Mr. Mercedes cast talks about monsters and the themes of the Stephen King adaptation


Because it airs on the AT&T Audience Network, not a lot of people had a chance to watch the Stephen King TV show, Mr. Mercedes.

That is disappointing because while too many people were watching the disappointing Spike TV version of The Mist, this AT&T exclusive Stephen King series was knocking it out of the park.

Based on the first book in King’s Bill Hodges trilogy, Mr. Mercedes tells the story of a retired police officer (Brendan Gleeson) who finds himself taunted by a mass murderer from the past that he was never able to catch.

Related Story: ‘Mr. Mercedes’ Season 1 premiere recap: ‘Pilot’

More from Show Snob

This show is not a mystery, either. It is a thriller because we meet the killer from the start, in the psychotic Brady Hartsfield (Harry Treadaway). The murders from years back saw Brady drive his Mercedes into a crowd of people camped out for a job fair, killing 16 of them before escaping without a trace.

Hodges has since retired and is trying to live out his life when he gets a computer message from the killer, who decides to taunt Hodges in an attempt to drive the man insane. All the while, Hodges suffers from some medical problems, is romanced by a neighbor, and ends up teaming with the sister of one of the deceased to try to find out who the murderer is once and for all.

At the same time, Brady is going about his life as a home repairman for a big box computer store. His home life is messed up, with an alcoholic mother (Kelly Lynch) who seems to have a little too much love for her son and people around him who push him until he is ready to kill again.

David E. Kelly (Chicago Hope, Boston Legal) was the showrunner for this Stephen King adaptation — King’s first attempt at a detective novel. When asked at a Deadline panel about the Mr. Mercedes TV show, Brendan Gleason looked at it in shades of gray.

"“With somebody like Bill, we can see the consequences of his obsession with his own job; we can see how he can drive people away from him.”"

As for Brady, Treadaway explained why he was as much of a victim as Hodges was — in the first season at least.

"“He’s not just a cut-out monster. He is a troubled victim in many ways, of his life, of his upbringing,”"

It is an interesting take, as Stephen King has mastered the creation of monsters — both human and otherwise. As the book series moved on to Finders Keepers and End of Watch, Brady became much more of a monster as the series took a more supernatural slant, as expected from King.

However, whether the Mr. Mercedes TV show does that or not is another story. One of the reasons it worked so well was that it was grounded, felt dirty at times, but always seemed real. This was about damaged people hurting, and that is why it was such a success.

Next: Ranking Every Stephen King TV Adaptation From Worst to First

Producer Jack Bender credited David E. Kelly with that.

"“I think one of the things that David Kelley brilliantly brought to the pilot, and then to the rest of the first season, was empathy for all these complicated, screwed up people, that we all are in our own ways.”"

Mr. Mercedes season 2 is returning to Audience Network on August 22, 2018.