Kate Winslet comes to the small screen in new drama Mare Of Easttown
SKY ATLANTIC/NOW, THURSDAY 22 APRIL, 9PM
You can see why Kate Winslet was attracted to the role of Mare Sheehan, the small-town Pennsylvania detective at the centre of this bleak but brilliant new seven-part drama – she’s got a lot going on in her life. She was a high-school basketball champion, but one of her teammates blames her for failing to solve the disappearance of her daughter one year previously. She’s also dealing with recent trauma involving the death of her son, all while living with her nosy mother, permanently pissed-off teenage daughter and her little grandson, whose mum is about to challenge her for custody. And now she’s got a distressing new murder case on her hands…
While the case at the centre of the series is hugely intriguing, the drama takes its time to explore the community and the characters in it, so it feels as much of an intense examination of family and trauma as it is a whodunnit. This is one of those small towns where everyone knows everyone else, and where families are dysfunctional and spilling over with dark secrets.
The deliberate, steady pace allows the creators, showrunner Brad Ingelsby (The Way Back) and director Craig Zobel (Westworld), to build an entirely convincing world, but there are also jolting surprises throughout.
Luckily, there are lighter moments to offset the grittiness of the whole saga. Mare gets a love interest in the form of a charismatic writer, played by Guy Pearce, who falls for her after they meet by chance in a bar. And while Mare is reluctant to get involved with any man considering everything going on in her life, their romance is refreshingly believable. Then there’s Mare’s new detective partner, played by Evan Peters, who at last gets to play a (seemingly) nice, normal dude after all those killers and weirdos he’s played in American Horror Story and myriad other Ryan Murphy shows. Of course, Mare resents him, but watching him wear her down by the sheer force of his decency is one of the series’ unexpected pleasures, and one of the many reasons to invest your time in this excellent drama.