‘Mare of Easttown,’ on the surface, may just seem like another crime drama series in a genre that’s already overpopulated. But what sets it apart is the fact that the crime is just one facet of the story. The emotional baggage of the protagonist, Mare Sheehan, really takes center stage in the plot. After all, the small-town Pennsylvania detective (in Delaware County) has to deal with the death of her son, and her work just provides Mare with a source of distraction, to say the least.
With this somewhat unique idea at its core, ‘Mare of Easttown’ is essentially a show that puts its own twist on the genre. Considering that the loveable but emotionally corrupt character has to solve a local murder, there is no denying that the story is equally heavy on the drama as it is on the criminal aspect of things. But that prompts the question – is the drama enhanced because the plot is rooted in reality? Well, we did the heavy lifting, so you don’t have to, and here’s what we found.
Is Mare of Easttown Based on a True Story?
No, ‘Mare of Easttown’ is not based on a true story. In conversation with Forbes, series creator Brad Ingelsby shed some light on what inspired him to create the show – “I had this idea about this character, and she’s a cop in a small town. I was really interested in telling her story, and I built this world around her. What I was trying to do here is tell the story of this woman who hasn’t dealt with her grief.” He added, “She’s haunted by what she considers to be her failure as a mother.”
Brad actually penned the script back in 2018, when America, as a country, was going through a rather tumultuous phase, socially speaking. Naturally, he wanted to imbue the motifs of kindness, compassion, and decency into his story. Furthermore, he clarified that he wanted to achieve a “certain level of optimism” with the show. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that the plot focuses heavily on the notions of community, belonging, as well as family.
Kate Winslet, who essays the steadfast, resilient, vulnerable, but stoic protagonist, Mare Sheehan, also mentioned that in addition to the aforementioned themes, for her, the story was also about mercy and hope. After all, Mare has to deal with a situation that no parent ever wants to be put through – the death of their child. Consequently, to write a well-rounded character, Brad decided not to go “easy” on Mare. He clarified, “She has to go through something really hard, and she must confront what’s haunting her and go through this journey to come out [on] the other side.”
Interestingly, in preparation for the role, the Oscar winner left no stone unturned. Not only did Kate spend several months in Easttown, the actual place where the show is set, but she also had a tough time conquering the “Delco” (which is Delaware County) accent. Kate told Deadline, “This [accent] drove me crazy! There are varying degrees of it…the thing that was hardest for me was to do it well enough that you shouldn’t hear the act of doing [it].” Apart from that, it would also interest you to learn that the show is set where Brad grew up.
Talking about it, the creator stated, “We said to HBO that we had to shoot it where it was actually set in the story. I think just like the accent, the setting is so important… it adds a sense of richness and authenticity.” Hence, it comes as no surprise that the location plays an equally important role in delivering the crux of the story. As the lives of the characters intertwine, we really get to experience the magic, and the banality, of living in a small town. After all, this aspect of togetherness and neighborhood is what Kate referred to as the “beating heart” of the show.
Taking everything into account, it is abundantly clear that ‘Mare of Easttown’ is a fictional show that, without being inspired by real events, makes use of real-life phenomena to further its narrative. While the mysterious, criminal aspect of the plot will keep you hooked, the story also puts other concepts at the forefront. After all, Kate said it best when she said that even though ‘Mare of Easttown’ is a thriller in some aspects, it is also so much more than that.