTI Custom)

Just like in the books, Reece likes the Glock 19 as a concealed carry pistol, and he carries a custom G19 throughout the season.

Who is the Navy SEAL turned author? ›

Jack Carr is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and former Navy SEAL. He lives with his wife and three children in Park City, Utah. He is the author of The Terminal List, True Believer, Savage Son, The Devil's Hand, and In the Blood.

Is James Reece a real person? ›

James Reece is a combination of all sorts of people, both real and fictional, though not intentionally. His career mirrors mine in that he was a prior enlisted SEAL who transitioned to the officer ranks, but that is where the similarities end.

Who flies the plane in terminal list? ›

Tyner Rushing Talks About Flying A Plane To Prepare For The Terminal List [Exclusive Interview] Tyner Rushing took serious training in flying a plane for her character in The Terminal List. Working closely with Chris Pratt's character showing real loyalty.

Is Ben dead in terminal list book? ›

Reece hasn't spared anyone on the list, even if we can't quite see him fire the shot, therefore Ben is probably dead. Reece seems to have found some peace with Ben's passing. He gives Lucy's drawing one last kiss and holds it in his hands before throwing it into the river.

Who was Rick in The Terminal List? ›

The Terminal List (TV Series 2022– ) - Michael Broderick as Rick - IMDb.

Who is Elias from The Terminal List? ›

Carsten Norgaard: Elias Ryberg.

Does John Reese have a tumor in terminal list? ›

DON'T GET ON HIS BAD SIDE Former Navy SEAL James Reese (Chris Pratt) discovers he has a brain tumor from an experimental drug designed to prevent PTSD.

What did Josh Holder do in The Terminal List? ›

NCIS Agent Josh Holder

As it turns out, Holder was paid off to help cover up the murders and plant evidence that would make Reece look like the killer. Once he's uncovered to be a dirty agent by both Reece and Constance Wu's Katie Buranek, Holder becomes the first name on James Reece's terminal list.

What happens to Mike in The Terminal List? ›

Before we find out more though, Mike is killed outright by an assassin sent by Horn, prompting Katie to scramble up the stairwell and shoots the man to defend herself.

Is Amazon making a sequel to The Terminal List? ›

'The Terminal List' will be getting a second season and a prequel series, both featuring franchise star Chris Pratt, streaming platform Prime Video announced on Monday.

Is The Terminal List true to the book? ›

No, The Terminal List is not directly based on real events and is adapted from the series of novels by author Jack Carr.

Is Taylor Kitsch in Season 2 of The Terminal List? ›

With the second season of The Terminal List and Prime Video's new prequel series starring the amazing Taylor Kitsch, we are expanding on the storytelling and characters beloved by so many all over the world.” The Terminal List tells the story of Reece, a Navy SEAL who seeks to avenge the murder of his family.

What show swears the most? ›

The world record for the most swear words in a television programme is 201 in episode 1 of Strutter, produced by Objective Productions and aired on MTV on 9 November 2006.

What is the oldest profanity? ›

The word “fart” has been recorded since the 13th century and comes from the Old English word “feortan,” making it the oldest swear word ever recorded. It has been used as a vulgar slang term for flatulence, and its usage has been recorded in various works of literature and poetry throughout history.

What is the most used profanity? ›

'Fuck' is America's most commonly-used swear word, with 11.62 uses for every 1000 posts on Twitter. With 48 curse words per 1000 tweets, residents of Georgia use the most profanities of any U.S. state, with Minnesota (15 per 1000 tweets) swearing the least.

What does the skeleton frog mean? ›

The bone frog symbol is associated with US Navy SEALs and is often displayed as a sign in work offices of retired frogmen, on patches of SEALs deploying overseas, in memory of fallen teammates, and even inked as tattoos into these operators' skins.

Who is James Reece's love interest? ›

Reece is quickly ambushed, and takes off on a wild adventure with reporter and love interest Katie Buranek, with Reece again on the hunt for the bad guys.

