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WARNING: SPOILERS ahead for Ripley.

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Summary

  • Changes in Ripley show’s ending make Tom a more insidious character, acquiring wealth through manipulation.
  • Locations like Mongibello in the series differ from the book, adding unique setting details for viewers.
  • The dynamic between Marge and Dickie varies, affecting their chemistry and interactions throughout the series.

The critically acclaimed Netflix series Ripley has many differences from the novel it’s based on. Steven Zallian’s serialized adaptation of The Talented Mr. Ripley, a popular 1955 thriller novel written by Patricia Highsmith, has gained a lot of traction on Netflix since its April 4, 2024 release. Andrew Scott (All of Us Strangers) leads Ripley’s cast as the unnerving and power-hungry Tom Ripley, a calculated con artist who gets the opportunity of a lifetime. Throughout Ripley, Tom will stop at nothing, not even cold-blooded murder, to establish himself as a man of resources, status, and immense wealth.

Zaillian, the Academy Award-winning screenwriter of Schindler’s List, made many poignant changes from the book while still maintaining the unsettling spirit of Highsmith’s original text. One of the biggest alterations comes in Ripley’s ending and the means by which Tom eventually acquires all of Dickie’s wealth, essentially insidiously becoming him like a parasite. The Talented Mr. Ripley is the first of 5 “Ripley” books written by Highsmith, several of which have also been adapted for the screen. While there is currently no update on the status of a Ripley season 2 at Netflix, there is certainly much more source material to work from.

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14 Herbert Greenleaf Initially Finds Tom At A Bar

Dickie’s dad didn’t hire a private investigator to find him

Andrew Scott as Tom Ripley sitting at a bar in Ripley series

In the novel, Herbert Greenleaf approaches Tom himself, offers to buy him a drink, and eventually convinces him to consider the offer by inviting him over for dinner.

At the start of The Talented Mr. Ripley novel, Tom realizes that someone is following him, so he leaves the bar he’s at and heads to another. It’s there where he realizes that Herbert Greenleaf has been trying to track him down in order to ask him about going to Italy to retrieve his son. In the series, Mr. Greenleaf hires a private investigator who finds Tom and tells him he’s a hard man to find. In the novel, Herbert Greenleaf approaches Tom himself, offers to buy him a drink, and eventually convinces him to consider the offer by inviting him over for dinner.

13 Dickie’s House Is In Mongibello, Italy, Not Atrani

The Talented Mr. Ripley movie is also in Mongibello

Dakota Fanning, Johnny Flynn, Andrew Scott sit around a table in Ripley series

Dickie and Marge are also located in Mongibello in the 1999 film adaptation of The Talented Mr. Ripley.

In The Talented Mr. Ripley novel, Dickie resides in Mongibello, a gorgeous coastal town in Italy just south of Naples. Dickie and Marge are also located in Mongibello in the 1999 film adaptation of The Talented Mr. Ripley. In the new Netflix series, Dickie and Marge are staying in Atrani, which is similarly located near Mongibello on Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Both Atrani and Mongibello are depicted as quaint and remote villages in the novel and series, while Mongibello in the 1999 film adaptation is much more crowded, particularly at the beach.

12 Marge & Dickie Are Not Engaged In The Book

They aren’t even in an established relationship

Dakota Johnson and Johnny Flynn stare at each other in Ripley series

In the novel, Tom describes Marge as someone who Dickie is clearly disinterested in, although that’s certainly not the case in the series.

A major difference in the dynamic between Marge and Dickie in the novel is that they are not engaged. In fact, they aren’t even in an established relationship in the book, which drastically changes their entire chemistry. In the novel, Tom describes Marge as someone who Dickie is clearly disinterested in, although that’s certainly not the case in the series. The fact that Marge and Dickie are not engaged or officially together in the novel makes it much more likely that Marge would accept Tom’s story that he wanted to get away and move to Rome without her.

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11 Dickie Liked The Bathrobe Tom Brings Him

Dickie’s dislike of it in the series actually becomes a clue

Andrew Scott in Ripley

The robe provides a clue for Freddie in Ripley episode 4 that Tom has been staying with Dickie in Rome since Freddie knew that Dickie would never wear it.

