“Mare of Easttown” Review: Ready for the Next “Big Little Lies”? Watch This Kate Winslet HBO Show

Photo Courtesy: HBO

From its opening with a few establishing shots of Easttown, Pennsylvania, the new HBO limited series Mare of Easttown tries to convey the provincialism of this story. The small-town crime drama stars Academy Award- and Emmy-winner Kate Winslet (Mildred Pierce) as the police detective Mare Sheehan — one of the reluctant pillars of this tight-knit community where everybody knows each other.

The seven-part miniseries, which debuts Sunday, April 18, and will air one new episode per week on HBO, is created by Brad Ingelsby (The Way Back). Mare is a complicated character, flawed and somehow broken. Throughout the first episodes — five of them were available for review — we learn about the reasons for Mare’s roughness, about how her past informs the woman she’s become.

Ingelsby has the good sense to tell this story chronologically, and we’re spared from Peak TV’s latest trend of nonlinear storytelling. Mare’s past is revealed to us on a need-to-know basis through her interactions with her family, friends and neighbors.

Jean Smart (Watchmen) plays Mare’s mother, Helen. Angourie Rice (The Nice Guys) is Siobhan, Mare’s teenage daughter. Evan Peters (American Horror Story) is Zabel, a young and well-mannered detective called to work with Mare. And Guy Pearce (Memento) plays Richard, a visiting writing professor. The array of characters that we meet in the first episode of the show doesn’t end there. There are ex-husbands, best friends, cousins, children with special needs, abusive fathers, Catholic priests and jealous girlfriends. When a teenage girl shows up murdered, Mare is set to lead the investigation. Zabel will join to help her — and realize the many connections the veteran detective has with Easttown.