Jack Ryan season 4: What to expect

John Krasinski as Jack Ryan in Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan season 4
(Image credit: Attila Szvacsek/Prime Video)

Jack Ryan season 4 has two episodes under its belt, with two more due for this Friday (July 7). But what can we expect out of the final season of this Tom Clancy thriller? Having read all of the books decades ago, I think there are a few clues in the first two episodes that might give us an indication of what's next.

Spoilers about the Jack Ryan books and movies — but not the current TV series —follow in case you'd like to remain completely in the dark.

An image indicating spoilers are ahead.

What the Tom Clancy books tell us

How to watch Jack Ryan season 4

Jack Ryan is available on Prime Video. Episodes 3 and 4 will be available Friday, July 7.

So far, season 4 of Jack Ryan seems to be borrowing from Clear and Present Danger, which was published in 1989, and subsequently made into a movie in 1994. In the novel, the National Security Advisor — with the tacit approval of the President — authorizes the CIA to send special ops forces into Colombia to start killing cartel leaders and disrupting illicit drug flights. The leader of one of the cartels discovers the plot, and blackmails the National Security Advisor into giving up the location of the troops; in return, he promises to decrease drug shipments to the U.S.

Jack Ryan, now the acting CIA Deputy Director (Intelligence), uncovers the whole scheme and then flies to South America to rescue what's left of the soldiers. He then confronts the President with the information and testifies before the Special Intelligence Committee. 

Examining the cast

Michael Peña (L) as Domingo Chavez in Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan season 4

(Image credit: Attila Szvacsek/Prime Video)

While season 4 is definitely different from Clear and Present Danger, it already features one character who was prominent in both the novel and the film: Domingo Chavez. 

In the movie, he was played by Raymond Cruz (later of Breaking Bad fame); in Jack Ryan, he's portrayed by Michael Pena. The Chavez in the Amazon Prime series has a bit more agency than the character in the film; there, he was an exceptionally good sniper, but stuck in the jungle when his team is betrayed. In the series, he's more like a spy, having embedded himself with one of the cartels, while still managing to direct a special ops team to take out other dealers.

Like the movie, Ryan has already discovered the illegal ops run by his predecessor, Thomas Miller and has shut them down, but the scope here is larger than just an illegal drug war, as it not only involves South American cartels, but ones in Southeast Asia, too. 

Wendell Pierce's James Greer appears to be on a different trajectory, too. In the novel and the film, Ryan's former boss was dying from pancreatic cancer. Here, he's exploring his options in the private sector. 

After being mysteriously absent for seasons two and three, Abbie Cornish has returned as Kathy Mueller (the future other Dr. Ryan), and hopefully she'll be used for more than just Jack's fiancee-in-waiting. 

What I expect — and what I hope — will happen

In the very first scene of season 4, we see John Krasinski strung up and being electrocuted in some dingy basement, so it's safe to say that Ryan won't be spending all his time in cubicles and Senate intelligence briefings.

The first episode of the season also spent too much time on Nigerian lobbyist Adebayo Osoji (Okieriete Onaodowan) and Zeyara Lemos (Zuleikha Robinson), the host of a gala attended by Ryan, Ryan's CIA boss, and Mueller. The way the camera lingered on Lemos, I suspect that her organization is being used as a front for some nefarious activities.

In Clear and Present Danger, we also see more of John Clark, a CIA operative who was running the special ops troops, and who helps Ryan get them out of Central America. I'm hoping beyond hope that he'll be brought into this series in the form of Michael B. Jordan, who played the character in the Prime Video series Without Remorse, though it's highly unlikely this will happen. And that's a huge missed opportunity. 

At this point, your guess is as good as mine as to what will happen next in Jack Ryan. I hope it ends up as strong as the first season, which I think was the best to this point. We'll know more this Friday.

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Mike Prospero
U.S. Editor-in-Chief, Tom's Guide

Michael A. Prospero is the U.S. Editor-in-Chief for Tom’s Guide. He oversees all evergreen content and oversees the Homes, Smart Home, and Fitness/Wearables categories for the site. In his spare time, he also tests out the latest drones, electric scooters, and smart home gadgets, such as video doorbells. Before his tenure at Tom's Guide, he was the Reviews Editor for Laptop Magazine, a reporter at Fast Company, the Times of Trenton, and, many eons back, an intern at George magazine. He received his undergraduate degree from Boston College, where he worked on the campus newspaper The Heights, and then attended the Columbia University school of Journalism. When he’s not testing out the latest running watch, electric scooter, or skiing or training for a marathon, he’s probably using the latest sous vide machine, smoker, or pizza oven, to the delight — or chagrin — of his family.

  • Apache Hell
    I love Tom Clancy’s spy novels (for reading and watching the adaptations) so it's great that John Krasinski returns as CIA agent Jack Ryan for a final season. If you haven’t seen the earlier productions or read Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan novels do so and you won’t be disappointed. In fact as time goes by the novels get better whilst the films age a bit but nonetheless their flair remains intact.

    Another great read on the espionage front is about Edward Burlington in the fact based spy thriller Beyond Enkription in The Burlington Files series by Bill Fairclough (MI6 codename JJ. For more, see TheBurlingtonFiles website and read Beyond Enkription about a real spy on the run from London to Port au Prince and back.

    Also do look up TheBurlingtonFiles news dated 31 October 2022 about Pemberton’s People, ungentlemanly spies in MI6, and if you are shocked best read Beyond Enkription too! It is an intriguing raw factual thriller and a super read as long as you don’t expect John le Carré’s delicate diction, sophisticated syntax and placid plots. Nevertheless, one US critic has heralded it as “up there with My Silent War by Kim Philby and No Other Choice by George Blake”.