Tom brought Dickie a bathrobe from his mother in both the novel and the series, but Dickie actually liked the bathrobe in the book. This is an interesting change in the series because it provides a clue for Freddie Miles in Ripley episode 4 that Tom has been staying with Dickie in Rome since Freddie knew that Dickie would never wear a bathrobe like that. The robe does not become a big clue for Freddie in the book, which shows a clever addition that Zaillian made in order to make Freddie more suspicious of Tom. It also demonstrates an air of premeditation since Tom likes the robe and ends up wearing it after killing Dickie.

10 Marge Is Much More Friendly To Tom At First

She is instantly suspicious of him in the series

Dakota Fanning as Marge Sherwood in Ripley (2024)

In the series, Marge can tell that something is immediately off with Tom, while in the book, it takes a while for her to start treating him differently.

Unlike in the series, Marge is initially very friendly and unsuspicious of Tom when they first meet on the beach in Atrani. This eventually changes once she starts to see Tom for who he really is and tries to convince Dickie that Tom is taking advantage of him. However, in the series, Marge can tell that something is immediately off with Tom, while in the book, it takes a while for her to start treating him differently. Marge becomes more jealous of all the time that Tom is spending with Dickie in the novel, as the two actually seem like pretty good friends up until San Remo.

9 Freddie Miles Is Very Different In The Book

He has red hair, is overweight, and is not initially suspicious of Tom

Eliot Sumner in Ripley

In the film, Freddie was played by the incomparable Philip Seymour Hoffman, who actually portrayed a closer rendition of the character described in the novel.

Freddie Miles is characterized quite differently in the novel, the series, and even the 1999 film. In the film, Freddie was played by the incomparable Philip Seymour Hoffman, who actually portrayed a closer rendition of the character described in the novel. The novel describes Freddie as red-headed and overweight, which is very different from the Freddie seen in the Netflix series. Both come from wealth and are supposedly playwrights, which marks two big similarities. In the book, Freddie runs into Dickie in Naples and doesn’t say anything at all to Tom, but in the series, Freddie essentially starts investigating him.

8 Reeves Minot Does Not Appear In The Book

He becomes a character in Ripley books 2 & 3

John Malkovich's character in Ripley episode 8

Reeves Minot was invented for the second, third, and fourth “Ripley” novels written by Highsmith titled Ripley Under Ground,Ripley’s Game, and The Boy Who Followed Ripley.

Reeves Minot, played by John Malkovich in Ripley episode 8, is not a character in The Talented Mr. Ripley novel. Reeves Minot was invented for the second, third, and fourth “Ripley” novels written by Highsmith titled Ripley Under Ground,Ripley’s Game, and The Boy Who Followed Ripley. Reeves ends up playing a major part in Ripley’s ending after he meets Tom at a party in Venice and recognizes him as a fellow “art dealer”. Reeves helps Tom successfully take on a new identity in England and smuggle Dickie’s Picasso out of Italy, which does not happen in the book.

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7 Tom Didn’t Revise Marge’s Novel “My Atrani”

Tom doesn’t even read it in the book

Marge in Venice in Ripley episode 8

Marge does write a novel in The Talented Mr. Ripley book, but Tom is not involved in its creation as he is in the series.

Marge does write a novel in The Talented Mr. Ripley book, but Tom is not involved in its creation as he is in the series. Tom is seen rewriting several parts of Marge’s novel, which is how he ends up getting her to like him or at least earning some of her respect in the series. It also demonstrates his skill and intelligence in a more honest way. In the book, Tom doesn’t even care to read her novel and often criticizes Marge for being a fake author. Since the novel takes place in Mongibello, Marge’s novel is also not called “My Atrani” as it is in the series.

6 Tom Doesn’t Bring Carlo To Dickies House

Carlo has a much bigger role in the series

Ripley

Dickie is equally stunned and unnerved by Tom’s proposition, although he never has to face “Carlo” in the book.

Carlo is a much bigger character in the series than he is in the book, in which he isn’t given a specific name. Tom does bring a proposition to Dickie from an Italian thief like he does in the series, but Carlo is not established as a standalone character in the book. Tom does not invite the Italian thief over to Dickie’s house in the book. The scheme is also revealed in the book to be a drug smuggling operation from Italy to France using coffins with actual dead people in them. Dickie is equally stunned and unnerved by Tom’s proposition, although he never has to face “Carlo” in the book.

