|Mare of Easttown|
|Created by||Brad Ingelsby|
|Written by||Brad Ingelsby|
|Directed by||Craig Zobel|
|Music by||Lele Marchitelli|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||7|
|Production locations||Delaware County, Chester County, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania|
|Running time||58–76 minutes|
|Picture format||HDTV 1080i|
|Original release||April 18 –|
May 30, 2021
Mare of Easttown is an American crime drama limited series created by Brad Ingelsby that premiered on HBO on April 18, 2021. It stars Kate Winslet as a detective investigating a murder in a small town near Philadelphia. The ensemble cast includes Jean Smart, Guy Pearce, Julianne Nicholson, Angourie Rice, David Denman, Evan Peters, Sosie Bacon, and John Douglas Thompson. All seven episodes were directed by Craig Zobel.
In a suburb of Philadelphia, a detective named Mare Sheehan investigates the recent murder of a teenage mother while trying to keep her own life from falling apart. Mare is a local hero, having been the star of a high-school basketball championship game 25 years ago. She has also been unable to solve the case of another missing young girl for a year, leading many in the community to doubt her detective skills. Her personal troubles include a divorce, a son lost to suicide, and an ex-heroin addict former daughter-in-law battling for custody of Mare's grandson.
|No.||Title||Directed by ||Written by ||Original air date ||U.S. viewers|
|1||"Miss Lady Hawk Herself"||Craig Zobel||Brad Ingelsby||April 18, 2021||0.600|
|In the small community of Easttown, Pennsylvania, Detective Mare Sheehan is ordered to reopen the year-old investigation into the disappearance of young Katie Bailey when the girl's mother, Dawn, complains on the news about the unsolved case. Adding to Mare's frustrations, her ex-husband Frank is remarrying and has invited Mare's whole family—including her mother Helen, teenage daughter Siobhan, and 4-year-old grandson Drew—to his engagement party on the same night Mare and her high school basketball teammates are being honored on the 25th anniversary of their state championship win. At a bar, Mare meets Richard, an author who has recently moved to the area, and they end up having sex. Meanwhile, Erin McMenamin, a teenage single mother who lives with her drunken, abusive father Kenny, argues with her baby's father, Dylan, and his new girlfriend Brianna when they come to get the baby for a weekend visit. Erin is later lured into the woods and beaten by Brianna in front of Dylan and other teenagers. Mare's daughter Siobhan sees the fight and rescues Erin, who walks away into the woods alone. The next morning, Erin's dead body, nearly naked and with a large head wound, is found in a local creek.|
|2||"Fathers"||Craig Zobel||Brad Ingelsby||April 25, 2021||0.735|
|Mare responds to the call about Erin's body and notifies Kenny, who immediately blames Dylan. Against Mare's wishes, county detective Colin Zabel, known for recently solving a nearby cold case, is brought in to help investigate both Erin's murder and Katie Bailey's disappearance. Under interrogation, Dylan denies killing Erin, but omits important details of their last encounters. Cell phone video of Brianna's attack on Erin surfaces; Mare publicly arrests Brianna for assault at her family's restaurant. Brianna's upset father Tony begins stalking Mare. Mare and Frank worry that Drew might have inherited the mental illness that caused his father, their son Kevin, to commit suicide two years previously. Drew's mother Carrie, a recovering addict, seeks full custody of Drew. Mare accepts Richard's invitation to meet him at a reception in his honor, but their date goes poorly. Erin's best friend Jess tells Mare's friend Lori Ross that Erin confided in her that Dylan is not the real father of her baby; Jess thinks Frank, who briefly taught Erin in school, is the real father. A grieving Kenny abducts and shoots Dylan, leaving him for dead.|
|3||"Enter Number Two"||Craig Zobel||Brad Ingelsby||May 2, 2021||0.918|
