This compelling mystery thriller just crashed the Netflix top 10 — and it’s 95% on Rotten Tomatoes

(L-R) Alex Dimitriades as Kosta Panigiris, Jamie Dornan as Elliot, Damon Herriman as DI Lachlan Rogers in The Tourist on Netflix
(Image credit: Netflix / BBC / Stan)

It looks like HBO’s loss is its streaming rival’s gain as “The Tourist” just rocketed into the Netflix top 10 list less than a week after its debut, and this thriller series now has its eyes on the top spot. 

Currently ranked as the second most-watched show on Netflix behind buzzy true-crime biopic “Griselda” with Sofía Vergara, “The Tourist” originally launched on Max, formerly HBO MAX, last spring but was subsequently dropped from our favorite streaming service in September of the same year. Shortly afterward, Netflix picked up the show, and the complete first season arrived on the platform last week (Feb. 1).  

That was a wise move as “The Tourist” is finding plenty of new fans now that it’s arrived on Netflix in the U.S. And with season 2 already airing in the U.K. and Australia (the show is a co-production between the BBC and Aussie service Stan), there’s more to come as the big red streamer has confirmed that “The Tourist” season 2 will land Stateside on Feb. 29. 

If you’re thinking of diving into this compelling mystery thriller ahead of its second season arriving on Netflix at the end of the month, then we’ve got everything you need to know about “The Tourist” down below, including its premise and a snapshot of its very positive reviews. 

What is ‘The Tourist’ about?  

Like all good thriller series, “The Tourist” opens with a compelling mystery. After a high-speed car chase through the Australian Outback, an Irishman named Elliot (Jamie Dornan) wakes up in an Australian hospital with no memory of his past, or how he found himself so far from home. 

With only a few clues to assist him in piecing together his identity, Elliot must work together with a local cop (Danielle Macdonald) to figure out who he is and what he was doing right before his accident. However, Elliot’s forgotten past is rapidly catching up with him, and there are a whole lot of people who want him dead — if only Elliot could remember why exactly. 

“The Tourist” is best enjoyed knowing as little as possible before watching. So, if the above sounds like it could appeal to you, I’d urged you to give the first episode a shot as soon as possible to preserve the show’s myriad of twists and shocking reveals. 

‘The Tourist’ reviews — here’s what the critics say 

“The Tourist” currently holds a strong 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Although, this does appear to be another show where critics and viewers don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye. The show’s audience score is rather less impressive at just 65%.  

Peter Travers of ABC News declared the show a “relentlessly funny, ferocious, thrill-a-minute with series the staying power to haunt your dreams” and in particular praised the performance of Dornan calling him “so good you’ll follow him anywhere”. AV Club’s Leila Latif was similarly impressed by the Irish performer labeling him “one of our credible millennial actors.”

Another positive take came from The Hollywood Reporter: “Even with its occasional excesses, The Tourist is a mostly taut, pretension-lite mystery with a vivid setting, a few surprises and a great trio of lead performances from Jamie Dornan, Danielle Macdonald and Shalom Brune-Franklin,” said critic Dan Fienberg. 

NPR’s John Powers called the show “funny” and “suspenseful” and praised it for keeping viewers guessing throughout its run. 

Matthew Gilbert of the Boston Globe felt “the story would have been tighter with one or two fewer episodes” but overall called “The Tourist” an “entertaining series that has drive, even when it’s going in the wrong direction.”

Should you stream ‘The Tourist’ on Netflix?  

If you want a new Netflix show that will keep you guessing and have you leaping off the couch to find the remote so you can press the “play next episode” button straight away, then “The Tourist” most definitely deserves a spot in your watchlist. 

You’ll come for the mystery, but stay hooked thanks to an impressive leading performance from Jamie Dornan. The Irish actor is excellent as Elliot, but the strong supporting cast shouldn’t be ignored. Macdonald matches up to Dornan perfectly as an ambitious cop not ready to settle down into small-town life, and the series also features other talents including Shalom Brune-Franklin, Greg Larsen Damon Herriman and Kamil Ellis.

“The Tourist” will keep you glued to your TV through its six-episode run, and with its Ireland-set second season set to arrive on Netflix in just a couple of weeks, now is the ideal time to breeze through the first season before the new episodes drop.   

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Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.