5 Tom & Dickie Didn’t Talk Before He Killed Him In San Remo

Tom sensed that Dickie was sick of him & had no conversation beforehand

Johnny Flynn as Dickie Greenleaf in Ripley

In the novel, there is no need for Tom to bring up the subject on the boat and he gets straight to the point by killing Dickie without saying a word.

Tom and Dickie have a clear conversation on the boat in San Remo in which Dickie all but directly says that their time together has come to an end. In the novel, Tom and Dickie make a detour to Cannes before they settle down in San Remo, which allows Dickie more time to pick up on the situation at hand. Tom concludes through Dickie’s body language and lack of interest in him that Tom is trying to get rid of him but is too polite to just come out and say it. This is why, in the novel, there is no need for Tom to bring up the subject on the boat and he gets straight to the point by killing Dickie without saying a word.

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4 Tom & Dickie go to Cannes before San Remo

Tom & Dickie stay in Italy during their trip in the series

Ripley disguised as George McAlpin in Ripley

he scene when Tom applauds the acrobatic men on the beach takes place in San Remo in the series but actually happens in Cannes in the book.

Tom tries to stretch out his trip with Dickie to San Remo by spontaneously suggesting they hop on a train to Cannes in the book. Dickie, indifferent to the entire experience, obliges and they spend a day in Cannes where Tom takes in the scenery for the first time. The scene when Tom applauds the acrobatic men on the beach takes place in San Remo in the series but actually happens in Cannes in the book. They then check into their hotel in San Remo and take a fateful trip out on the boat.

3 Tom Briefly Goes Off To Paris After Killing Dickie

Tom flees to Rome in the series

The passport in Ripley

Tom doesn’t do much in Paris except meet some Americans and goes to a social outing claiming to be Dickie Greenleaf.

Tom also visits France on a second occasion in the novel immediately after killing Dickie in San Remo. Tom starts to impersonate Dickie in Paris in the book whereas in the series, Tom heads straight to Rome after gathering Dickie’s things and speaking to Marge in San Remo. Tom doesn’t do much in Paris except meet some Americans and goes to a social outing claiming to be Dickie Greenleaf. It’s as if he had started to get comfortable with the idea that he could actually be Dickie while in Paris and he took that confidence back with him to Italy.

2 Tom Has The Phone Installed In The Rome Apartment

The phone was preinstalled in the series

Inspector Ravini in Ripley

Tom is overall much less calculated in the book and seems more naive and fantastical than brilliantly cold as he is in the series.

The phone in Tom’s or “Dickie’s” apartment in Rome came preinstalled in the series and ended up being how Freddie was able to track him down. In the book, Tom actually requested that the phone be installed in the apartment, which gives the significance of the phone a whole new meaning. Tom is overall much less calculated in the book and seems more naive and fantastical than brilliantly cold as he is in the series. The phone in the Rome apartment is a great example of how Tom isn’t as premeditated in the book as he is in the series.

1 Tom Forged Dickie’s Will To Obtain His Trust Fund

Tom steals everything from Dickie in series

The biggest difference between the novel and the book is how Tom ends up acquiring Dickie’s wealth in the end.

Perhaps the biggest difference between the novel and the book is how Tom ends up acquiring Dickie’s wealth in the end. In the novel, Tom successfully forges Dickie’s will, which is how he is able to acquire Dickie’s trust fund. In the series, Tom is able to figure out how to transfer nearly all of Dickie’s possessions to his name without being detected, including the Picasso. Tom’s admiration for fine art is also emphasized in this way in Ripley while the book is not as interested in that area of his character.

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Netflix Ripley TV Show Poster Showing Andrew Scott Behind Layered Glass

Ripley

Based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith, Ripley is a drama-thriller written and created by Steven Zaillian. Set in the 1960s, the series follows Tom Ripley, who is hired to attempt to coax a wealthy man’s son to come home – but this job is just the first part of a lengthy and dangerous complex web of lies.

Cast
Andrew Scott , Johnny Flynn , Dakota Fanning , Maurizio Lombardi , Pasquale Esposito

Release Date
April 4, 2024

Seasons
1

Writers
Steven Zaillian

Directors
Steven Zaillian

Showrunner
Steven Zaillian

Creator(s)
Steven Zaillian , Patricia Highsmith



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