|Kenny confesses to shooting Dylan, who has survived. Frank admits he helped Erin by buying her baby items, but denies any sexual relations or involvement in her murder. Mare gathers DNA samples from Frank and Dylan for paternity testing. The medical examiner reports that Erin's finger is missing from a gunshot and that there is no evidence of rape. The finger is later found in a local park, and Mare then finds a bullet, indicating that Erin was killed there and her body subsequently moved. Erin's phone records reveal that her last call was made after the fight with Brianna to Deacon Mark Burton, who claims that he only provided her with counsel. Mare is romantically pursued by Richard and also propositioned by a drunken Zabel, both of whom share stories of their own difficult divorces and family dysfunction. Unbeknownst to the police, Deacon Mark has Erin's bicycle, which he secretly throws into the river. Desperate to prevent Carrie from gaining custody of Drew, Mare plants heroin from the evidence room in Carrie's car; Chief Carter immediately discovers the truth and puts Mare on administrative leave, ordering her to get grief counseling.|
|4||"Poor Sisyphus"||Craig Zobel||Brad Ingelsby||May 9, 2021||1.049|
|Zabel becomes lead investigator on the case when Mare becomes suspended; however, she continues to investigate on her own. Paternity tests show that neither Frank nor Dylan fathered Erin's baby. Another girl, Missy Sager, goes missing. While searching Erin's dresser for clues, Mare finds a heart-shaped necklace engraved with a date. Zabel learns that Deacon Mark was transferred from his previous parish after allegations of inappropriate behavior with an underaged girl. Carrie gets Drew for the night, but begrudgingly returns him to Mare when he becomes homesick. Mare remembers Kevin and Carrie violently abusing her and robbing her for drug money. Siobhan struggles with her own feelings about Kevin and her family. She ends her relationship with Becca and begins a new relationship with Anne, only to have Becca witness her making out with Anne. Richard and Zabel both ask Mare for a date on the same night. Dawn Bailey receives a call claiming that her daughter Katie is alive and demanding $5,000 for her return. Missy Sager is imprisoned in a soundproof room in the attic of a tavern, and finds Katie Bailey alive and being held captive there.|
|5||"Illusions"||Craig Zobel||Brad Ingelsby||May 16, 2021||1.064|
|Mare learns that at a family reunion Erin and her father Kenny briefly stayed with Billy Ross, her cousin, in one of the cabins. Brianna grows suspicious of Dylan, who was absent from their bed for some time on the night of Erin's death. Dylan and his friend meet with Jess to burn Erin's hidden journals, but Jess secretly keeps a photograph from one of them. Mare goes on a date with Zabel, but it sours when she continuously brings up the case. Later, Mare and Zabel interview a girl who narrowly escaped kidnapping by a man in a blue van. Zabel admits to Mare that he did not really solve the case that made his career, but instead relied on files obtained from a private investigator. Using a partial license plate number provided by the girl, Mare and Zabel track down the kidnapper, Wayne Potts. Katie and Missy bang on a pipe to alert Mare and Zabel to their presence in Potts' attic, causing Potts to shoot Zabel in the head and wound Mare in the arm. An unarmed Mare flees through the house, eventually retrieving Zabel's gun and killing Potts as backup arrives.|
|6||"Sore Must Be the Storm"||Craig Zobel||Brad Ingelsby||May 23, 2021||1.210|
|Katie and Missy return home, but Potts had an alibi the night of Erin's murder. With Zabel dead, Chief Carter lifts Mare's suspension and puts her back in charge of Erin’s murder investigation. Brianna tells Mare about Dylan's unexplained absence the night of the murder, and Dylan invokes his right to a lawyer. Mare learns that Erin attended a Ross family reunion on the date engraved on her heart-shaped pendant. Pop Ross tells his son John that Billy came home covered in blood the night of Erin’s murder. John talks to Billy, who tearfully states that he killed Erin. John tells his wife Lori, adding that Billy and Erin had an incestuous relationship that began at the reunion and that Billy fathered Erin's child. John and Billy go on a last fishing trip together; their tackle box contains a gun. Despite John telling Lori to keep it a secret, Lori tells Mare about Billy. Mare calls Chief Carter to let him know she is driving to the fishing spot to arrest Billy for Erin’s murder. Jess comes to the police station with her mother to give Chief Carter the photograph she took from Erin's journal. Upon viewing the photo, Chief Carter orders his men to get Mare on the phone.|
