by Chris Connor
The crime genre has so often produced both classics but also pale imitators and disappointments. Kate Winslet led Mare Of Easttown falls firmly into the former category and has received nothing but the highest of praise since its premiere 7 weeks ago. The series recounts the events of small town in Pennsylvania Easttown where a series of missing girls has led to discontent with the police in the community. The series predominantly focuses on the murder of 17 year old single mother Erin McMenamin, with a host of potential suspects.
The series acts as a fantastic showcase for Winslet as the gruff Mare, especially offering arguably some of the best work of her career, which is no mean feat for an actress with Bafta’s, Emmys and Oscars to her name already. Far from being solely the Kate Winslet show there is fine support across the board from Evan Peters as Colin Zabel who is assigned to work the case alongside Mare and brings a sense of comedy to proceedings as well as offsetting Mare’s more downbeat nature. There is further support from Guy Pearce in a smaller role as Richard a local professor who has a relationship with Mare and acclaimed turns from Julianne Nicholson and Jean Smart as Mare’s best friend and mother.
One of the main strengths of the show is without doubt its ability to seamlessly blend genres with moments of genuine humour especially from Mare’s relationship with her mother as well as Zabel’s relative inexperience compared to Mare’s. The sense of humour within the community helps to ease some of the more heavy themes of the show and perhaps allow the more suspenseful moments to hit harder. This is in many ways a mystery show with a series of twists and turns and reveal of Erin’s killer only coming in the final episode. There are some genuine shocks and moments of true suspense helping to elevate the show above many of its contemporaries and stand on its own in the crime genre.
The locations help to add a sense of atmosphere and really help to sell the sense of a local rural community. The show was mostly filmed in Pennsylvania and Philadelphian suburbs. Easttown itself and the impact it has had especially on Mare and her family plays an integral part of the core story of the show and in many ways it is a character and itself.
Mare Of Easttown is an exceptionally paced show executing its numerous twists and turns to perfection and with pitch perfect performances across its cast of both marquee names and newcomers. While Kate Winslet particularly excels and rightly should be in the mix for awards, there is hardly a weak link among the show’s cast. Tonally distinct with a blend of humour, suspense and filled with heart , this is not a re-tread of previous crime dramas. This is a show that will please fans of the genre and offer plenty of surprises.
Mare of Easttown is available on Apple TV!