Ever since we first learned about the casting for the Mr. Mercedes TV series adaptation earlier this year, we’ve been eagerly counting down the days until the show’s premiere on Audience Network. On August 9, that day finally arrives, and it promises to be one of the most thrilling TV events of the summer. Based on book one in Stephen King‘s Bill Hodges trilogy, Mr. Mercedes focuses on the gruesome deeds of deranged killer Brady Hartsfield and his game with Hodges, a retired police detective who is lured out of retirement to catch the killer before he strikes again.
As audiences gear up for the exciting premiere of the Mr. Mercedes TV series on the AT&T Audience Network, we’re rounding up everything to know about it, from its star-studded cast to what show creators David E. Kelley and Jack Bender have to say about its future direction. Check it out below!
1. The series will differ from the book in key ways.
Fans expecting a straight-up adaptation of the Edgar Award-winning book may be in for a few surprises. In addition to bringing in new characters, the series will make adjustments to certain major plot points in the story, including Hartsfield’s plan to attack a boy band concert. In light of the recent terrorist attack at an Ariana Grande concert in May, Bender said the show has a different target:
“We decided early on that we thought there was a better way to make it a potentially catastrophic event at the climax, but that it would be truer to the town coming back [together].”
2. The cast features a mix of new and familiar faces.
The series features a number of incredible performers, including Brendan Gleeson (“Mad-Eye” Moody from the Harry Potter series), who stars as Bill Hodges. Harry Treadaway co-stars as Hartsfield. The cast also includes Mary-Louise Parker as Janey Patterson, Kelly Lynch as Deborah Hartsfield, Jharrel Jerome as Jerome Robinson, and Scott Lawrence as Detective Peter Dixon.
The series will also introduce Ida Silver, a new character played by Holland Taylor who didn’t appear in the book. Silver lives next door to Hodges and tries to connect with him on a deeper level. Gleeson revealed in a recent interview the significance of this for Hodges:
“All of these people are insisting to him in different ways that the abyss is not for him. Particularly Holland’s character is insisting because she’s seen her husband go into that dark place, insisting on knocking on his door and being a presence and shining a light on the world and dragging him back to a place where he can recognize himself. It comes down to one simple thing, which is love. There are people insisting love is still within him and possible for him and he has no right to deny it, or go black.”
3. Mr. Mercedes isn’t a standard detective series.
While Mr. Mercedes was King’s first-ever hard-boiled detective book, don’t expect the series to revolve around just the tension between Hodges and Hartsfield. Instead, Kelley hinted in a recent interview that the show will be very character-driven:
“[Hodges and Hartsfield] both have their mutual crusades, and they’re both struggling to find relevance within their respective crusades. And it was a good character piece. The other thing about Brady was taking this villain who, as you say, is just beyond and beneath any redemption at the end of those [opening] five minutes, and yet finding avenues for the viewer to feel for him — and to not. I wouldn’t say we go so far as to relate to him, but we do empathize.”
4. Treadway had a hard time getting into Hartsfield’s headspace.
The role of the mysterious, murderous Mr. Mercedes was originally intended for Anton Yelchin before his tragic passing in last June. Treadway, who was cast in the aftermath, revealed in an interview that he had a difficult time plunging into Hartsfield’s dark headspace.
“It’s terrifying and sad and disturbing that we have people out there that obviously need help and don’t find it. I think Stephen King taps into the zeitgeist of what scares us so amazingly well.”
5. The show’s creators don’t want to glamorize violence.
The story opens up with a brutal act of violence, which crucially drives the plot and many of the characters forward. Even still, both Kelley and Bender agree that the series isn’t about glamorizing violence. During the Television Critics Association summer press tour, Bender told reporters:
“That’s exactly what I didn’t want. To show it [the violence in the opening scene] in a realistic way but not put any kind of frame about it.”
He also added that the series is actually “all about the repercussions and the ripples in the pond. How many lives are destroyed by one heinous act.”
6. They also want to include other books in the trilogy.
Because Mr. Mercedes is part of a trilogy, it’s no surprise that the show’s creators would be open to expanding the series beyond its current 10-episode run. At a Television Critics Association event, Chris Long, the head of Audience Network, said:
“Obviously we have to see how it performs, but that is the plan. I think the plan is to go into the other two books.”
7. King makes a cameo.
The Master of Horror isn’t just praising Mr. Mercedes — he’s actually making an appearance. On Twitter, King gave the show a shout-out, calling it “really good,” and even hinting at a possible cameo role:
It’s a packed summer for Constant Readers. Beyond Mr. Mercedes, King fans have had a slew of adaptations, including The Mist, The Dark Tower, and It. Plus, with his upcoming book Sleeping Beauties out in September, there’s never been a better time to plunge into the incredible, spine-tingling literature of Stephen King.
Do you plan on watching Mr. Mercedes? Tell us in the comments!
Want access to free & bargain ebooks? Sign up for BookBub here.