Mare of Easttown

Easttown is a small working class town in Pennsylvania and there’s a chill in the air when we stumble onto it in a new US miniseries on Foxtel / Binge, Mare of Easttown.

Mare is Detective Mare Sheehan (Kate Winslet), whose recent case around the disappearance of a teenage girl is a thorn in her side. The girl’s mother and local townsfolk are angry the local police station has failed to bring her home, while Chief Carter (John Douglas Thompson) is under pressure from his department.

But Mare has a lot going on in her life, including the impending wedding of her ex-husband Frank (David Denman), the health of her grandchild and a looming custody battle, and a belligerent mother (Jean Smart) making home life worse than it already is.

Thankfully she meets visiting novelist Richard (Guy Pearce) one night at a bar who sees beyond her abrasive personality (aka he’s just horny) and the two have casual sex -with him keen to reconnect.

All of that is upended when a friend of Mare’s teen daughter Siobhan (Angourie Rice) winds up dead in a river, but Mare will be further challenged by an out-of-town Detective Colin Zabel (Evan Peters).

Writer Brad Ingelsby (The Way Back, Run All Night, American Woman) has jam-packed his script with a plethora of Easttown locals, which is at times challenging for viewers. Episode One is a slow burn, despite busily setting up its characters and necessary red herrings.

But Kate Winslet is so grounded as the detective with something to prove it doesn’t overshadow the key arcs. She reunites with Guy Pearce -both were in 2011’s Mildred Pierce– who underplays his role with strong, silent overtures… this surely cannot last.

Evan Peters, all grown up, is flexing his maturity while another Aussie Angourie Rice (Mako: Island of Secrets, Black Mirror) demonstrates why she is a rising star.

The series also features the late Phyllis Somerville in her final role (the series carries a dedication).

All 7 episodes are written by Ingelsby and Craig Zobel, which gives this plenty of consistency. There’s not a great deal of sunshine to be found here but with Winslet in charge you’re always on solid ground.

Mare of Easttown airs 12pm Monday on FOX Showcase / Binge.

4 Comments:

  1. An awful lot of police cliches crammed into one episode so far. A middle aged, divorced, alcoholic, cynical and stubborn detective who failed to solve the case of the daughter of a high school class mate who went missing a year ago, helped by a green rookie who almost faints at the sight of blood. They pick up people in bars and then leave. Their daughter won’t listen to them, their ex is re marrying and starting a new family. High school bullying online, two teenage mothers, a theiving opium addict, a peeping tom and a girls body dumped in a creek.

    The only point of difference is Kate Winslet playing the detective.

    • Anyone who watches a lot of Nordic Noir Police dramas will recognise the role Kate is playing, the neurotic driven woman cop with personality and family issues, the conflict between the job and the emotional imposition created by colleagues , the list goes on and looks somewhat repetitive, but these shows are popular if done well, like The True Detective.
      I have found episode one of Mare of Easttown a bit too self absorbed and slow, my finger hit the fast forward button a couple of times, Guy Pierce didn’t quite fit into his role either, in my opinion, but it is episode one.

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