HBO has been killing it lately with their mini-series they’ve been putting out: Watchmen, The Undoing, The Outsider, and I Know This Much is True have all been terrific. The latest mini-series that is getting a lot of critical acclaim and viewer appreciation is Marre of Easttown. It was originally set in the fictionalized Easttown Township in Chester County, Pennsylvania, but the showrunners moved it to Delaware County to avoid any confusion. Much has been said about the accents used in the series. Even Saturday Night Live parodied it on a sketch a couple of weeks ago.
Mare Sheehan (Kate Winslet) is a police investigator. She has to try to solve a murder of a teen girl while still involved in a previous case about the disappearance of another teenager. She also has some personal issues she’s dealing with that take up a lot of her time. Her family and friends are quite the handful and she has a hard time dealing with them as well.
The story in this mini-series is a very complicated one with many layers to it. There are a lot of suspects in this case that keep it going in multiple directions. Mare has her hands full with her boss and all the leads she is trying to follow. Added to that is a new partner, Detective Colin Zabel (Evan Peters) she has to work with. He’s pretty helpful, but Mare doesn’t do a lot to help herself. She tends to put her foot in the proverbial crap more often than not.
As if Mare doesn’t have enough on her plate with her job, new partner, her family, and townspeople harassing her about both of her cases she is working on, she developed a relationship with an author who comes to town. Richard Ryan (Guy Pearce) is a friendly man towards Mare, but she has her guard up in regards to him because she just doesn’t trust anybody. He might actually be the nice guy she needs in her life. It can be a kind of comfort for her if she lets it happen. She just needs to trust herself in these situations.
The writing and direction are the strong points of this series. Director Craig Zobel and series creator Brad Inglesby have crafted a nuanced and in-depth character study. This town has a lot of problems and its citizens need to examine themselves as townsfolk. Zobel and Inglesby help show the character flaws in the people and the levels of depravity some of these people will go to. The levels these people stoop to in this series are pretty bad.
Kate Winslet has won an Academy Award for Lead Actress with six other nominations on her resume. She’s won a Primetime Emmy Award as well. She’s one of the best actresses alive today. She is incredible in this series and will probably get another Emmy nomination. That being said, some other actors and actresses shine in this series. Jean Smart is Mare’s wisecracking mother. John Douglas Carter stars as Chief Carter who seems like he’s in over his head in all of this mess. He’s sure got Mare pegged though. James McCardle is a Deacon who might be a suspect. And Julianne Nicholson and Joe Tippett are husband and wife Lori and John Ross. These two are both terrific in the series. There are a lot of younger actors as well that do a great job.
Mare of Easttown is a very good series with a very good acting performance from its title character. It’s sure to garner Winslet another Emmy nomination. The rest of the cast is great as well. The story is the heart of the show. It’s very engaging and draws the viewer in from episode to episode. It doesn’t drag on too much. The area surrounding where this series takes place is like a character in the show. It’s part of what this show is all about. Zobel, Inglesby, and HBO have a winner on their hands. You know it hit a nerve when SNL spoofs it.
4 1/2 Stars
Dan Skip Allen
Founder/EIC disappointment media