On paper, Mare Of Easttown sounds run of the mill: a middle-aged small-town detective investigates the murder of a local teenager while dealing with divorce, a custody battle, and her own hyper-critical mum. But when that detective is Kate Actual Winslet, and the story is really one of the power of generational trauma, you get something that’s never been anywhere remotely near a mill. The Mare of the title is Mare Sheehan, Winslet’s copper of few words and mum of two kids, one of whom died by suicide (the custody battle is over Mare’s grandson). This isn’t a prestige TV thriller built out of flashy dramatics, hyperbolic speech and increasingly absurd twists – it’s an authentic, detailed, haunting character study that just so happens to be about solving a crime too. Moreover it’s about the mundanities and struggles of small-town life, the multitude of ways that women, particularly, can be ground underfoot. Think Happy Valley but with Kate Winslet doing a Delco accent. And eating cheese. And sandwiches. And blinking like no-one’s ever blinked before. As an exploration of the devastating impact of grief, there’s been no better, on any size of screen. It’s the model of quality by restraint and understatement. And when one horrific surprise-death does occur, it lands like a sledgehammer, quickly becoming the telly moment of the year. TV doesn’t come much more profound than this. By god: we miss you, Mare. TW
Read the Empire review of Mare Of Easttown.

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