The Recruit just knocked off Wednesday as Netflix’s No. 1 show

Noah Centineo as Owen Hendricks in The Recruit on Netflix
(Image credit: Netflix)

Wednesday has proven to be a huge success for Netflix, but even being the third highest-rated show in Netflix history isn’t enough to keep a show at the top of the Netflix top 10 list forever. In fact, the newly-released The Recruit has knocked Wednesday down to No. 2, and claimed the top spot for itself.

The Recruit arrived on Netflix last Friday (December 16) and has already struck a chord with audiences and critics alike. Not only has it flown to the top of the top 10 list, it’s also picked up some impressive scores on Rotten Tomatoes (opens in new tab) — with a pretty solid 75% from critics and 87% from audiences.

What is The Recruit about?

The Recruit is a spy-themed drama, interspersed with some comedy, from Alexei Hawley — a producer behind shows like The Rookie, Castle and other shows. It stars Noah Centineo (Black Adam) as Owen Hendricks, a lawyer who just started working for the CIA. After encountering a former CIA asset Max (Laura Haddock, Guardians of the Galaxy) that’s threatening to expose classified secrets, Hendricks is then thrust into the dangerous world of international espionage.

Needless to say, a rookie lawyer is not built for the spy business, and Hednricks has to deal with dangers and situations that he is completely unequipped to handle. That includes negotiating with Max and dealing with the various dangerous people and groups that have Hendricks in their sights as a result.

The Recruit also features Vondie Curtis-Hall (Daredevil), Aarti Mann (The Big Bang Theory), Colton Dunn (Superstore), Fivel Stewart (Atypical) and Kristian Brunn (Orphan Black).

What do critics say about The Recruit? 

With a 75% Rotten Tomatoes score, based on 20 reviews, it seems critics are relatively happy with The Recruit. Though there are plenty of top critics that have been critical of the series. Here’s a snippet of what they’ve had to say:

Joel Keller from Decider writes that The Recruit is “mostly a silly show” but admitted that “Centineo has more than enough charm to carry viewers through the more absurd parts of the season’s ongoing plot." The Wrap’s Lauren Piester also praised the actor, saying that “If anyone had any doubts about the power of Noah Centineo, Netflix’s 'The Recruit' will put those to rest.”

John Anderson at The Wall Street Journal is also fairly complimentary, declaring the show to be “Stylish, smart and energetic." Anderson added that “The Recruit is involving, but fairly plain-spoken: Unlike series that generate technical and political gibberish until one’s mind clouds over, what happens over the eight episodes remains easy to follow.”

The silliness and simplicity of the show didn’t appeal to some critics. CNN’s Brian Lowry called The Recruit “A junior spy yarn that, as a Netflix series, feels like a particularly tired twist on that very well-worn genre.” Meanwhile, Variety's Daniel D’Addario said that “It’s a show that ought to grip viewers but instead drifts away as it unfolds.”

Angie Han from The Hollywood Reporter was fairly scathing, saying that “Whatever cutting satire or righteous anger The Recruit might have to offer is badly diluted over eight bloated hours — lost amid paper-thin characters, flimsy twists and a wishy-washy tone.” Ouch.

The Recruit — stream or skip?

Regardless of what critics say, The Recruit has managed to capture a sizable audience over the weekend. While Wednesday couldn’t stay on the top indefinitely, its existing popularity means taking that crown was never going to be easy. But whether The Recruit will appeal to you or not is a totally different story.

Admittedly, the trailer has grabbed my attention enough to give it a chance. Considering the first season is only 8 episodes long, it’s not asking for a particularly big commitment either. It all comes down to whether you can appreciate espionage-themed comedy that isn’t leaning too hard into the ridiculousness of it all. This definitely isn’t Archer, after all.

Just remember that this isn’t going to be the most intellectual of shows either. Assuming you can handle The Recruit’s silly tone, you should be able to get some enjoyment out of it.

Tom Pritchard
Automotive Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's Automotive Editor, which means he can usually be found knee deep in stats the latest and best electric cars, or checking out some sort of driving gadget. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining that Ikea won’t let him buy the stuff he really needs online.