MR. MERCEDES is a television series based on the Bill Hodges novels by Stephen King that was originally broadcast by Direct TV’s Audience Network. After the shuttering of Audience, the series has now moved to the Peacock Network with all three of its season’s available for streaming.
At the drive in screening of MR. MERCEDES pilot episode for Screamfest, the audience was treated to the pilot episode of the show which was very effective from the start. The pilot starts off in a somewhat dull and true to life place and then goes haywire shortly after with titular Mr. Mercedes committing a hideous crime. After the police detective Bill Hodges (Brendan Gleeson) views the crime scene, the action jumps ahead to a few years later after Hodges has retired and becomes an increasingly depressed and desperate man. Hodges starts getting strange messages from the killer and starts his own private investigation of who is really responsible for the massacre and the sick games that are being played on him. Concurrently, a nerdy computer store employee Brady Hartsfield (Harry Treadaway) is revealed to be up to no good and is someone who has been raised in a very psychologically damaging environment. As the stakes rise, Hodges starts to get an idea what kind of criminal he is really dealing with.
The show was developed by David E. Kelley (LA Law, Chicago Hope, The Practice, Ally McBeal) and the pilot was directed by Jack Bender (Lost, The Sopranos, Game of Thrones) as well as seven out of the ten episodes of the first season. The show, judging only by this first episode, is entertaining and interesting and would definitely be a great show for any fans of Stephen King who were looking for other adaptations of his work to watch. Bender also worked on the series adaptation of Under The Dome, so he has a real feel for King’s work and adapting it for the screen. He has taken to some of the grimmer and more salacious aspects of the book very well and captured that humor that does lurk in King’s work.
The neighbor Ida Silver (Holland Taylor) is the best kind of annoying neighbor, even though the character was created for the series and not in the book, and has a great adversarial chemistry with Brendan Geeson. Brendan Geeson (William Hodges) is everything excellent and warm that you have come to expect from the actor’s previous performances. Even when he’s playing a very cranky man, you can’t help but like Geeson and he makes the show eminently watchable just by himself. With the rest of the actors, it makes for a show that is easy to get hooked on.
There was a short Q & A after the screening of the episode with Scott Lawrence (Peter Dixon), Breeda Wool (Lou Linklatter), Justine Lupe (Holly Gibney), and Jack Bender. MR. MERCEDES is now available to watch exclusively on the Peacock Network.