The last time I watched a series adapted from a Stephen King novel, I lost interest after a couple of episodes (yes I’m looking at you Under The Dome). That pilot had potential but soon turned absolutely ridiculous and I couldn’t even muster the will to finish the first season. Thankfully, Mr. Mercedes has less otherworldly and supernatural elements, and thus is inherently more terrifying.
This mystery thriller tells the story of a retired detective who is taunted by a psychopathic killer who evaded his clutches. The crime in question is horrifyingly timely: a random Mercedes arrives at a job fair and mows down countless bystanders. We see this kind of brutal act far too often on the news these days, and that lends the show even more impact (albeit a tad exploitative).
As Detective Bill Hodges, Brendan Gleeson is a likable lead. Messy and lazy, Hodges isn’t in the mood to chase after some psychopath, but soon realizes he has no other choice. He’s also got an amusing dynamic with his next-door neighbor (played to perfection by the awesome Holland Taylor). When the material is this dark, a little romance is the perfect contrast. As the killer of the piece, Harry Treadaway is immediately impressive. He hints at a tremendously creepy backstory, and his eyes convey a lot while saying very little. Here’s hoping the writers can sustain the cat and mouse game between the duo with enough originality and thrills. It’s easy to get generic in crime dramas after all.
And the ending? I won’t spoil it here but it’s remarkably chilling. I’ll definitely give episode two a shot.
Fine performances and a powerful ending make for an absorbing debut from Mr. Mercedes.