In 2014, HBO premiered the first season of True Detective, starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. It was when A-listers didn’t dare to touch the small screens, but Nic Pizzolatto’s True Detective made history. Season 1 is not only the most acclaimed crime series but also much loved by fans all around the world. With the miniseries, Mare of Easttown, HBO went a step further, by casting Kate Winslet in the lead role.
Following a similar premise, a serial killer is on the loose and Kate Winslet, as Detective Mare Sheehan, investigates a missing girl in Easttown, Pennsylvania. However, the narrative doesn’t span over more than a year and does not follow a wide timeline-like True Detective. It doesn’t involve itself much into the existential philosophy of “Rust” Cohle and captures titillating chunks of humour to give some respite to its audience.
The story begins with detective Mare Sheehan (Kate Winslet) balancing between her personal and professional life. Her husband is marrying another woman, and she lives with her mother, Helen Fahey and daughter, Siobhan. Mare nurses her grandchild, Drew, the son of his late son, Kevin, who killed himself two years ago. Well, in short, her personal life is in chaos.
Mare is ordered to reopen a year-old case of a missing young girl named Katie Bailey at work. Katie’s mother has been extensively giving interviews to the media and pleading to find her missing daughter. Therefore, the department is pressured from above.
At a glance, Easttown seems like a small community in the suburbs of Philadelphia. But as the story reveals the complicated and dark life of its characters, the drama kicks in. A teenage single mother, Erin McMenamin, is found dead in the local creek, with her body naked and head savagely wounded. As Mare investigates the case of a missing girl, Katie and a dead girl, Erin, the narrative peeps into the secretive life of its character.
The notable layer in Brad Ingelsby’s series is that even with a serious premise, he doesn’t let go of the humour entirely. And they are not trying to be funny; they are funny. It is a remarkable writing style, which incorporates both humour and substance without spoiling the seriousness of the drama.
Kate Winslet, as always, plays her part with zeal and dedication. Her performance gives a Midas touch to the entire series. Other than her, it is Jean Smart, playing her mother, who makes you equally inquisitive. The other characters have a part to play but could easily be forgotten. The story focuses mostly on Mare. Guy Pearce also plays a pivotal role, but to my surprise, his presence is kept extremely discreet. He hardly shows on screen and leaves no particular impact throughout. It could have been anyone and wouldn’t have made a difference.
As the story moves forward, new revelations and suspects keep the drama intact. I didn’t find any dull moments. The series becomes extremely addictive after it gains momentum. It was sheer bad luck that one had to wait for a week for the next episode. Nevertheless, the miniseries will conclude on May 30, 2021, and all seven episodes (of one hour each) will be available to binge.
If you have seen True Detective and you are an ardent follower of riveting crime drama, then at no cost miss this arresting miniseries. Again, Kate Winslet will woo you through her flawed character and endearing performance.
Mare of Easttown is a 2021 Crime Mini-Series created by Brad Ingelsby.