Given the rise and rise of prestige television in recent years it was only a matter of time before some truly big guns made forays into acting for the small screen. Following in the footsteps of Matthew McConaughey in True Detective, and Anna Friel in Marcella, Kate Winslet’s new HBO show Mare Of Easttown is yet another TV series that takes a lot of joy in being extremely bleak.
The plot of Mare Of Easttown, which is refreshingly not made entirely obvious by its trailer, is full of the usual kind of award-bait we’d see in the lead up to Oscars season. Here, it happens in television format. A difficult American accent performed by an English actor? Check. A disillusioned protagonist struggling under the weight of keeping a community together? Check. A healthy dose of familial trauma by way of divorces, addiction, the loss of a child and more? Check, check, check.
Watch: Mare Of Easttown Trailer
Kate Winslet plays the titular Mare, pronounced “Mah” and short for Marianne. She’s a law enforcement professional who has an enduring local legend status and title of “Lady Hawk” after making a difficult basketball shot in her youth, which appears to have been dogged by tragedy from the get-go. She’s lost her father as a child, her son to drug addiction and is struggling with proximity to her ex-husband—who is freshly engaged and moved in next door.
The series begins with Mare being drawn into the mystery of a missing teen girl, though she’s diverted when another teen girl is found dead (and naked, as per HBO’s somewhat tiring tradition). Of course, the real exploration and unravelling going on here is Kate Winslet into the character study of Mare, which Mare of Easttown’s writer and creator Brad Ingelsby handles with care.
With early reviews already predicting Winslet could be expecting another Emmy award, Mare Of Easttown is one series crime drama fans should earmark for viewing, but so will those who just want to watch a great actor at work. Winslet is joined by fellow veteran actors who round out the series, as well as a few fresher faces. Here, the rest of the cast.
Mare Of Easttown cast
Kate Winslet as Mare Sheehan
Kate Winslet played the titular Mare, aka Mare Sheehan, a police detective in Easttown. Fun fact, it was actually Winslet herself who insisted on performing the tricky east Philadephia accent to emphasise the importance of community within the series. That said, she has said it was so difficult to learn that she would “throw things.” We trust you don’t need an introduction to Winslet, but if you’re truly new, perhaps start with The Titanic and The Reader.
Guy Pearce as Richard Ryan
Guy Pearce plays Richard Ryan, an author who has recently moved to Easttown from Syracuse. He and Mare skirt around a romance. Mare does her best to avoid a relationship, despite Richard’s worldliness and intellectual streak being very attractive qualities to her. Pearce is known for his work in Memento, The King’s Speech and, the Australian classic, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
Jean Smart as Helen
Jean Smart plays Helen, Mare’s widowed mother who has begun living with her to help her with childcare. In case you missed it amidst all the other tragedy, Mare’s four-year-old grandson Drew now lives with them following the death of Mare’s son.
Smart has previously starred in Frasier, 24 and Fargo. The latter, Fargo, makes her appearance in Mare Of Easttown something of a move from the midwestern to the northeastern. Grit is grittier in smaller towns, we guess?
John Douglas Thompson as Chief Carter
Chief Carter is Easttown’s police chief, played by Broadway theatre veteran John Douglas Thompson. As Mare’s boss, Carter is the one to encourage Mare to revive the missing teen girl cold case.
While the English-born American-based actor is revered most for his fifteen-plus years of sterling on-stage work, he’s also appeared in The Bourne Legacy and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
Evan Peters As Colin Zabel
Yes, that is Evan Peters acting across from Kate Winslet. The American Horror Story and WandaVision actor plays Detective Colin Zabel who was brought in to help Mare with the investigation.
From a first look at the series, Colin may be the straightest character Peters has played in recent and long-term memory. He is, however, returning for the next season of AHS and will play Jeffrey Dahmer in another forthcoming Ryan Murphy project.
Angourie Rice as Siobhan Sheehan
Angourie Rice, whose face might be familiar to you as Betty from Marvel’s recent Spiderman films, plays Mare’s teenage daughter Siobhan. She and Mare have a strained relationship and we meet her as she refuses to complete her college admission forms. This is a sticking point, as Mare would very much like her daughter to get her education and escape Easttown.
Mare Of Easttown is available to watch in Australia exclusively on Binge.