Mare Sheehan is a detective sergeant in Easttown, Pennsylvania and is investigating a missing girl for the last one year without any particular leads. In a small and close-knit community like Easttown it is a very difficult position to be in and at least a few in the community has started to doubt her prowess as a detective. Moreover, her personal life is in shambles; she is a divorced mother who is still recovering from her son’s suicide, a grandmother who fights for the custody of her grandchild, and someone who is fighting numerous other conflicts and tensions within herself. To make matters worst, a brutal homicide of a girl shooks Easttown. Amidst growing suspicion of a probable link between the murder and the year old disappearance of the other girl, Mare has to solve the case while confronting her own personal problems.
Directed by Craig Zobel, Mare of Easttown is as much a compelling family drama as a suspenseful murder mystery. Both the whodunit part and the family drama is interwoven so effectively into the narrative that we want Mare’s never ending family problems to end the same way as we want the killer to be found out. The character driven narrative makes it riveting from start to finish without a dull moment. Easttown is home for Mare in every sense as her life itself is embedded and interconnected with the people in the community. Her relationship with many in the community plays an important role in the narrative and she has to face a lot of them in her investigation. How she deals with these situations says a lot about her unapologetic nature when it comes to duty. Each of the characters and their relationship with Mare are well established as well. Mare’s best friend Lori for example is an important figure in her life and has helped her during every tough situations.
Mare of Easttown is created and written by Brad Ingelsby who has written Ben Affleck starrer basketball movie, The way Back most recently. Mare also has a bit of history with basketball during her high school days and is called ‘Lady Hawk’ for her exploits as a player in a championship 25 years ago and is a local hero of sorts because of that. Like the highschool basketball team reunion, the script has so many of those very ‘normal’ situations which adds so much life into the story. Mare shopping for a tank for her grandson’s turtle and selecting the cheapest available one, the confusion between Mare and mother regarding her attire when going on a date, conversation about god with her priest-cousin among many other family conversations around that dining table, are few of those moments I recollect.
Kane Winslet, who gives a powerful performance as Mare Sheehan, is the heart and soul of the series. She shines in a character which has lots of layers; She is a mother, grand mother, a lover and she has to see her Ex-husband living with a new family just opposite her house, confront her inner sorrow of losing her son, fight for the possession of her grandson. More importantly, she has to be stubborn enough to unravel the mystery behind the homicide. The healing sessions Mare goes through contribute to some of the moving moments of the series in terms of acting. It is probably the role of a lifetime which needed different shades of expressions and meanings and boy hasn’t Kate grabbed it with both hands!!
Juliane Nicholson gives an affecting display as Mare’s closest friend Lori. Along with them we have an array of supporting actors who has delivered stunning feats; be it Jean Smart as Mare’s mother, Angourie Rice as Mare’s daughter Siobhan, Evan Peters as detective Colin Zabel, David Denman as Mare’s ex-husband Frank, have all given powerful performances along with others in the cast.
Mare of Easttown becomes effective not only because it keeps the suspense till the last episode but also because of the fitting finale it gets. A highly satisfying completion for both the investigation and Mare’s personal nightmares mean the series becomes one of the most binge-worthy series on OTT platform at present, another winner from HBO!