!!The books:

* CompleteMonster:
** ''The Visitor'' [[note]]''Running Blind'' [[MarketBasedTitle in the US]][[/note]]: The killer, a cold-blooded DiabolicalMastermind, turns out to be [[spoiler:[[KillerCop FBI Profiler]] Julia Lamarr, who uses her position to cover up her crimes]]. The killer [[SerialKiller murders at least four women]] (and is in the process of murdering another when stopped by Reacher) by [[CruelAndUnusualDeath hypnotizing them to swallow their own tongues]], leaving them to suffocate slowly to death and leaving no evidence. One victim, as well as [[SerialKillingsSpecificTarget the true target]], was [[spoiler: Lamarrís stepsister, who was chosen to [[{{greed}} receive Juliaís fatherís inheritance]], even though she was going to share it with Lamarr, who [[ItsAllAboutMe only cares about herself]] and revels in her intelligence]] throughout the process.
** ''The Hard Way'': [[spoiler: Edward Lane is the psychotic, ControlFreak head of an [[PrivateMilitaryContractors illegal mercenary operation]]]], and the real Big Bad of the story. In the past, he [[DomesticAbuser murdered his first wife]] to keep her from divorcing him (and demanding alimony), [[FrameUp framed one of his own soldiers for it]], used his mercenary operation to rob a country's national bank, and betrayed two soldiers of his own to a gang of African militias known to mutilate their prisoners. Also, he promised to use a potato peeler to [[GroinAttack rupture the hymen]] of his [[WouldHurtAChild then-five-year-old daughter]] if he so much as thinks his second wife, [[spoiler:Kate]], is being unfaithful. In the present, [[spoiler: Kate]], having been informed about what happened in the past by a relative of the betrayed soldier, arranges [[spoiler: a kidnapping with her paramour Taylor]], a TokenGoodTeammate in Lane's mercenary op, with the understanding that if she tries to legally divorce [[spoiler:Lane, Lane]] will just murder her. At the climax of the story, he rounds up [[spoiler: Kate]], his daughter [[spoiler: Jade, Taylor, and Taylor's]] brother to be executed, but when he notices [[spoiler: Kate is now pregnant with Taylor's baby]], he stops from killing her right away and instead ties her up on a barn table to manually abort her. Finally, when Reacher kills one of his goons, the goon is carrying a potato peeler.
** ''Worth Dying For'': Jacob Duncan runs a rural Nebraska farmer town like a tinpot dictator straight out of {{Ruritania}}, [[TheFamilyThatSlaysTogether along with]] his [[SiblingsInCrime brothers Jonas and Jasper]] and his [[OverlordJr son Seth]] (who also [[DomesticAbuser beats his wife]]). They run a trucking business whose service they force upon every family in town. Anyone who refuses or disagrees with them would find themselves beaten up and their properties ruined by a gang of ex-college football players on the Duncansí payroll. The Duncans use this business to smuggle [[spoiler: children and others from Asia to the heartland United States (and elsewhere) for sex trafficking. All of them are [[WouldHurtAChild pedophiles]] who murder every child they've grown bored with and make a shrine and photographic memento of every corpse (there are about 60 in all, 2 or 3 every year). Even Reacher, a former MP who's seen all kinds of corpses himself, explicitly admits he regrets having taken a look at the barn where the Duncans hold these shrines.]]
* FridgeBrilliance: As a general rule, Reacher is in peak physical condition and at the top of his game. Which doesn't make sense, because he's technically retired. But he's naturally built very strongly, spends his days wandering about the country, sees action every time a story comes up, and and sometimes this is actually explicitly noted as not being enough.
* FridgeHorror: At the end of ''Nothing To Lose'', Reacher and his partner blow up [[spoiler:the metal salvaging plant owned by the villain and his co-conspirators]] with their own bomb. It's poetic justice... until you consider that one of the side plots was [[spoiler:the presence of a highly carcinogenic chemical and how small amounts of it are leeching into the water supply]] not to mention the main plotline that [[spoiler:the villains were building a dirty bomb packed with depleted uranium]]. Congratulations, Reacher, for creating an environmental disaster site.
* MartyStu: Reacher can tend this way at times - it's particularly pronounced in those volumes of the series which are written in first person.
* {{Padding}}: Child can get pretty obsessive about cataloging every single facet of a character's appearance, or a room, regardless of anything important to the story.
* TearJerker: Reacher, when he finds out the cop and the witness he's befriended in ''61 Hours'' have been murdered. It's one of the preciously rare moments where Reacher genuinely feels despair.

!!The film:

* AlternativeCharacterInterpretation: The accused sniper. Did he [[SummonBiggerFish call Jack Reacher in ]]because EvenEvilHasStandards, as suggested by his partially guilt-driven breakdown upon waking up thinking he committed the crime? Or did he just want to ensure that his framers experienced TakingYouWithMe?
* HarsherInHindsight: The movie starts with TheDragon sniping five innocent bystanders. Then came Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, forcing the movie to delay its red carpet premiere.
* {{Narm}}: Might be the only time you'll hear someone in a modern film actually say, with no hint of irony, "I'm not a hero. I'm a drifter with nothing to lose."
* NightmareFuel: Werner Herzog as the Zec manages to be completely terrifying despite not really doing anything but talk for the whole film. All he has to do is be himself, the CrazyAwesome director who seriously considered an offer to kill his lead actor, made a film on an active volcano, and ate one of his shoes.
* OneSceneWonder: Robert Duvall as the one guy in the world who can converse on Reacher's level.
* TaintedByThePreview: Fans of the books were livid about Tom Cruise's casting, as he looks absolutely nothing like the Reacher of the books (most notably, Reacher is huge, and his size is often an important part of his characterization).
* WTHCastingAgency:
** As stated above Tom Cruise was cast as a protagonist known for being a towering mountain of muscle. Not exactly what fans of the books were expecting.
** ''Creator/WernerHerzog'' plays the BigBad? Though that's probably the IntendedAudienceReaction and more or less what the BigBad was going for.