Mare of Easttown: Few genres are as delightful to watch as the cop. The investigation stories, based on the collection of clues and discoveries that are revealed little by little, are usually engaging because they make room for the reader (or spectator, in the case of films and series) to participate in the plot. Somehow, he is invited to play detective and come up with the answer (the famous whodunnit, or “who killed”?) before it is presented by the narrative.
It also happens that the police are one of the oldest genres we know – and, consequently, one of the most explored. Classic authors such as Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, Raymond Chandler, among many others, fed us with works and stories that got us used to playing this type of game. Therefore, every time someone enters this field, there is a challenge: how to do something new on top of a genre that has already been explored so many times?
HBO Max’s acclaimed miniseries Mare of Easttown finds its quality at precisely this point: it’s a crime series, but the crime itself isn’t the most important thing here. It is perhaps just the motto to outline a character study around the thought-provoking Mare Sheehan, a character masterfully played by Kate Winslet, winner of the Emmy for this role.
The plot of Mare of Easttown has something banal about it. In a small town, one of those that everyone knows, in the state of Pennsylvania, in the United States, a policewoman needs to investigate the death of a young single mother, who is found in a forest, half naked, apparently dead by strangulation. Erin (Cailee Spaney), the murdered girl, who keeps appearing in flashback, is another everyday resident of a city of everyday people, and has had a life worthy of pity. Her death seems unimportant to a lot of people, but Mare has a sense of obligation to everyone in town. The clues to her murder are many: the girl had a violent father, kept a secret boyfriend online, and was bullied by her son’s father’s current girlfriend. There are suspects everywhere, and no one seems willing to reveal anything.
As I mentioned at the beginning of the text, the policeman is a genre that is constantly revisited – that’s why you can notice several “homages” in the story told in Mare of Easttown. The gloomy atmosphere of the city, with a heavy air due to the secrets hidden inside the houses, is a little reminiscent of Twin Peaks, an iconic miniseries directed by David Lynch. The “caipiresque” air, placing the interior as a dangerous and always tense place, refers a little to the story told in Ozark, by Netflix, in which a family has to deal with debts with a drug cartel.