What does Jack's tattoo mean? ›

Just before leaving, Isabel translates Jack's tattoo, "He walks amongst us, but he is not one of us".

What illness does James Reece have? ›

After his SEAL team and his family are killed and he is diagnosed with a brain tumor, Reece sets out on a mission of revenge to kill everyone responsible. This leaves him branded a domestic terrorist, fleeing the country with an assumed terminal illness.

Are there real Navy SEALs in The Terminal List? ›

It's dark and everyone other than me and maybe a couple of actors are actual former Navy SEALs. The level of authenticity is so real, that you almost don't get to see a lot of it because it is dark.

What does James Reece suffer from? ›

Commander James Reece — a SEAL who is one of two surviving members of his platoon after a covert mission goes horribly awry. Once back home, Reece is told he suffered a brain injury during the battle.

How did Reese's family died in The Terminal List? ›

In a shocking and heartbreaking scene, two sicarios kill Reece's wife and daughter to make it look like death by a military husband/father who has PTSD. This happened when Reece left for the CT scan, where the doctor was also shot to death.

Who is James Reece's best friend? ›

Taylor Kitsch as Ben Edwards

Taylor Kitsch plays Ben, the best friend of the lead character Commander James Reece. Ben, a CIA agent, uses his links to help his buddy on his quest for justice. While on board with the idea of Reece getting his revenge, he constantly prods him along the path of introspection.

Is terminal list the same as the book? ›

The Terminal List is an American action thriller television series created by David DiGilio, based on Jack Carr's 2018 novel of the same name. The series tells the story of a Navy SEAL who seeks to avenge the murder of his family.

Is The Terminal List part of a book series? ›

The Terminal List book series by Jack Carr includes books The Terminal, True Believer, Savage Son: A Thriller, and several more. See the complete Terminal List series book list in order, box sets or omnibus editions, and companion titles.

How many books does The Terminal List series cover? ›

Terminal List A Thriller series 5 books Collection Set (The Terminal List, True Believer, Savage Son, The Devil's Hand, In the Blood) By Jack Carr.

What is the third book in The Terminal List? ›

Savage Son: A Thriller (Terminal List Book 3) - Kindle edition by Carr, Jack.

Was Jack Carr a Navy SEAL? ›

He served as an enlisted SEAL sniper, specializing in communications and intelligence for six and a half years, and deployed as a junior officer, leading assault and sniper teams in Iraq and Afghanistan. Carr then became a platoon commander, practicing counterinsurgency in the southern Philippines.

Will there be terminal list 2? ›

After many months of listening to our agonizing, Amazon Prime Video has delivered the news we've all been waiting for: The Terminal List has been renewed for Season 2, according to Variety.

What is the plot of Terminal List book? ›

On his last combat deployment, Lieutenant Commander James Reece's entire team was killed in a catastrophic ambush. But when those dearest to him are murdered on the day of his homecoming, Reece discovers that this was not an act of war by a foreign enemy but a conspiracy that runs to the highest levels of government.

What is the Tomahawk in terminal list? ›

The tomahawk used by Reece is the WK RnD Axe. It is a collaborative design between Master Bladesmith Daniel Winkler and skilled Sayoc Kali martial arts trainer Rafael Kayanan.

What order do The Terminal List books go in? ›

Terminal List Books in Order
  • The Terminal List: A Thriller (2018)
  • True Believer: A Thriller (2019)
  • Savage Son: A Thriller (2020)
  • The Devil's Hand: A Thriller (2021)
  • In the Blood: A Thriller (2022)

Is James Reece in other books? ›

James Reece is an ex-Navy SEAL and has nothing left to live for.
Publication Order of James Reece Books.
The Terminal List(2018)Hardcover Paperback Kindle
The Devil's Hand(2021)Hardcover Paperback Kindle
In the Blood(2022)Hardcover Paperback Kindle
Only the Dead(2023)Hardcover Paperback Kindle
2 more rows

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