In Easttown, Kate Winslet couldn’t be further from that swooning character in everyone’s favourite disaster movie. Here she’s a small-town cop, burdened by life and driven by duty. But she still needs help staying afloat…
And god, is she good. She’s Mare, a police officer in the small Pennsylvania community where she was brought up. She’s visibly beat up after years acting as both law enforcement and a social worker in her impoverished neighbourhood, where drugs and crime are built in. She doesn’t have an easy personal life, either. For reasons that at first go unexplained, she’s raising her grandson in the same house her sassy mother and her moody teenage daughter live. And all of them are haunted by the eerie presence of a past, mutual trauma. So, like the town, she seems defeated.
But unfortunately she’s got no choice but to pull her socks up, because there’s a crime to solve – after a local party in the woods, a young single mother is found dead, whilst the daughter of one of Mare’s high school friends is also missing.
Mare of Easttown has a bit of The Killing about it, with that same unrelenting bleakness, with grey skies and characters visibly bearing the weight of life’s trials. However, it differs in that the crime isn’t really the centre of the story. More than anything, this is the story of a town and its struggles, and how one woman, known mostly for her high school basketball career, exists within this troubled community.
It’s a bit of a slow burner at first, but The Telegraph’s Anita Singh says “it’s worth persevering.” She says the “sense of place is Mare of Easttown’s strongest suit. Writer Brad Ingelsby is a Pennsylvania native, and has captured the claustrophobia of a blue collar, down-on-its-luck neighbourhood.” And Lucy Mangan of The Guardian loves it, giving the series five stars and saying “everything and everyone is real and you care about every tiny part. Wonderful.” In this way, the Independent’s Ed Cumming notes that the show feels “self-consciously novelistic,” whilst Vulture’s Jen Chaney says “one of Mare of Easttowns’s greatest assets is its thorough attention to detail.”
First shown April 2021. You can watch the trailer here: