Reacher's Showrunner Knew Willa Fitzgerald Was The Perfect Roscoe At First Sight

There's a reason Jack Reacher author Lee Child is devastated about Roscoe Conklin not returning for season 2 of Amazon's "Reacher." Throughout season 1 of the hit streaming series, Willa Fitzgerald's Roscoe becomes more than she ever was in the pages of "Killing Floor" — the book on which the first run of "Reacher" episodes is based. While the Margrave, GA police officer is a great addition to the novel, her streaming counterpart is more fleshed out, with her own sub-plots and layered characterization.

But with "Reacher" following the books, in the sense that each new season will see the titular ex-Army police officer in a new setting, embroiled in a fresh conspiracy of some sort, there's very little room for returning characters. Which means, as showrunner Nick Santora has confirmed, Roscoe won't be coming back when Jack Reacher returns for a second season. That said, with fans playing a big role in the way Jack Reacher's on-screen career has panned out, there's always the possibility that Santora and co. will bring back Fitzgerald's character in the future — especially since Child, who serves as Executive Producer on the series, was so upset to see her go.

For now, we can at least reminisce about the stellar job Fitzgerald did in the role. And according to Santora, the actress, who will soon appear in Netflix's "The Fall of the House of Usher," seemed to have the part down before she'd even got the job.

'Willa just jumped off the screen'

When Alan Ritchson auditioned for the role of Jack Reacher, he was initially turned down by Amazon, before eventually being re-considered and ultimately cast. As Nick Santora told /Film, "Alan really had to earn this job, and he did through talent and hard work and determination. And at the end of the day, everyone just felt that all the pieces that were needed to make up Reacher were embodied in this one person." But when it came to casting Roscoe, Willa Fitzgerald had a comparatively easy time.

Santora spoke to Collider about the process of casting the Margrave PD officer who eventually becomes a love interest for Reacher. And it seems the showrunner was immediately taken with the actress. He said:

"It was hard on paper, and then very easy when we saw Willa's audition. As soon as I saw Willa, I was pretty positive that she was gonna be Roscoe. I wanna stress that other actors that auditioned for the role were incredible, so to win the role, you had to really, really be perfect for it. Willa just jumped off the screen, and you saw the chemistry with Alan [Ritchson]. It was wonderful."

Santora's intuitions turned out to be right, as Fitzgerald handled herself brilliantly opposite the imposing Ritchson. That's evidenced by the fact Lee Child said he, "was almost in tears," at the thought Roscoe wouldn't be returning, adding he wished he'd called the show "Roscoe," just so, "we could have had more."

Santora cared about Roscoe

Willa Fitzgerald faced a tough challenge playing Roscoe in the sense that her character had to be so many things in one. She and Reacher eventually become romantically linked, but Roscoe is very much a character in her own right, and alongside being Reacher's love interest and helping him investigate his brother's killing, she has to contend with the way in which her approach to police work differs from captain Oscar Finlay's. That required Fitzgerald to approach the role with some nuance, which undeniably comes across on-screen. And for the actress, it helped greatly to have Nick Santora — the man who'd immediately championed her as the woman for the job — backing her up.

Fitzgerald told Looper, the showrunner "deeply cares" about the characters in "Reacher," adding that he's "the best collaborator you could ask for when it comes to having someone who is so prepared, and [he's] so open for collaboration." Ultimately, the actress found that her and Santora's shared love for Roscoe as a character helped her performance greatly. Which just makes it even more of a shame that we're unlikely to see Roscoe again in "Reacher" season 2. Let's hope that changes with future seasons.