|7||"Sacrament"||Craig Zobel||Brad Ingelsby||May 30, 2021||1.520|
|The photo shows Erin in bed next to a sleeping John. Jess tells Chief Carter that she and Dylan burned the journals to hide any compromising information and to keep Erin's baby in the care of Dylan’s parents. At the fishing spot, John points the gun at Billy intending to kill him and let him take the fall for Erin's murder, but Mare arrives just in time to subdue John. John confesses that he himself had the relationship with Erin and fathered her child, and that Erin called him away from Frank's engagement party to meet her at the park, where she threatened to shoot herself. John says he accidentally shot her while struggling for the gun, and that he and Billy moved her body to the woods to draw suspicion towards the other kids who were there that night. John admits he convinced Lori to lie and tell Mare that Billy killed Erin. John asks Lori to raise his and Erin's son. John and Billy go to jail, while Deacon Mark is released. Carrie, who is using drugs again, returns to rehab and drops her custody case, allowing Drew to remain with Mare. Glen Carroll tells Mare that his vintage handgun of the type identified as firing the fatal bullet recently disappeared from his shed, and was returned with two rounds missing. The only other person with access to the shed was John and Lori's 13-year-old son Ryan. Ryan confesses that he, not John, met Erin at the park, planning to use Glen's gun to scare her into staying away from his family. Ryan accidentally killed her, and his father John and uncle Billy covered it up to protect him. Ryan is sent to juvenile detention, causing Lori to angrily rebuff Mare. Later, Lori and Mare reconcile, and Mare finally brings herself to revisit the attic where Kevin died.|
In January 2019, it was reported that Brad Ingelsby, creator of the limited series, would write all episodes, with Gavin O'Connor directing. Executive producers include Ingelsby, O'Connor, Kate Winslet, Paul Lee, Mark Roybal, and Gordon Gray. In January 2020, it was announced that Craig Zobel would replace O'Connor as director due to scheduling issues and also serve as executive producer.
It was announced in January 2019 that Kate Winslet had been cast to star in the HBO miniseries that would be filmed on-location in suburban Philadelphia. In September 2019, the cast was rounded out with Julianne Nicholson, Jean Smart, Angourie Rice, Evan Peters, Cailee Spaeny and David Denman. John Douglas Thompson, Patrick Murney, Ben Miles, Katie Kreisler, James McArdle, Sosie Bacon, Joe Tippett, Neal Huff were cast in October 2019. In February 2021, it was announced that Guy Pearce joined the cast, replacing Miles in his role. In the same month, Mackenzie Lansing, Kate Arrington, Ruby Cruz, James Easter Bradford, Elisa Davis, Enid Graham, Justin Hurtt-Dunkley, Izzy King, Jack Mulhern, Anthony Norman, Drew Scheid, and Madeline Weinstein were cast in the limited series.
Filming of the show began in the fall of 2019 around suburban Philadelphia and was reported to still be in progress as of March 2020, with plans to continue through April. However, production was shut down early due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In early September 2020, a Philadelphia news station reported that filming was set to resume within the month.
Because the story is set in a fictionalized version of Easttown Township in Chester County, Pennsylvania, where series creator Brad Ingelsby was born (the show moves the location east to adjacent Delaware County), there were discussions about whether to use the "Delco accent", a version of Philadelphia English common in Delaware County. It was Winslet who insisted that the accent be used, despite being a particularly difficult accent to learn, because she felt the community itself was an important character in the story, and the authentic accent would help emphasize that. "There were a lot of things I could have really leant into that would have made it sound like I was doing something a bit gimmicky and I didn't want that to happen," Winslet said. "So I just had to drill it and drill it and drill it." She claimed that learning the accent was so difficult that it caused her to "throw things".
Filming locations include a train station and high-school gymnasium in Coatesville, Pennsylvania (a city in Chester County) and an American Legion hall in Ogden, a community in Delaware County. Inglesby has said that many of the filming locations were around Aston Township, in Delaware County. Winslet reportedly said that, while filming the show, she became obsessed with Wawa convenience stores. "Wawa was a big part of my life for well over a year," she said. Wawa stores were used as scouting locations for the production's costume designers.
The seven-episode limited series premiered on April 18, 2021, and concluded on May 30, 2021.
Mare of Easttown received critical acclaim. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the series has an approval rating of 94% based on 93 reviews, with an average rating of 8.02/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "Grounded by a career-best Kate Winslet, Mare of Easttown's ambitions at times exceed its reach, but its central mystery is supported by such strong sense of place and character it hardly matters." On Metacritic, the series has a weighted average score of 82 out of 100 based on reviews from 39 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".
Winslet has received universal praise for her performance from critics, including Lucy Mangan from The Guardian writing, "If you can have a defining performance this late in a career, this is surely Winslet's. She is absolutely wonderful." Alex Abad-Santos of Vox described Winslet's performance as "mesmerizing" adding, "she allows us to see the ugliness Mare is capable of and how obsessive, perhaps even abusive, she can be when she's threatened." The Wall Street Journal's Dorothy Rabinowitz noted "Winslet's eloquent command of the role is obvious from the outset". Ben Travers of IndieWire wrote, "Winslet's immersed performance could carry a far lesser work by itself", while adding that her East American dialect is "convincing and her physical work is flawless." Richard Roeper of The Chicago Sun-Times declared, "Winslet adds to a long list of magnificent, disappear-into-the-character performances...one of the most resonant performances of her career." Caryn James of BBC wrote "Winslet makes an unglamorous return to TV...and her fierce, ordinary heroine is gloriously real."
Inkoo Kang of The Hollywood Reporter gave it a mostly positive review describing it as "uneven, but masterfully suspenseful". The New York Times was dismissive, with television critic Mike Hale writing, "Some style in the direction or honest feeling in the screenplay could have mitigated the dreariness, but 'Mare' doesn't offer much beyond Ben Richardson's burnished cinematography." A plot twist in the final episode received lukewarm reviews from various outlets. For The A.V. Club, Joshua Alston wrote, "While [the final episode] is a triumphant conclusion to Mare’s emotional arc, as a conclusion to a mystery, it’s a mixed bag [...] the whole thing just feels arbitrary and confusing and lacks the emotional logic this show is normally so good at." In Decider, Sean T. Collins agreed but praised the leads' performances, writing, "The resolution of the mystery is a bit 'twists and fake-outs for twists’ and fake-outs’ sake.' But each new revelation came with an emotionally devastating payload for the characters, with Winslet and Nicholson in particular doing their best work of the series."
Critics and viewers have also praised the series and Winslet for convincingly replicating one of the varieties of the Philadelphia regional accent, an oddity in mainstream media. The specific accent is known as the "Delco accent", after Delaware County to the west of Philadelphia. The characters' accents, along with their fondness for Wawa, were parodied in a May 2021 Saturday Night Live sketch.
|1||"Miss Lady Hawk Herself"||April 18, 2021||0.08||0.600||0.06||0.575||0.14||1.175|
|2||"Fathers"||April 25, 2021||0.10||0.735||0.07||0.703||0.17||1.438|
|3||"Enter Number Two"||May 2, 2021||0.12||0.918||0.08||0.773||0.20||1.691|
|4||"Poor Sisyphus"||May 9, 2021||0.16||1.049||0.10||0.869||0.26||1.918|
|5||"Illusions"||May 16, 2021||0.15||1.064||0.09||0.922||0.24||1.986|
|6||"Sore Must Be The Storm"||May 23, 2021||0.22||1.210||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|7||"Sacrament"||May 30, 2021||0.27||1.520||TBD||TBD||TBD||TBD|
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