The year of Stephen King adaptations continues! Sure some have been more popular than others (Dark Tower ↓, It ↑, The Mist ↓, Gerald’s Game ↑, 1922: still to come), but good news…Mr. Mercedes is a great show.
This series is 10 episodes and based on the first novel in a trilogy by Stephen King from 2014 to 2016. It is more of a detective novel focusing on the main character Bill Hodges. He is a retired detective who is still haunted by his most famous and as yet unsolved case, the Mercedes killer. The killer has made contact again after years of silence and starts to target the detective. It all leads into a wonderful cat and mouse game.
Brendan Gleason perfectly embodies Bill Hodges here. His performance reminds me of some of my favorites of his, The Guard or In Bruges. The real star of the show though is Harry Treadaway (Penny Dreadful), he gives an amazing performance as Brady Hartsfield, our Mercedes killer. He really went deep into the role and gives a demented turn, similar to Norman Bates from Psycho. I have been on record saying I feel he should be cast as the younger Joker in the upcoming origin story. He really has some scenes where he sells just how crazy and intense his character is with not much more than facial expressions. I was shocked to find out he was not originally cast for the role. Anton Yelchin (Chekov from the current Star Trek film series) was the original actor set to play Brady. After his untimely death, Treadaway stepped in. Honestly, nothing against Anton Yelchin, but I have a hard time imagining him selling this role as well as Treadaway has here.
David E. Kelley is having a nice resurgence here as the showrunner. He was a big name in the late 90’s/early 2000’s with Ally McBeal and Boston Public/Legal. But recently had success with HBO’s Big Little Lies and that continues here. Jack Bender also continues to show how great of a director he is for TV. Most known for Lost, he has also worked on Game of Thrones recently and is proving his skill here again. Dennis Lehane also pitched in helping adapt some of the episodes from the novel to TV. He is a prolific novelist, who is familiar with the adaptation game, as we’ve seen many of his works (Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone, Shutter Island, The Wire, and Boardwalk Empire) on the big and small screen already.
Mr. Mercedes has already been renewed for a second season, I’m assuming they have plans for 3, one per novel. It is just a shame that it is on Audience network as the amount of people who’ve seen it is limited to DirecTV subscribers. Hopefully you have a chance to check out this fantastic show. It has great suspense, which sometimes can be intense to watch due to some of the horror film-esque sequences. The opening sequence of the series showing the original crime is pretty horrific. However, it has great performances and a one season pay off storyline. Mr. Mercedes is definitely worth the 10 episode commitment.