Winslet’s Mare is a detective in the town where she grew up and was once a high-school basketball star, crankily living with her mom (Jean Smart), daughter (Angourie Rice) and a young grandchild born to her late son. Ill-tempered and dour, the reasons for Mare’s perpetually foul mood gradually become clear, along with the contours of a case that involves a missing girl and a murder, neither of which are exactly common occurrences in this Pennsylvania community.
Still, “Mare” is as much about the protagonist’s personal life as the crime part, with Mare meeting a new guy (Guy Pearce, another “Mildred” holdover) and chafing over the fact that her ex-husband (David Denman), who lives a stone’s throw away, appears to be getting on with his life.
To say the mix of elements has a familiar whiff would be an understatement, but writer Brad Ingelsby (“The Way Back”) and director Craig Zobel (“The Leftovers”) have managed to put them together in a compelling way once the show begins to disgorge some of those aforementioned secrets.
“My life’s complicated,” Mare says when she Pearce’s character, a novelist who has recently moved to town, and for once, that’s not just the customary hyperbole.
“Mare of Easttown” ultimately yields a better production than the description probably sounds — proof that with this sort of endeavor, it’s not always so much about the ingredients as how you put them together.
“Mare of Easttown” premieres April 18 at 10 p.m. on HBO, which, like CNN, is a unit of WarnerMedia.
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